Today’s post contains a process to be your own coach, also known as “self-coaching.”  I attended “The Future of Coaching in Higher Education” Summit at the University of Colorado last week – interesting event.  As I was listening to the conversations around me for the two-plus days around academic/success coaching, I kept asking myself, “Is it possible for students to coach themselves?”

On average, 60% of students graduate from 4-year college and about 30% graduate from a 2-year college.  However, that means that 40% DO NOT graduate from a 4-year school and 70% DO NOT graduate from a 2-year school – which is alarming to me.  Would it be possible to teach ALL STUDENTS the skills to self-coach, to challenge themselves to optimize their lives to become better people and profoundly serve others?

Well, here’s the process I’ve put together; please share your comments and thoughts with me and with others.

You Can Do It: Self-Coaching Your Way to Success!

Here’s one of the best quotes that can easily be applied to coaching: “In every moment every day, you get to choose: to either step forward into growth (+1) or backward into safety (-1).” – Abraham Maslow

What is self-coaching?

If you could improve anything about yourself – right now – what would it be?
Self-coaching is a process of guiding your own growth and development, using your ability to tap into your own inner wisdom and experiences to determine what is right or best for you.  Self-coaching will help you identify and achieve your personal goals through an introspective process.

Why self-coaching?

Self-coaching provides a specific process to do more of what’s working in your life and do less of (or eliminate) what’s not working in your life.

Self-Coaching Process

These are the steps needed to complete a goal using the self-coaching process:
  1. A desire to make a change in your life.
  2. Knowledge of where you are at the present moment.
  3. Identification of a specific goal to change and a timeline to complete this goal.
  4. Define what might hold you back from completing the goal and a process to minimize its effect.
  5. A process to track your progress on this goal.
  6. Once completed, summarize your results – what worked, what didn’t work.
  7. Give yourself a  REWARD for a job WELL DONE!
  8. Don’t wait…start om your next goal immediately!


Use these self-assessment tools to determine the state of your life right now.  You can self-asses using simple reflective questions or more extensive self evaluations.  Bottom line: You have to know where you are before you can determine where you want to go.

  • Quick Reflection: Where (or How) do you really see yourself right now?  What’s working?  What’s not working?
  • Self-Rating: How do you rate your life on a scale from 1 to 10?  Why did you give yourself this number?
  • Tools: My Life Self Assessment. (You can download this self-assessment here: my life self assessment, 8-1-19
Note: In the My Life Self-Assessment, you will give yourself a grade for the seven different areas in your life.

What contributes to the need for change?

The area where feelings and thoughts urge you to make change – pain, unhappiness, discontent, anxiousness, feeling unsupported, or depressed – about a particular part (or many parts) of your life.
  • Reflection: Why do you feel the need to make a change in your life?

Setting Self-Coaching Goals

In determining the type of goal to set, here’s one way to think about the goals you want to create: Approach goals – moving towards a positive. vs. Avoidance goals – staying away from the negative.  Approach goals are more likely to be successful than avoidance goals.
  • Goal Setting Questions: “What’s ONE change for the better do I want to see in myself?” and “What’s ONE THING I need to do that’s really important in my life and and will move me towards the person I want to become?”
Use your answers from the self-assessments to narrow down your options and come up with your final goal.
Take a few minutes to write down a goal that’s one sentence long that’s easy to remember AND give yourself a deadline to complete this goal.
  • It may be helpful to start off your goal sentence by completing the following sentence: I will…

Keep your statement in a place where you’ll be able to see it often and track it on a daily basis.

Obstacles: What Get’s in the Way

What typically stops you from achieving your goals and making positive changes in your life?  See if any of these obstacles keep you from achieving your goals:

  • Undesirable Habits: procrastinating; disorganization; indecisive; lazy/unmotivated; irresponsible.
  • Limiting Beliefs: I’m too…; I can’t afford that; I’ve always been this way; He or she won’t let me; I don’t deserve…
  • Unhealthy Relationships: mother/father; life partner/spouse; children; friends; boss; brothers/sisters.
  • Distractions: economy; housework; your past; your physical appearance; your health; the weather.
  • Fears: failure, rejection; success; disappointment; recognition; change; looking stupid; increase expectations.
  • Lack of: money; resources; knowledge; support; time; confidence; imagination; alternatives; help.
As you define your goal, make sure to include a statement that describes how you will combat the major obstacle when it attempts to sabotage your goal.  It may be framed as follows:
  • “If this happens: ________ (something that will keep you from achieving your goal), then I will do this: _______ (something that will move you forward towards completing the goal).


To ensure that you’re staying on track to complete your goal, develop a system to document your progress.  For a simple tracking process, give yourself a “+1” for the times/days you complete your goal, a “-1” for the times/days you do not complete your goal.  Depending on your level of motivation/commitment, use one of the tools below for a more structured tracking system:
  • 7-Day Life Design Challenge  (one week)
  • 28-Day Life Design Challenge (one month)
  • 63-Day Life Design Challenge (based on the average time it takes to change a habit)
Here’s a link to the Tracking Worksheet for each of the Challenges: life design challenges worksheet, 8-8-19


  • Once you complete your goal, give yourself a meaningful reward.
  • If you don’t complete the goal, either try the same goal again or pick a different goal.  Sometimes, the goal we pick isn’t really something we want.
  • Get started on your next goal right away; momentum is the best way to keep moving forward.

Things to Think About

  • If you’re new at this, choose a goal that easy to complete.
  • If discipline is a problem, set yourself a one-week timeline.  You can try ANYTHING for a week!
  • Accept that it might take some time to achieve results.  Patience and deliberate practice is key.
  • Use a journal to document your self-coaching experiences; it’s a great way to remember what works and what doesn’t work.
  • Understand that you will hit obstacles – and setbacks are inevitable.  It’s constant learning about YOU!
  • Don’t be surprised if you fail, because all people fail at something. Forgive yourself and start again tomorrow.
  • Find ways to integrate the self-coaching process into your life on a daily basis.
  • Just Start – Action speaks louder than words!

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