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Heart Coach Institute

Heart Coach Institute Director of Education

Gaye Kuelsen, PCC • March 5, 2024 • 4 Minute Read

Coaching Confidence: Taming the Inner Critic Beast

Today, let’s delve into a pivotal coaching challenge – guiding clients through the tumultuous waters of self-judgment. As coaches, our mission extends beyond observation; it’s about equipping our clients with transformative tools. Let’s explore strategies with five key areas to empower your clients in navigating the maze of self-reflection.

Empower your coaching sessions with strategic questions

Prompt your clients to consider what advice they’d offer a friend in a similar setback.  Ask – If a friend came to you with a problem/challenge just like yours, what support would you give them?

This shift in perspective unveils self-compassion and a more rational outlook. Guide them to articulate their thoughts, helping them realise the difference between self-critic and the support they readily provide to others. The goal here is to redirect their internal dialogue, fostering kindness and understanding.

Encourage your clients to envision their future selves

Ask: “What is truly significant about this challenge in the grand scheme of your life?” This exercise broadens their viewpoint, helping them prioritise and gain insight into what truly matters.

Guide them in creating a vivid mental image of their future selves, free from the shackles of present challenges. Remember to use all senses during the visualisation – what do they see/hear/feel/smell/taste? This visualisation becomes a powerful anchor, reminding them that the current struggle is just a temporary phase on their journey.

Transform setbacks into stepping stones

Guide your clients in extracting lessons from their experiences. What would they do differently next time? Using the word ‘differently’ does not influence the client either way towards negative or positive changes, but allows them to make their own choice.

This reflection fosters a growth mindset and propels them toward positive change. Dive into the specifics of the challenge, exploring the nuances of the situation. Uncover the silver lining and hidden opportunities for growth. By reframing setbacks as opportunities to learn, you’re guiding them toward resilience and adaptability.

Decoding the Inner Critic’s Game

Dive deep into the inner critic’s intent with your clients. Acknowledge its desire to keep them safe in the familiar. Explain that their inner critic values comfort and predictability and will influence behaviour to keep them in the same space, even though it is not helpful.

Once your client understands the motive of their critic, collaboratively challenge its unhelpful processes. Explore the roots of their self-judgment, uncovering the underlying fears or limiting beliefs. By co-creating awareness, you’re not only dismantling the power of the inner critic but also empowering your clients to be active participants in their mental wellbeing.

Balancing Intent and Process:

Navigate the delicate balance between the inner critic’s noble intent of keeping you safe and comfortable, and its outdated processes.  Guide your clients in recognising this contradiction, helping them break free from unproductive loops and embrace positive change.

Explore the positive intentions behind their inner critic’s voice, acknowledging its attempt to protect them. Simultaneously, challenge the outdated processes that hinder their growth. Find the common desire of both to create an internal alignment and banish the conflict. The coaching alchemy lies in finding the equilibrium – understanding the inner critic while fostering an environment for constructive self-talk.

Consider integrating these insights into your coaching approach, acknowledging the complexities of the human mind. As we continue this journey together, let’s appreciate the authenticity and vulnerability that coaching entails. Stay tuned for more mentoring moments, where we explore the ever-evolving landscape of coaching, learning from each other’s experiences and embracing our collective wisdom.

Please let me know if you have any questions or comments about how you establish the direction and outcome of your coaching conversations. Is there anything that could be done differently or that you’d like included in future editions? Again, let me know.

Sharing these mentoring moments with you,

Gaye Kuelsen PCC CPQC

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