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Why I love Talking to Myself: How to use self-coaching to help you and your team learn and grow

I’m 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?”, “what’s the meaning of life?” 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 powerful stuff when you get help from a pro, you can go a long way on your own and with your team.

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

Question it

Great questions help us think more deeply and see new perspectives. There are hundreds of questions* you can ask yourself or your team members, 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 easily tie ourselves in knots trying to 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

This is another way to get unstuck by getting things out of your head and onto the page. 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), get up and plot the thing with post-its. Getting into motion can really switch your perspective and shift your thinking into a new place.

Play around

Getting playful with it can stir your creative juices. Use any objects around you (your phone, mug, toys, nik naks, 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

Ever had an ‘a-ha’ moment in the shower? Ask yourself 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.

Come to our next workshop session and get some FizzPopCOACHING

Our next ‘The Learning Collective’ event, on 14th October from 10am-12pm, is all about how to bring coaching into your everyday problem solving, learning and growth at work. Come and join us to learn even more practical ways to coach yourself and others to create brilliant results. You can find out more here.

And if you want some help, we’ve got a team of bloomin’ marvellous coaches who specialise in everything from leadership to transformation and change. We can help you and your team play to your strengths, grow your awareness, and build your confidence. Get in touch if you want to know more!

Go and try it out

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

Culture Manager

*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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