Be Your Own Life Coach: 3 Self-Coaching Models To Practice


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Since childhood, you've learned to be your own life coach. You’ve coached yourself to face challenges and learn new things. This is where self-coaching comes into play. And as a coach, you are even more equipped.

You are your own best teacher and healer. 

Self-coaching helps you become better each day. You can coach yourself based on your past experiences and wisdom. But what is the right way to do so? 

In this article, we’ll cover three strategic self-coaching models to help you stay attuned to your life goals. 

Let’s start with the basics.

Benefits of Self-Coaching 

You can’t pour from an empty cup. To give your best to your clients, you must first work on yourself. 

Self-coaching helps you to:  

  • Analyze things 
  • Declutter your mind 
  • Improve self-awareness 
  • Process inner dialogues
  • Ingrain unbiased attitude
  • Take thoughtful decisions 
  • Become more accountable 
  • Bring clarity of thought 
  • Accept the way you are 

Best Models To Be Your Own Life Coach 

Now, let’s take a look at three effective models you can follow to practice self-coaching. 

Self-Coaching Model #1: "T-GROW" Process  

T-GROW is one of the most powerful techniques to coach yourself. This has to do with its result-oriented nature and simplicity. This coaching model helps you to work on your goals, assess obstacles, and ensure you take action to achieve goals. 

Step #1: Topic/Theme 

Knowing what to work on is essential to be your own life coach. This is why establishing the theme is so important. When you create a session theme, you get better clarity on your goal. 

Let’s take an example.

Let’s say, you’ve decided to improve your personal life. What should be your next step?

Once you've chosen a theme, you must understand the elements you want to work on. For personal life, these elements could be emotional well-being, improving your physical health, or dealing with trauma. 

Now, these goals then need to be sub-categorized. Here are some great questions to decide the "Topic" that you need to work upon:

  • How do you feel about your life?
  • What aspects of your life are affecting your growth? 
  • What can you improve to gain satisfaction?

When you can pinpoint a single topic, it lets you drive all your energy to it. This accelerates the results.

Step #2: Goal

Once you've decided on the theme of self-coaching sessions, you should set a goal. Not setting goals leads to challenges such as:

  1. The coaching going off track 
  2. Longer time to reach the desired state.

A few simple questions can help you assess different goals. Try asking yourself:

  • How do I benefit by achieving this goal?
  • What should I do to achieve my goal?
  • What's the one thing I should start doing RIGHT NOW to achieve my desired destination?

The goal clarifies what you should do to get the outcome of your choice. 

Proper goal setting helps you stay focused. So, whenever you feel like you are going off track, remind yourself of the goal and why you chose it.

Step #3: Reality 

Now that you understand what affects you, how you respond to situations, and what you should do to reach your goals, it’s time for the next step. 

This is the real part, and it is one of the best ways to track your present situation. 

How can you track it? Start by making a note of your daily life. 

Describe every important situation you've encountered. Jot down your feelings and thoughts about it. 

You should also ask yourself some pertinent questions. These are: 

  • What have you done to reach your goal? What have you learned from it?
  • Is there anything you're unwilling to address? If yes, why? Assess how this can affect the results.
  • What challenges have you faced? How did you overcome them?
  • What should you do now to achieve your goal?

Going through this process of reality check provides you with clarity of thought. It helps you identify what needs to be done to get results. 

Also, if you have not achieved your goals yet, this step will tell you why. 

Step #4: Options 

When evaluating a situation, remember that life is full of options. You don't have to limit yourself to a single solution. 

As Richard E. Manelis says, "Several solutions are possible to resolve the vast majority of your problems, decisions, or situations. If one can generate multiple solutions, the more likely it is that an OPTIMUM solution will be reached."

So, once you're done with the "Reality," move ahead and brainstorm your options. 

Here are some good questions to ask:

  • What hasn’t worked for you so far?
  • What could you do if you eliminated your fear?
  • How do you achieve your goal if you have enough time?
  • What could you do if you had only two months?
  • What else can you do to resolve the issue right now?

Another strategy is to imagine yourself as a spectator of your life. Now think, what would be the best way to meet your desired destination?

Create a mind map to think through solutions and identify the best one among them all.

Step #5: Way Forward 

This is the action part of the model. 

In it, you define the steps you need to take to reach the goal.

However, defining the steps is not enough. 

You also need to develop specific strategies to follow. Deadlines have to be built in. There has to be a way to track progress. And you have to hold yourself accountable. 

