Here’s Why You Can’t Coach Yourself.
You’ve been to training. You’ve acquired certifications. You’ve done the extra-curricular knowledge mining. But you’re still not quite where you want to be. You may be wondering “What else can I do?”
You need a professional coach. We all do.
You may get results on your own or an online program, but a coach is going to amplify the results you’re looking for in a much shorter amount of time.
A coach will cut through all of the stuff that’s getting in your way and get right to the heart of the matter. Every time.
So what is getting in your way?
Your Limiting Subconscious Beliefs
Each of us lives within and operates out of a complex set of beliefs that define us and the world in which we live. Our beliefs organize the world for us.
Steve Sisgold states in his article Limited Beliefs that “Beliefs are literally the lens through which you view your world:
- They influence your perceptions and often skew them in either positive or negative ways.
- They define for you what is good, bad, true, real, and possible.
- They likely direct the decisions you make and limit the actions you take.
- They shape your character, affect your relationships, and determine your health,” as has been described by Dr. Bruce H. Lipton, Ph.D. in his book The Biology of Belief.
According to the Encyclopædia Britannica, belief is a mental attitude of acceptance, or assent toward a proposition, without the full intellectual knowledge required to guarantee its truth.
According to The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, belief is the state of mind in which a person thinks something to be the case with or without there being empirical evidence to prove that something is the case with factual certainty. Another way of defining belief sees it as a mental representation of an attitude positively oriented towards the likelihood of something being true.
That which we believe to be true, we tend to then perceive and experience as being true. We rarely call our beliefs into question, which is why they tend to become self-fulfilling prophecies. As long as beliefs remain unchallenged, they shape your perceptions and direct your actions at a subliminal or subconscious level.
Your Oh-So Comfortable Confirmation Bias
Encyclopædia Britannica describes confirmation bias as the tendency of human beings to process information by looking for, or interpreting, information that is consistent with one’s existing beliefs. Existing beliefs can include one’s expectations in a given situation and predictions about a particular outcome. We embrace information that confirms our beliefs (or perspective) while ignoring, or rejecting, information that casts doubt on it.
Information that disconfirms our beliefs may cause discomfort and is therefore ignored or given little consideration. People give special treatment to information that supports their personal beliefs. People are especially likely to process information to support their own beliefs when the issue is highly important or self-relevant. Confirmation bias suggests that we don’t perceive circumstances objectively. We tend to pick out those bits of data that confirm our viral beliefs, thus, we may become prisoners of our own assumptions.
In studies examining the my-side bias, people were able to generate and remember more reasons supporting their side of a controversial issue than the opposing side. Only when a researcher directly asked people to generate arguments against their own beliefs were they able to do so. It is not that people are incapable of generating arguments that are counter to their beliefs but, rather, people are not motivated to do so.
That’s where a coach comes in.
What Coaches Do For You That You Can’t Do For Yourself
Illuminate Your Limiting Subconscious Beliefs about a Situation
Your thoughts about a situation, an issue, or a future event will cycle through your belief system and predetermine decisions and actions predicated on a history of automated behavior patterns, which engage at the subconscious level, and are therefore largely ineffective.
What a coach does: To interrupt this automated process, your coach listens carefully to you, reflects what you said, and asks powerful questions.
An active mind feels compelled to answer powerful questions. Mostly because it has never been asked questions quite like this before. In doing so, it begins to create new neural connections in order to find the answer. It’s determined to answer this thought-provoking question. What comes through is YOUR inner wisdom. YOUR answers.
Challenging Your Confirmation Bias a Bit
It’s very difficult to truly challenge our own perspectives, especially when we feel stubborn or stuck. You’re thinking patterns are more set than you believe.
Don’t believe me? Try this exercise…
Think of a difficult situation where there is a polarized division of perspectives (politics or family feuding are fertile proving grounds for this exercise). Now, think of the person or party whose side you DON’T agree with and ask yourself:
- How could I look at their perspective more neutrally? More supportively?”
- How can I empathize more with their perspective? Can I do it without having any kind of emotional reaction?
- If I were to debate for their position, what arguments would I use to make my case?
Even if you were able to do all that, you probably noticed a bit of a cognitive strain.
The point of this exercise is not to promote side-taking, but to literally CHANGE YOUR MIND. What I mean is that by thinking about a situation that challenges your imagination and is scratchy-feeling, it actually creates new neural pathways! You are literally increasing your brain mass, thus changing it (over time, of course). This results in a greater capacity for creative and critical thought. Critical thinking engages more than confirmation bias, it also accepts that certain “personal” truths are not “universal” truths.
What a coach does: Asks you powerful questions that evoke new mental connections to create a fresh perspective for you to process. You are then freed from your automated behavior patterns and can choose how to decide or act, because you don’t have any established behaviors for the new perspective.
Habits are your brain’s version of autopilot. Habits are hard. Changing habits that no longer serve you as they once did, or acquiring new ones to get you to the next level, without some form of accountability makes sticking to new habits next to impossible.
Having a plan helps you to come into action and to implement the change you want to. Sure you can do that yourself, but have you ever tried to keep yourself accountable for a personal change in busy times? Most of the time there are many excuses, why certain actions could not have been done. And at that point, it is hard to look into the mirror and keep yourself accountable.
What a coach does: A coach keeps you accountable to follow the plan that you co-partner with your coach to create and to develop your skills in the area you choose to focus on.
Does a Coach Do Anything Else?
Here are 10 more reasons you might want to consider hiring a coach, to realize more of your dreams and goals, that were discussed in this interview:
- You can’t extract your own brilliance. Especially if you haven’t identified any of your own limiting beliefs. Your coach is a professional strengths-spotter.
- It’s difficult to come up with the thought-provoking questions that will really challenge you. Your coach is trained to ask these kinds of questions and is not attached to any of your beliefs.
- You can’t see your own blocks and blind spots. You can’t see what you can’t see! Your coach doesn’t have this limitation.
- You don't know what you don’t know. How can you identify what’s missing if it’s missing? See the paradox there?
- Without your coach holding you accountable to yourself, you will lose traction and speed. Especially during busy or difficult times, when we rationalize the most.
- Even people who love change have habits, which might require some actual work to change. In this manner, there is little difference from a sports coach and your coach.
- The confidentiality and trust in a coaching environment creates a space where you can feel free to say out-loud what you might not anywhere else. Your coach will have specifically outlined a confidentiality agreement in your coaching agreement.
- By reserving time to work on YOU, instead of just working, you create a powerful template for building on your self-efficacy beliefs.
- You probably don’t notice, much less celebrate, your own progress, but your coach will.
- It’s hard to encourage yourself when you’re feeling down, but your coach will.
ACSTH Certified Holistic Life, Career, and Executive Coach
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