William Cooke          


International, Expat and English Communication Coaching for Improving You

Three Small Self Coaching Exercises that Help With Anything

Self coaching exercises are important. Coaches are known for their ability to take someone who is not doing their best and get them on the road to success. Many people think that is because coaches must be people who have deep experience with the issues they solve or some secret knowledge but that is not always true! While it is true that working with a coach is much better than doing it yourself, for various reasons, it is not true that using some coaching methods won’t benefit you in a big way. So, we have three small ways you can use coaching in your own life to improve whatever project you might have. Usually we help with improving English communication, improving expatriate life quality or helping teachers to better serve their students, but this really works for anything.

Stop asking why

Before I started coaching I prepared myself to be a great coach by getting ready to ask ‘why?’ all the time. Within two weeks of starting my training I knew this was wrong, and other coaches agree. I had to completely reframe my outlook, and learn to ask different questions. ‘Why?’ I hear you ask...

A great question here but not in a coaching session! I like to think of it like this. We have all met a child who never stops asking ‘why?’ and they see how much it annoys us. It annoys us because it doesn’t engage us, it seems that the person isn’t listening and generally adds nothing to the conversation. When we are listening carefully, we can find much better questions than, ‘why?’ We can focus on deeper parts of the communication, and that’s what coaches do.

There is a bigger reason though. ‘Why’ questions often create defensiveness. If you are being asked to justify yourself it makes you feel bad. People hate to admit they are wrong and will often justify things they don’t even believe to avoid being seen as wrong. If you are continually asking yourself and others to justify their choices and opinions you create a profoundly negative space for communication. By actively listening (to yourself too!) and finding better questions you will get better answers and better progress, all for stopping a pretty simple habit. If you are always asking why, stop and try to reword your question, even when asking yourself. That will create awareness and positivity for moving on in your project.

Start focusing on the small picture

It’s great to have a big picture project. In fact, most people who want coaching do so because they already have some project or aim, however vague. Coaching can’t just fix all of the problems and push you to the big goal. It takes time and small steps to reach a big aim. In this way it is important to focus on small bite-size pieces of project. One step, then another. The earlier you start the less steep the stairs will be, but it’s never too late.

So you can do this by focusing on your small picture too. I don’t mean the tiny perfectionist details, but having small action steps for each day or week will create real progress to your goal. This is especially important if you are trying to improve your language skills, fifteen minutes per day will always beat a whole day once a month. Making a plan for the next step will always make that step more likely to happen. We should think ‘lifestyle changing’ not life changing. Those small changes in habits create enormous change in the future, they snowball into reaching a goal. That is why we focus so much on habits. If you put in fifteen minutes per day to something that is almost 100 hours by the end of a year. Thirty minutes, a very manageable amount of time is 200 hours. That is a worthwhile amount of time on a project! 200 hours of work is equivalent to about 1 CEFR grade for language learners, this is not a big commitment for the return you will see.

Make sure you are accountable for your goals

These habits are easy to start but they are hard to maintain. That is why we need to be accountable. It’s very easy to say in one year you will be working on that project for thirty minutes, still. It is another thing to actually make that happen. What separates the successful from the unsuccessful is that ability. How can we do that?

The answer is finding some accountability. Obviously working with a coach and putting up the money is a huge incentive and accountability boost (almost definitely the best because of the vast support it also comes with) but there are things you can do on your own too. One easy thing is to tell your friends and family. Let them know what you are doing, once you have said you will do something out loud you are much more likely to do it. Second, you can join a community for that thing, join an expats group on Facebook if you want to move abroad, for example. Join an entrepreneurs group if you want to start an international business, their motivation and successes can push you forward too. Finally, make sure that your goals have a time limit so you can’t put them off ‘until tomorrow.’ Tomorrow never comes! It is an abstract concept. Put times and dates on your goals and you are much more likely to finish them.

So our take away is this. Self coaching exercises are important. Some you can do right now are:

1. Stop asking ‘why?’ 

2. Look at the small steps to your goal 

3.  Find some accountability for those steps. 

These self coaching exercises can change your outlook. What’s best? These are just a few of the coaching possibilities that you can use. They will definitely help but there is nothing quite like having a real coach to support you. If you want to know more about how we can support you, get in touch here.

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