What Is Self-Coaching? by Cindy Stradling CSL, CPC

Most people think of coaching as at least a two-person process. There is the coach, who is there to ask questions and to help the individual to think through issues, gain deeper personal or professional growth, and to develop a plan to achieve their goals and objectives. There is also the “coachee” who is there to work with the coach to gain personal insight and to bring about the change or growth they desire in their life.

While this is the traditional leadership or professional coaching model, it is also possible to engage in self-coaching. It is not as easy as it sounds, but it is an effective way to tap into our individual goals and desires and reconnect with our unique values. For many, self-coaching is an effective way to check in and ensure they are taking care of themselves the way they are taking care of others in their personal and professional lives.

Find Time and Space

Self-coaching includes elements of mindfulness and reflection. As with any type of coaching, setting aside time to question, reflect, and evaluate your growth and movement towards your goals.

Just like a traditional coach and coachee session, self-coaching is most effective when it is completed on a regular basis. This could be time set aside bi-weekly or more frequently. It should be uninterrupted and private, allowing you to complete the mental exercise without disruptions or distractions.

What is the Desired Change or Outcome?

One of the important aspects of any type of coaching is having a desired outcome. What is it that you want to change or do better? What is important to you, and what do you want to accomplish?

Keep in mind, some goals or desired outcomes are short-term, while others may be longer term. Make sure to be very clear on the outcome and not just a vague statement. For instance, “I want to complete my MBA by the end of 2025” is a much clearer desired outcome than “I want to complete my degree.”

Evaluate where you are with that goal at this time. This becomes the starting point to create your short-term goals to meet your long-term objectives.

Generate Options and Plan

Ask yourself about the possibilities available to meet your long-term goal. Generate a list of options or brainstorm ideas without judgment or criticism. Evaluate the different ideas and choose steps to move you from your starting point to your desired goal.

Keep these steps measurable and, when possible, put in dates and specific actions to complete. Always state these in the positive and keep the steps small and manageable for continued motivation and a sense of true accomplishment.

By completing this exercise and writing down the plan, it is possible to continue to check in with self-coaching and celebrate as you meet the milestones you set on your journey to personal and professional growth.