The coach-inside-you can help

Time management problems, relationship difficulties, workplace conflicts – our life is full of challenges. When we can’t see the forest for the trees, a good coach can help us find our way out of a tight corner. But who said that this coach has to be another person? There are tools, that we can use to help ourselves. And we have tested some of them.

There is no man who doesn’t have difficulties in his life. We also have problems, for which we could not find the solution for many years, and they are very disturbing, making our daily life difficult.
But not everyone can afford to hire their own coach. Self-coaching was invented for them.
Laura Komócsin’s Toolful Coach manual contains 150 useful tools with specific examples and exercises.

1.  Creative writing:

Let’s pick a problem before us or a mountain to climb. 
Let’s find a calm, quiet place, and write down all your thoughts related to the challenge.
Write for 15-20 minutes without break. It’s not a problem, if confusing, strange, incoherent thoughts come to your mind. The advantage of the handwriting is that it activates our emotional right hemisphere instead of the logical, organising left one.
New ideas, insights, can emerge from our subconscious mind, that would remain clandestine otherwise. This strange method can be useful if we face an important decision, and we are not sure what to do, but it is also an excellent tool to define our goals. We can write down what the ideal day or year looks like for us, and what we need to do to attain it.
What was my experience? I picked a crisis in my private life. While I was writing, ideas surfaced continously about what could cause the problem. I recalled situations, when everything worked well, and I arrived to interesting conclusions, that led to the solution, too. In only a quarter of an hour I could see the situation clearer. I understood the connections better than before. It was a liberating feeling; I could be completely honest, as I wrote only for myself.

2. Coat-of-arms:

Anyone’s life can be summarised in a coat-of-arms; we do not need to be able to draw. Let’s pick a paper and split it into two. On one half draw your current coat-of arms, on the other half draw what your  crest will look like in five years’ time. Include everything that characterises your life – be it a symbolic or a real drawing. This tool helps to see clearly where we are, and what we want to achieve.
What did I experience? Even though I do not like drawing, it was worth a try. I had to think through what fills my life currently, how it is divided between work and private life. In my future coat-of-arms, I eliminated less important areas, and gave more room to my family. 

3. Wheel of Life or Wheel of Business:

Draw a circle, and divide it into eight parts with intersecting lines.  Write outside the circle and label each spoke of the wheel with one important area of your life, for example family, health, hobby, income… Inside the circle draw a scale on the lines from 1 to 10. Identify, where you are currently on the scale for the different areas. Then also highight your target value for the close future. At the end connect the dots. There will be two cobweb-like images showing, which are the areas where you have the largest gaps between your current and aspired satisfaction level. Focus on these ones first.
What did I experience? The biggest strength of the image is that it is very spectcular. You look at it, and it is obvious which are the neglected areas that need immediate action. I decided right away that I would spend more time with my husband.

4. Role Model

When we are overwhelmed by  problems, and we think that we have already tried out all the possible options, it might come in handy to think ourselves in someone else’s skin.  How would someone else solve our problem, someone we look up to ? This might be our partner, a colleague, or a professional role model.
What did I experience? I have a friend who can manage his time very well – this is a recurring problem for me. I thought through what he would do, and I had lots of new ideas. I might not be able to do everything as he does,but by following his example, I can create my own customised solutions.

5. What if…

When we have a difficult decision to make, the so-called Tetra Lemma method can come handy.  Let’s think through all the different options to solve it, and consider, what would happen in six months or a year, if we should take them?
What did I experience?  Nowadays I have to meet expectation in different roles, and I asked myself whether I can meet all of them with the same energy level. I thought through what would happen if I stopped one of my jobs, if I kept them all but expected fewer tasks in each, and what the result would be if I didn’t change anything.  Taking into account the consequences, I decided to choose the second option for now, but I will revisit the different options in half a year.

Coaching or therapy?

If we have a problem, and we want to ask for help, it is not always clear if we need a coach or a psychologist. There are some overlaps, but they use different principle and different approaches. The therapy often deals with deep grievances and trauma; and processing the past is an important part of it.  Coaching can be useful for current problems and challenges, and it focuses on the future, the solution. The coach helps us discover in ourselves the skills and resources that are necessary to achive our goal and they support and motivate us to achieve it. Therapy can last for years, while a coaching process generally includes 5‒10 sessions. It is important that neither the psychologist, nor the coach give advice. They only help us to draw our own conclusions and find our own solution.
Author: Aliz Zádrovich