Here are some important questions to ask yourself at this stage:

  • What actions should you take?
  • How excited are you about working on these actions?
  • How much do you rate your commitment to the goal on a scale of 1 to 5? 
  • What could make you rate 5?
  • What's the nearest timeframe?
  • What are three ways to support yourself to get things done?
  • How would your life look after achieving this goal?
  • How do you know whether you have reached your goal or not?

The way forward ensures you understand your commitment levels. 

Self-Coaching Model #2: "SMART" System 

SMART is one of the most popular systems for setting goals. This is best for coaches who want to take action but need help in setting goals. This self-coaching model helps you set the most practical, actionable, and specific goals so they don't get buried in your ever-growing to-do list. 

Step #1: Specific 

Do you get overwhelmed or confused when you try something new or different? Why does it happen? And more importantly, what can you do to avoid it?

Feeling overwhelmed or unprepared is a sign that you lack clarity on what you should do.

Let’s explore this using an example. 

Suppose you are helping several clients at a time and finding it hard to manage this. 

What should you do? 

Let’s say you decide to streamline your business. 

That’s a good thought. But here’s the thing. Although you know what you need to do, you still need to figure stuff out. 

For instance: Where to get started? Or, how to achieve it? 

Now since your goal is an unspecified one, it is hard to work on it. 

So, what can you do to make it easier? What you need is a strategic approach. This helps you to specify the goal. Here are some excellent questions you can ask yourself to demystify the solution to this problem.

  • What are the possible ways to streamline my business? Do I need to increase my team size? Should I purchase all-in-one software to manage?
  • Do I have enough funds for the solutions under consideration?
  • Are there any alternatives to managing business processes effortlessly?

You will notice that answering these questions will provide better clarity. This will help you to set deliberate goals. 

Why are specifics so important? Well, one reason is that vague goals will leave you with anxiety and stress. The other is that once you've set specific goals, reaching your destination is much easier. 

Setting highly-specific goals can be time-consuming. But it's worth it to get the results you want!

A few points to ponder to set highly-specific goals are:

  • What exactly do you want to achieve in the next three months?
  • Describe the outcome you'd like to enjoy.
  • Paint a picture of how your life looks after accomplishing the goal.

Step #2: Measurable 

This is an essential aspect of the SMART strategy. It's easier to measure and track the progress if you've established some key measuring factors. This is why goals must be measurable. 

Let’s take an example.

Suppose Marina is a relationship coach and is good at what she is doing. She can advise her clients well and support them. 

Now Marina is looking to expand her coaching business. For this, she attends several events and meetups to attract prospects. However, she cannot convert clients due to her introverted nature. She is too shy to put her thoughts in front of people.

What should Marina do?

Marina notices that not being able to communicate or network with others is hindering her progress. So, she decides to overcome this issue and grow her career. And for this, she sets a goal to interact with more people. 

Has she done a good job of setting the goal? No. 

How will Marina know if she has achieved her goal? How will she know if she is progressing well? Since her goal is not measurable, it's challenging to assess her progress or confirm her success. 

What could Marina have done instead? Is there a way to make this goal measurable? 

Yes, absolutely! 

Marina can track her goal if she defines and quantifies each element. Here are some examples: 

  • Interact with five new people in an upcoming event 
  • Find out five prospects in the upcoming two meetups
  • Share your thoughts with ten people 

You can use a similar strategy in laying down your self-coaching goals. 

Step #3: Actionable 

Goals should be doable and within our control. You should pursue an active goal that motivates and pushes you to do it. This is what ‘Actionable’ helps you with.

For instance, let’s say your goal is to "journal every day." 

Now, this is a vague goal and can overwhelm you. You may not find the time to do it. Or you may not know what to write in it.

So, what can you do to make this goal actionable?

A good strategy is to add instructions or action-oriented steps. 

In this case, you can take the following steps:

  • Journal each day at 8 pm 
  • Answer five questions: How was your day? How did you feel about it? What feelings or thoughts have disturbed your day? How should you want to live tomorrow? What are the key things to learn for a peaceful life in personal and professional realms? 

The more you add instructions, the better you get motivated to accomplish your goals. So, make sure you think of ways to make goals actionable. 

Step #4: Realistic 

Quite often, people forget to set practical goals. However, setting unrealistic goals leads to extreme stress and pain. 

What can you do to avoid this?

The best way to make goals practical is by checking its possibility. 

