Friday 30 July 2010

Why Can't I Coach Myself?

Hello Jane,

Your question:

why can't I [coach] myself?

- is an interesting one.

I invite you to look in at your life and ask if things are the way you want, and if not - why not?

The chances are that you struggle to stay focussed on any one issue long enough to make change happen, you're distracted, your motivation goes up and down, you fight off pessimism and fear, and you may simply not have the tools to understand some situations or to develop solutions. Those are crippling factors which I can help you with.

The remaining huge issue is HIDDEN BELIEFS.

Most of us think our intellects decide our behaviour - but that's simply untrue.

Think about obesity. It's not hard for our intellects to decide how to fix it - you eat less and you exercise more. But that's not what obese folks do.

It's the same story for people who live in unhappy marriages, in dismal jobs, and miserable lives. What drives behaviour is BELIEFS and astonishingly - even though our beliefs drive our behaviour, we may not not about many of the beliefs we hold inside us. When we're not aware of them, we cannot remove them and their power over our actions. We square this circle - we avoid seeing the huge gap in our thinking - by inventing secondary reasons for our actions.

Here's a real-life illustration.

I worked with a very smart, successful lady in her forties. She came to me to "sort out her life", as she put it. Because she was proud and smart, and to protect her self-image, her mind would not allow her to see things straight on - instead she had constructed distorted versions of reality. I worked very carefully with her to gently help her see these layers of falseness. With a few layers gone, we both saw that she was lonely, and wanted a life partner. That in itself was a big step to take. She felt naked but she was seeing more clearly, but there were still more layers to remove.

She told me, honestly, that it was virtually impossible to meet Mr. Right in her area because it was a run-down area of a Northern city. She believed this, and this distorted belief allowed her to avoid looking for Mr Right - with all of the frightening images of embarrassment, exposure and abject failure which a search might uncover. She was safe. Not her fault. Hah! I'm still worthy! But - she was still alone with no plan to fix it.

I asked her if she liked driving. She did. I asked her what the population of her city was - she said she didn't know but eventually we agreed that it was in excess of 100,000 people. I asked her about the role of location on intellect and class, and on why she lived where she did. Perhaps you can see where this is going. Without me needing to say it directly, I helped this lady to see the lie she was telling herself. The idea that Mr. Right could not possibly live within 30 minutes of her front door was clearly preposterous.

Now she was seeing clearly. She was not only lonely, but she was afraid. That self-image didn't sit well her the successful, wealthy lady she was, which is why her mind chose not to see it. THIS is what we humans do. We hide from the truth and we don't know we're doing it. And THIS is why we often cannot help ourselves.

From then on it's just work, but still a coach can help with maintaining motivation, positivity, stamina, injecting some humour, reminding the client why she's putting herself through all this, and so on.

Well, I hope that helps you out, Jane.


  1. Did Jane find a partner then?

  2. Let's hope she's too busy with her partner to talk to us :o)