Developing a Powerful Habit of Self-Coaching

Self-coaching is a powerful habit of self-exploration and intentional living that anyone can develop! I love to teach my clients basic self-coaching skills and have done so for years! Self-coaching is a growing concept and I’ve started hearing a few other coaches talk about it as well. Join us in this easy-to-form habit and start creating more Life-Clarity in just 20-45 minutes a week!

With any new habit there is a little bit of basic set up or preparation to get you ready for success. The prep work to set up a new self-couching routine isn’t hard but it is important. Let’s start with that then dive into the process I teach my clients that allows them to continue their powerful self-work after our formal sessions end. This is a quick and easy way to invest in your growth right away while learning a little about coaching.

To set yourself up for successful self-coaching, take a few minutes to:

Pick your time. Part of working with a coach includes setting an agreed upon time to meet regularly. Sometimes it is weekly, bi-weekly or monthly. Your first step is to set aside time on a regular basis to do your self-coaching. This should be a time free from interruptions and when you know that you will be available each week. I like to do this on Sunday afternoons.

It’s a little large for the space, but I love curling up in my favorite chair, especially with a cat or two.

Pick your length. Think about how long you will need or want during these regular self-coaching sessions. Would 15 minutes be enough? Maybe 30-45 minutes would be a good amount of time if you have a lot going on in life right now. There is no right answer. Determine your ideal length and add this time to your calendar NOW so that it is a protected time. Take a moment and lock it in! (Remember you can always adjust as you go!)

Pick your place. Establish a location (or two) where you will go to do your self-coaching. If your home is quiet and available, this may be best. Just be wary of comfortable places like your bed or couch! A coffee shop, library or community park may be better than your home if the space provides for individual areas free of distraction. A walk, bike ride or swim may be great choices for some people, but just make sure the activity will not distract you from thinking and provides a place before or after where you can write down some key notes. I do this on my favorite over-sized chair in the living room, but when weather is nice, I like to do this personal work on my back porch.

Start paying attention. Create a habit of being present during your days. So often we move throughout our day on autopilot, not fully present, not fully engaged in our experiences. Perhaps we are distracted by our devices, thinking of a past event, or dreaming of a future one. Determine to pay attention to the moment at hand and what is going on inside of you. Then select a way to capture any significant thoughts and feelings throughout your days. This could be just making mental notes if you have a good memory, or something more tactile like creating notes in your phone or journal. I knew someone in college who kept index cards and a pen on her at all times to jot down important notes throughout her days. Pick whatever system will allow you to be more mindful and present.

Now that you’ve got the background and preparation work done, here is my basic process for each self coaching session:

1 – Establish your mindset. A coach is a partner, an encourager, a challenger, a champion and a mirror. A coach provides observations about your life, asks thought-provoking questions, and offers insight as needed. A coach assists in goal setting and encourages you to take risks and be brave as you work towards your goals. All in all, a coach focuses on fostering your growth and success. Establish a mindset that is open to this type of reflective and growth oriented thinking. Listening to a motivational song, reading a poem, watching a short video, meditating, doing a little yoga or saying a prayer are all good ways to establish your self-coaching mindset. I vary this part depending on my mood and how my body feels.

Any method will work as long as you know where to look when its review time! Photo by Kari Shea

2 – Conduct a review. Take stock of happenings, thoughts and feelings since your last self-coaching session.  If you journal or take notes in your phone regularly, take a moment to flip through your recent entries. What patterns do you see? What stands out the most? What had the largest impact on you, for good or for bad? What successes did you experience? Where do you wish you could have a re-do? What is significant about any of these happenings, thoughts and feelings? Review yourself and do your best to be open and non-judgement about the facts.

3 – Determine the impact. Decide how you want any significant happenings, thoughts and feelings to impact you moving forward. Is this something you want to act upon or dig into further? Is this something you want to share with another person? Is this something that aligns with your current goals? If so, how will it help you move closer to accomplishing your goal? If not, is it stopping you from progressing towards your goals? Does it represent your key values? Are you thankful for or regretful about it? Decide how you want these experiences to impact your life.

4 – Plan a course of action. Select specific do-able action steps for the next week (or until your next self-coaching session) to act upon your answers in step 3. Engage the people who need to know or who can provide you support as you act. Create deadlines for each action to hold you accountable. Think of resources (books, websites, experiences, people, apps like Trello, ect.) that would help with each action step. Write these action items (with their deadlines and resources) down somewhere you can see whenever you need a reminder or boost. If one seems especially overwhelming, consider breaking it down into smaller actions. I do this action planning in my journal and share any key elements with my husband for support and accountability. This sharing is hard sometimes but I know it is good for him to know what I’m up to, especially when I am trying to make a change.

5 – Act and watch. Carry out your course of action and see what happens! That is it! Ready, set, go!

Not sure this is worth trying or really has any benefit? One of my past clients recently shared the following with me:

Jessica, it’s been four weeks since my last self-coaching session, and I have felt so unfocused and ungrounded! So I prioritized that time today, and I already feel so much better and productive!”

Keep exploring the process and yourself! This isn’t a habit you’ll develop over night but it is so worth the effort. Photo By Justin Luebke

This process is powerful if you pour yourself into it! It creates clarity, structure, motivation, encouragement and strength! It is a key habit to creating greater Life-Clarity, guaranteed! Self-coaching is cyclical and over time you will find what works best for you. Allow yourself to experiment with each step along the way. Enjoy the learning process and try not to be unduly hard on yourself!

If you want to learn more about self-coaching, here are two other coaches working in this area as well: Ed Batista and Mike Normant. These two thought leaders have been great resources for me as I refine my self-coaching work and ideas. Thanks Ed and Mike! And for those of you wanting to add other intentional habits into your life, check out a previous post I wrote on 4 Ways to Live More Intentionally or look into getting a Go Journal.

Want to take your self-coaching to the next level?

The process shared in this post covers the basics of self-coaching, which anyone can use to live more intentionally. Establishing this habit is a great foundation for the powerful dynamic created between you and a certified coach. Having a self-coaching habit is certainly not required for a successful coaching experience though!

Engaging with a professional coach is a powerful experience that creates a period of insight, action and self-growth. Coaching sessions are frequently energy-charged and designed to create momentum and clarity for the client.  When self-coaching skills are taught as part of the conclusion to the coaching agreement, this forward movement doesn’t have to end when the coaching agreement ends, which is exactly why I love teaching the skills to my clients.

If you are attracted to this self-coaching process and have questions, email me at I promise you’ll get a pretty quick response. If you want to take these ideas to their full capacity, I encourage you to consider hiring a coach. I’d be happy to answer any questions about my individual or group coaching options. We can also schedule a free Clarity Call to see what hiring a coach could unlock for you!


First published by Jessica Lynn Johnson for in June 2017

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