A happy side-effect of my teaching career, is that I’ve had a good amount of training in coaching techniques. Coaching provides much less guidance and advise than something like mentoring, and in its most basic form, it’s just about asking someone questions. The idea is that these questions will provoke thoughtful answers, and effectively the person being coached will solve their own problem. The really awesome thing is that you don’t even need another person to do this. Just take the time to pause at moments throughout your day, and ask yourself questions:
Could I be using my time more productively right now?
Is what I’m focusing on going to give me the best outcome?
Why am I really feeling like this? What’s going on underneath the surface?
Is there any real evidence or actual proof of the situation that I’m worrying about?
What’s the worst-case scenario here? How would I cope with this?
Do I actually want to be doing this? Am I doing it for me, or someone else?
Am I on auto-pilot right now? How might I step into the moment?
How can I make this situation better?
How could I make their day/problem/situation better?
Am I about to repeat a bad habit? How can I avoid this?
What thought is my brain listening to right now?
How I have acted in this situation before? What outcome did it give me?
Asking yourself questions like the ones above, and providing honest answers, can result in a bad mood becoming a good one; a terrifying situation transforming into a glorious challenge; avoidance becoming assertive action. It’s all about perspective baby!
Are you prone to asking yourself questions that are negatively framed? (Why oh why are you making this same mistake again?! Why are you so fat/lazy/stupid/pathetic? What were you thinking?!) Clearly, this isn’t going to help anyone. So why not imagine that you’re coaching someone else and really think about what you’d say to a friend in this situation? You’re bound to think a little more about the precise wording of questions and therefore elicit the most thoughtful response.
Do you ask yourself questions? Is this something that you think you might benefit from? Comments welcome: