Let’s start with the obvious: the concept of “coaching” is quite heavily devalued in the European-speaking environment. There are a lot of people offering all sorts of services on social media and calling it coaching. Irritation towards them extended to the definition itself. While coaching is needed not only for professional careerists, but also for everyone who wants to better understand themselves and their desires and find creative strategies for their implementation. For those who believe that they have already understood everything about themselves and about this lifecoaching is not exactly needed.
The official definition given by the International Coaching Federation (ICF) describes it as a partnership between a professional and clients that stimulates thinking and creativity and encourages maximum personal and professional potential. Coaching often unlocks resources of imagination, productivity and leadership that were previously untapped (1).
The coaching system is also being introduced into the corporate culture. According to ICF research, 86% of companies that invested in coaching not only saw a return on their investment, but also saw benefits. Of these, 19% noted a return on investment of more than 50%. Coaching has also been found to increase productivity, improve employee satisfaction, engagement, and quality of work. And the effectiveness of executive coaching at one large company showed an impressive return on investment of 788% (2).
At the same time, coaching from an experienced specialist with a good education is not cheap. And if right now the personal spending structure does not imply additional expenses, you can practice self-coaching, or self-coaching.
Self-coaching is self-management of your development and achievement of your goals using coaching techniques and methods. In the case of self-coaching, the main emphasis is on self-analysis, goal setting, development of self-awareness, motivation and solving personal and professional problems.
Pros of self-coaching
Flexibility and accessibility. You can exercise at any convenient time and anywhere.
Saving. You don’t need to pay anyone.
Privacy. In self-coaching, you can explore your personal issues without involving anyone else.
Development of independence and self-discipline. Self-coaching develops self-organization and motivation skills.
Individualization approach. Self-Coaching Tools and Techniques can be adapted to your own needs and goals.
Even with all these advantages, self-coaching cannot replace coaching with a specialist. A professional coach offers a structured and objective approach that is difficult to replicate in a self-coaching setting.
Cons of self-coaching
compared to professional coaching
Limited perspective. Self-coaching lacks the external perspective of a coach who could offer new perspectives and solutions. Self-coaching can be subjective because it is difficult to evaluate yourself objectively. One of the most important functions of a coach is to show clients their blind spots.
Lack of experience. Professional coaches have knowledge and experience that self-coaching may lack.
Limited resources. Self-coaching uses only personal knowledge and resources, while a professional coach can offer a wider range of tools and techniques.
Lack of feedback. There is no external feedback in self-coaching, which is important for course correction and development.
Risk of procrastination. Without external control and support it is easier to procrastinate complex tasks and decisions or avoid them.
Lack of emotional support. A professional coach also provides emotional support that may be missing from self-coaching.
In other words, a development request should be addressed to a professional. If for one reason or another this option is not suitable, you should try to study on your own. This will increase your level of self-awareness, help you make constructive decisions, find useful tactics for getting out of crisis situations, and achieve your goals.
Three methods of self-coaching
1. Goal setting using the SMART method (3)
Goal setting using the SMART method (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound) is needed to set clear and achievable goals. This helps you use your energy and time more efficiently. Specific and measurable parameters allow you to accurately track progress and make adjustments to it. Considering the time frame and assessing the feasibility of the undertaking helps to maintain motivation and focus, increasing the likelihood of success.
To indicate the goal, go sequentially step by step:
- Specificity. Define a clear and specific goal. For example, instead of “I want to speak English better,” it is better to phrase it like this: “I will study the language three times a week.”
- Measurable. Set criteria to measure progress. For example, “pass such and such an exam/go to such and such a level of language proficiency.”
- Achievable. Make sure your goal is realistic and achievable given your resources and limitations. Going from English B1 to B2 or even C1 is realistic. Mastering Japanese from scratch right up to N3 is not very good.
- Relevance. The goal should be important and relevant to you, consistent with your life priorities. The same example with language: if you need it to apply for a desired job, obtain the necessary documents, improve the quality of communication with friends – it will probably captivate you. If you’re studying Ge’ez (an ancient language spoken in Ethiopia) to read the Book of Kings (4th century CE) while you have more pressing tasks ahead of you, you’ll have a harder time staying focused and motivated.
- Time-bound. Set a specific time frame for achieving the goal, a clear deadline. It is important to set realistic boundaries.
2. Journaling (4)
A well-known and understandable tool that can be upgraded. Write down your thoughts, feelings, successes and failures. Choose a note format that focuses on what’s important to you, and set aside time during the day to make it a habit.
Soon you’ll be able to notice patterns, spot things that weren’t obvious before, and maybe even spot one of your blind spots. If you already keep a journal, think about what observational items you can add there. For example, these could be:
- people (think about interactions with people in a day),
- actions (note what important actions were taken),
- creativity (evaluate how creativity manifested itself in your activities),
- thoughts (write down your key thoughts of the day).
All this allows you to see what your life really consists of, organize your actions, reflect on interactions with others, stimulate creative thinking and monitor unwanted “automatic” thoughts.
Anyone who has ever monitored nutrition, considered KBZHU or actively participated in sports will be able to draw a simple analogy with counting calories, weighing, recording achievements and training results. Similar measurements can be made in other aspects of life.
One of the simplest options is to count the time spent on the phone. Open statistics to see how much time social networks, instant messengers and games take you. Even if you don’t spend much time with a gadget, the first time you look at the numbers you may be shocked. Perhaps if you remove some social network from your phone and install a language learning app instead, you will achieve your goals easier and faster.
If you want to make some changes, try to start by assessing what you have now (depending on your goals): How many hours do you sleep? how often do you criticize…