Can You Coach Yourself?
‘I’m coaching myself through this’
‘I’ve got a lot of experience and I’ve completed a coaching course.’
As an executive coach I hear these sorts of phrases all the time, but can you coach yourself? I’m not diluting the importance of completing coaching courses, as leaders we need to be able to have effective coaching conversations with our teams, but can you then coach yourself?
That level of self-awareness for most of us is lacking in some way. We all have our blind spots and need someone external to hold up the mirror for us. When we get to a certain point in our careers it’s more important than ever to look for a coach to help you uncover what’s holding you back or could hold you back in the future from being a more effective leader.
Are We Too Attached to Our Own Story?
We’re emotionally attached to our own stories, and what we think our own stories are saying. We can be emotionally attached to what it is that we think we’re doing and our take on reality. That’s not to say our take on reality isn’t a useful reflection point, but can we begin to believe our own story too much?
We make excuses, or we justify situations that happened, or we find ourselves explaining how something happened because of someone else…or I got derailed at work because of this situation, or I’m sure it will quieten down soon, does any of that sound familiar?
All we are doing is creating a story for ourselves that makes us feel better. This is where that mirror being held up by an experienced coach can help you see the situation from a different perspective. There’s a gap between what I think I’m doing and how it’s coming across. That gap is what we really need to focus in on in coaching.
When Is Self-Reflection a Good Idea?
At this time of year, we’re at the tail end of the calendar year and often spending more time thinking about what has been achieved. It’s the perfect time to reflect on our goals, where we’re at and what we said we wanted to achieve at the start of the year. Taking this time to ourselves to consider is where self-coaching and self-reflection can play a useful role.
Here are a few powerful questions to help you with that:
• How do you suppose you can improve your situation?
• If you get want you want, what would you have gained?
• When you are 95 years old what will you want to say about your leadership?
• What resources do you need to help you move forward?
• What is your conclusion?
Everyone needs to take stock and reflect. If we only ever go to self-coaching as our tool to unpack and think about what it is we want to do differently to advance our career we are missing an opportunity. We aren’t digging underneath the bonnet of what’s really happening for ourselves.
So, if you’re not really where you want to be it may be a good time for you to look for a coach to help you unpack the questions and stories that are surrounding you right now.
Here’s what a coach should be able to do with you that you can’t do on your own.
A good coach should be compassionately curious and take the role of a brainstorming partner. They are there to really understand what’s happening for you and help you gain clarity of thought, defining and separating out the real issues.
In my role as an executive coach, I use behavioural science assessment techniques to add a deeper layer of coaching to really inform what’s going on for them. It’s about constantly probing with compassionate curiosity and truly being invested in that person. I am there to put that person front and centre of the conversation. We rarely create space for ourselves just to focus on ourselves. My role is to focus on what it is that you want and what’s going on for you at this point in time whilst aligning these needs to the leadership impact of your role.
So can you coach yourself? Yes, to a point. It’s important to take time out to put ourselves front and centre and evaluate what’s going on for us and where we are heading. But an external coach will undoubtedly accelerate your development and help you work on those blind spots you can’t or won’t see.
To join our waitlist for executive coaching please see the link on my website.
For more information on executive coaching programmes and leadership effectiveness assessment please contact Kate at NewlandRock.
Leadership Effectiveness is the rock of every business. NewlandRock increases leadership effectiveness for talent-savvy companies and individuals going through a transition.