For this, ask yourself one question: "Is the goal physically attainable?" If you've answered no, break down the complex goal into smaller realistic ones. 

Why is this important?

Having realistic goals makes you more committed to them. 

Also, take out time to answer why you want to accomplish your goals. This helps you understand your "Why" and motivates you to complete the tasks effortlessly. 

Step #5: Time-bound 

SMART goals are time-bound and have specific deadlines to complete tasks. 

Have you noticed that people give their best to the tasks nearing the deadline? What happens when there is no end date to a goal?

If you don't set a specific timeframe, you are likely to:

  • Push this goal to the last. 
  • Lose the focus.

Time-bound goals help you visualize the outcomes. They make you more committed. As a result, you can work on them effectively. 

How can you do it?

Here are a few ways to make time-bound goals. 

  • Choose a suitable date so that you feel inspired. 
  • Assign a deadline for each task and sub-task (Also, don't forget to make it realistic). 
  • Imagine how it would look after completing the tasks within an assigned deadline.  

Self-Coaching Model #3: "ABCDE" Model

"ABCDE" is a strategic and logical cognitive model developed by one of the most influential psychologists, Albert Ellis. Unlike most self-coaching models, this model focuses on the significance of your belief system. 

It helps you change the way you think and also how you perceive the external world. This is one of the most effective models you can follow if you want to be your own life coach. 

Step #1: Activating Event 

An activating event is a situation that causes stress. Or it makes you react to it in a manner that is not helpful. 

For instance, you may react too quickly to people. Or, you may get excessively involved in your client's story. 

What can you do instead?

In such circumstances, as a coach, you should understand your professional borders. You should identify the triggering event to prevent any negative reactions. 

To understand the triggering events, answer the below questions:

  • Which situation has caused you distress or worry?
  • What is triggering you? Is it a feeling, a person, or a place?
  • When did you begin to feel unpleasant?
  • What might be the underlying cause of this distress?
  • What are the things involved? 

Step #2: Beliefs 

In this stage, you should identify the maladaptive feelings or behaviors affecting your day-to-day life. Although most coaches can identify the triggers, few assess their beliefs and work on them. 

How can you assess a triggering event?

The first piece of advice is not to stall. You should analyze your feelings right after the triggering events. Review the self-talk that guided your response. 

Have a look at these questions for guidance:

  • How did you feel during and after the triggering situation?
  • What were you saying to your inner self?
  • What was your state of mind? And how did you feel?
  • What would have happened after the activating event?

These questions help you contemplate your beliefs. This way, you can draw significant insights.

Step #3: Consequences 

This is the third phase of the ABCDE model that ensures you identify the effects of your belief system. Each of your beliefs affects your life directly or indirectly.

Here are a few questions that will help you uncover the impact:

  • Which belief led you to react to the activating event?
  • How did your belief make you respond?
  • What are the effects of your belief system?
  • Did you run away from your thoughts?

Step #4: Dispute 

This phase of the "ABCDE" model challenges the belief system. This step directly leads to the next step, i.e., eliminating negative beliefs and replacing them with a new set of beliefs that instill positive behavior and thoughts. 

A few questions to ask here are:

  • How do you think your beliefs are affecting you?
  • Do all your beliefs instill positivity and help you the right way?
  • How would your life be if you had different beliefs? What would be the results or outcomes? 

Step #5: Effective Alternatives 

This is the last phase of this model that helps you evaluate effective alternatives to your beliefs.

So far, you've understood the challenges of your past beliefs, and it's time to ingrain new beliefs that positively affect you. 

By the end of this stage, you'll conclude logical statements and develop a better way to deal with the situation, whether professionally or personally. 

Some of the questions that help you uncover effective alternatives are as follows:

  • What is the most logical way to respond to the situation?
  • What are the other helpful beliefs?
  • How would these new sets of beliefs lead you to act?

Put on your oxygen mask first!

Being your own life coach is one of the most difficult tasks anyone can practice. However, it can be a life-changing habit to transform any challenging situation into opportunities for growth.

The above self-coaching models help you to grow and evolve into a new person with more resilience and strength. 

Be YOUR own life coach before you become the coach for others!

If you want to dive deeper into this topic, check out our  ultimate guide to self-coaching.

And you can check out this video to learn more about powerful life coaching tools.

About The Author

Shikha Bhakri

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Shikha Bhakri is a Certified Business Coach, a Project Management Professional (PMP), and a CAPM. She leads the Customer Experience for Mindvalley certifications and Evercoach.

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