why i love talking to myself...


I’ve become a big fan of talking to myself.


OK, really I mean coaching myself (although there’s a fair amount of other chat going on in my head most of the time…“what shall I eat for lunch?”, “did I really just say that out loud?”, “why are we alive?” …you know, all the usual stuff).


If I’m facing a tricky project or work challenge, dreading a difficult conversation, feeling overwhelmed with workload or I’ve hit a creative block, I coach myself.


Coaching is all about getting clarity, being curious about a problem, digging deeper than the surface solutions and looking at it from new angles. Whilst it’s pretty powerful stuff when done by a pro in order to get that extra bit of perspective and feedback, you can go a very long way by using it as a resource for yourself.

Here are a few of my favourite self-coaching tools to help change my perspective and get to grips with a problem:


Question it

There are hundreds of questions* you can ask yourself, but a great starting point is using a mini-version of a foundational coaching model called GROW**:

  • GOAL: What exactly would you like to achieve?

  • REALITY: What have you done or are you doing currently in pursuit of your goal?

  • OPTIONS: What ideas do you have on how you could achieve your goal? Are there any barriers you need to overcome to put these ideas into action?

  • WAY FORWARD: What action will you take to achieve your goal and when will you do it?


Write it

Our brains move very fast…if we try to think our way out of a problem we can sometimes tie ourselves in knots and jump to solutions before we even really know where we’re starting from. We can also feel like a problem is more enormous than it really is because our emotional reaction to it is ravelled up in there too. Getting a sheet of paper and writing down all aspects of the problem (including how you feel about it) can help to clarify where you are, where you want to be and how to get there.


Draw it

We’re not talking a Da Vinci style masterpiece here, but asking yourself ‘what would this problem look like if I drew it…?’ or ‘what does my problem look like now and how do I want it to look?’ and approaching the problem in a visual way with pen and paper can open up new perspectives, ideas or solutions.


Change your state

It sounds obvious, but sometimes if our thinking is stuck, moving around can help to shift things…going for a walk, standing up, changing environment (from noisy to quiet or vice versa), plotting the problem on the floor or the wall with post-its can really switch your perspective and switch your thinking into a new place.


Play around

Use any objects around you (your phone, mug, keys, mouse, pens…anything you have in easy reach) to plot the problem in physical space and move it around (this is really good if you have a problem related to team dynamics, engineering or spatial challenges).


Plant the seed

Ask the question you need to answer and then do a different task. Let the seed germinate in your mind without directly thinking about it. There’s a reason ‘sleeping on it’ can work well…letting our minds process something in the background without trying to force it can free up space for the thinking to happen when you least expect it (ever had an a-ha moment in the shower?!)


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Next time you’re facing a challenge or want to achieve a goal have a play around with some self-coaching and see where you get – we’d love to hear how you get on!


BY EMILY LOWE


* What would it take for this to change? What will happen if you do it/don’t do it? If you were advising a friend on the same problem what would you say? Any questions that start with ‘Who’, ‘What’, ‘How’, ‘Where’, When’, ‘Why’.


** GROW is a coaching model that breaks a problem down into four chunks – Goal, Reality, Options and Way forward.

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