Coach Yourself – Its Easy…….Right?

download (11)How many self help books are there that promise a bright new future or a happier life – millions I’ll be bound. In fact I have just searched Google for “coach yourself”and managed 13,500,000 results in 0.36 seconds. So it seems there are a great deal of people ahead of me in this queue.

Now depending upon where you are in your life or career self help and the wise words of countless books can be both a pleasure and a curse. The pleasure being there are a number of ready made answers to life’s problems the curse being having to read them and try to use them. So how easy is it to coach yourself so you can make sense of where you are and most all feel good about the whole business.

I am going to pin my colours to the mast and suggest we start to look coaching yourself with a model that is tried and tested; cognitive behavioural coaching or CBC. You have probably heard of CBT well its the same but without the “tell me about your childhood” therapy. More how are we going to move forward making sense of how thing are and how they could be.

Now one very simple and straight forward model is the ABC Model and is perhaps the most famous cognitive behavioural format for analysing your thoughts, behaviour and emotions. Cognitive behavioural therapy/coaching works on the assumption that your beliefs influence your emotions, your behaviour. By identifying and addressing problematic and automatic thoughts you can help to change your behaviour and experiences for the better.

The ABC Model asks you to record a sequence of events in terms of:

A – Activating Event (also sometimes described as a ‘Trigger’)

B – Beliefs (for example, the automatic thoughts that occur to you when the activating event happens)

C – Consequences – how you feel and behave when you have those beliefs (consequences may be divided into two parts: your emotions and your actions)

So lets have a quick example on how this might work. You are at work and your boss stops you and says “have you got a minute”. Now if you are anything like me my immediate thought is what have I done now! Says more about me than the statement. So the trigger for me is negative as it is my belief that I am in trouble yet again. As a result, I feel nervous, anxious, might need a strong coffee (won’t help the anxiety), might feel nauseous and generally a heightened sense of doom.

Ladies and gentlemen let me introduce to you a choice – a balancing thought. If I had used a balancing thought I would have seen the thing differently, as my boss is probably going to discuss something completely different. One of the approaches of CBC would be to ask you to reflect on whether the beliefs of the activating event are justified, rational or are based on an assumption or errors of initial thought. If on reflection you consider that those beliefs about yourself are not justified you might think of some more realistic balancing statements which you can remind yourself of when the activating event occurs to help keep what is happening in perspective.

So stop and think about those activating events in your life that kick off a whole body experience of something not necessarily good is going to happen. Ask yourself what evidence have you got for this thought and altered feelings about the situation? You can probably cast your mind back to an event in the past that has framed your thinking of a particular event. If its not relevant to this situation then change it, think differently about the event, thinking about the event differently will change the way you feel and behave. Sounds simple but it is a tried and tested method to help bring a sense of perspective into your work & life.

Give it a go, its sometimes hard work as you have to engage in some meta thinking or thinking about thinking. Think about the events that give you the collywobbles and ask is there a different ore positive way of thinking about it. I bet you can and I bet it changes how you feel and behave? Drop me a line if you want to know more.


My “Genius”and 3D Career Coaching

images (34)A client told me last week that I am a “genius” following a one off Career Health Check session. Mind you I had told them I was a genius before hand, so not sure that counts. Still got to take the complements where you can these days – even if they are self generated.

Career coaching is an area of my work I get very animated about, so stand back and mind the flaying arms of excitement. Want to see what it’s like check out Magnus Pike on You Tube. Now I get a deep sense of satisfaction working with my clients looking to change or transition careers. They may have been out of the workplace for a while for parenting duties and want to get back to work, or perhaps have been out of work and just need a job. Toward young people looking for their first job. These are just a few of the reasons people seek my help as a career coach. However I am sure you can appreciate there are radically different motivations for people, as a result the career coach will need flexibility and a number of differing strategies for meet the need of the client.

Whether we like it or not work is a healthy place to be, probably not something that crosses your mind waiting for a bus on a Northern European Monday morn in January. Bring happy, fulfilled and satiated in your work & career provides you with challenges, income, confidence, self esteem and a chance to strive toward your personal & professional goals. Hence the reason this part of my work is so helpful to my clients and is a hugely fulfilling part of what I do. Though career coaching for some is seen as an indulgence or a necessity depending upon your circumstances. Perhaps getting that itchy feeing in your feet suggesting you need to move on to pastures new or things are coming to an end in a job and redundancy may be a real possibility. All result in a need for change.

Now having had a number of years helping a very diverse group of people to change career or perhaps get back to work, I am always struck by traditional methods of career advice and guidance and the more creative 3D methods. Firstly, traditional methods tend to focus upon the employment process, i.e. CV, application forms (online/paper) job searching methods, interview skills, some passive training and perhaps fitting a round peg into a round hole as soon as possible. Great if you are just looking to get back to work as quickly as you can and into a similar role as before. This method used extensively in the Welfare to Work sector and by some career advice organisations that are, not to put a finer point on it, akin to a sausage factory. Very much a linear one dimensional affair, or to the cynics a box ticking exercise to getting paid for the outcome i.e. the client getting a job for least input.

So what I do mean by 3D strategies for career coaching? Needless to say this is very dependant upon need, goals and aspiration etc. However bear with me for a bit and I am hope to give those looking for a new start food for thought.

The 3D model provides is a fluid method of career coaching & management with staged activities for re-engaging with the workplace or new careers. So I work with clients at three levels.

  1. Primary level – The clients defined goals and hard outcomes. What they want to achieve, by when, how, and resources needed.Some support may be needed to help clarify the primary level to ensure the clarity. Goals may well change but are still the primary level and will need to generate thier own 3D model.
  2. Secondary level – What does the client need to reach the hard outcome – a needs analysis. This may mean the components parts of the job searching strategies, self employment, career change. A CV, L&D needs, geographical area and to examine a social media platform for the client amongst many others.
  3. Tertiary level – More the psychological analysis. Confidence & self esteem, improved interpersonal skills, along with self efficacy to name a few. The activities in a psychosocial capacity may be necessary to help the client develop toward those primary & secondary career goals.

By helping clients move through identifying their goals and the resources they need to achieve them with a renewed sense of purpose is a powerful method of supporting change. Looking at an example, say an individual has had a bad experience with being made redundant and has been out of work for a while. Confidence, self efficacy and self esteem may have taken a bit of a knock and may feel employment skills are out of date. So sending out an old school CV and applying for jobs that do not yield interviews can reduce confidence etc even further. In this instance utilising a 3D model the individual can identify their goals, focus upon improving confidence etc whilst working on their career narrative to help with the mapping out of a CV and a compelling case for why an employer would be daft not to employ them.

A very simple example granted but putting these components and layers together helps the client see the wood from the trees. So enough arm flaying from me for the time being and if you need any more information on one of my 3D model just drop me a line and will be happy to share the knowledge from one genius to another.