(Estimated reading time 3 minutes)
This past weekend was crammed full of compelling experiences. I was doing my second of five core training courses through the Coaches Training Institute. One of those gripping experiences was finding the volume control on my inner critic. It lay waiting to be uncovered in the gritty practice session with two of my fellow trainee coaches.
As a lead into the session, we were asked to think of an area in our lives we were playing it safe – maintaining the status quo. I didn’t want to put down what immediately sprang to mind, because I knew we were going to be coached on it. I had a few great reasons for not choosing this tough area – I wanted the trainee coach to have success and felt it was too challenging. I was exhausted by this time, the afternoon of the second day. I told myself that this area I was still playing safe was just a small thing, unimportant and that it could wait. With the disruption of the status quo in the balance, the voice of the saboteur in my head was loud and clear – DON’T DO THIS! In the end, I decided to find some energy, be brave and go with the real issue.
It was a quick 15-minute session. We talked about what was important to me and what it would mean to take some bold steps in this part of my life. With encouragement from my coach, I chose something, a radical action, to start getting unstuck in this area. Although vast and terrifying in my mind, the sticking point itself seemed to deflate somewhat after completion of the task. There’s so much energy that goes towards the resistance. That’s when the transformation happened. My coach quietly said, “I wonder if the radical action is actually here,” pointing at her head. Something clicked into place.” What do you mean”, I asked? “What if you think of it like this – it’s not good or bad, it’s just what is?” At that moment I knew I had been given the volume control on my inner critic. The voice of this inner critic had been so loud in judging my abilities that I didn’t even want to try and make a start. I knew that this phrase – it’s not good or bad, it’s just what is – this tool to suspend self-judgement as I learn something new, would help me in far more than this one small area.
My inner critic has a thunderous voice. It can immobilize me and prevent me from changing in ways that will bring me in line with what I value and the future I see for myself. Bringing myself 100 % to this problem and having a coach ask me some expansive questions, helped me to find the volume control on my inner critic. Now it’s my job to keep turning down the volume as I move forward.

“…coaching is chiefly about discovery, awareness, and choice. It is a way of effectively empowering people to find their own answers, encouraging and supporting them on the path as they continue to make important life-giving and life-changing choices.”

Quote from the book Co-Active Coaching,  by Henry & Karen Kimsey-House, Phillip Sandahl and Laura Whitworth

I am thrilled to be in training to become a Co-Active coach. This will add a new layer of expertise to my training as a social worker.

Photo by Gabriel Benois on Unsplash


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