How to Coach Yourself

By: Adam G Fleming in be my own coach, 3 years ago

So you want to coach yourself? Perhaps you’ve said one of these things:

I really need to get up earlier to meditate, exercise, clean house, etc. I need to get past obstacles, I need to ask myself the hard questions. I’m going to figure out for myself how to have better relationships. I’m going to be accountable to myself for _____. I want to be my best self…. so I’m going to coach myself here to grow, or to get this done.

A huge part of the definition of coaching is “outside perspective.” Another way to think about that is that a coach “holds up a mirror.” The famous quote from Grimm’s fairy tales applies: “Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all?” Note that in this story, the mirror is not an inanimate object which doesn’t have an ability to respond! The mirror is an other character, it’s not the evil queen’s ego talking. It’s a legitimate source of true and accurate feedback. The mirror sometimes tells you things you don’t want to hear. So, you cannot be your own mirror. 11032

I admit it. I tricked you with my title line. The fact is that you cannot coach yourself. Period. It defies the definition of coaching to use the phrase “coach myself.” Any serious leadership or life coach will tell you they have often invested in having someone else coach them. No matter how much training and experience we have as coaches, we don’t have the ability to give ourselves outside perspective. We cannot be accountable “to ourselves”. We can’t be our own mirror. It’s just not possible.

Listen, friends: in North America, we live in a culture of isolation. We don’t have great models for living in community with others, and we rarely share our lives with someone who knows what to do with that sort of depth and intimacy. Perhaps if this was something we did more naturally in our culture, we’d have less need for the coaching industry! But the reality is, we don’t have it, and we need it. It’s worth paying for. Right here at there are lots of people who can coach you very well.

It’s time to stop using the words “coach myself” because they’re paradoxical and betray an ignorance of the value of being in a relationship with someone who can truly help us grow. I hate to tell you this, but if you’re like the evil queen in Snow White, and you don’t like hearing the truth from time to time, you may not want to hire a coach. But it could also be the best thing you ever do for yourself. Get a mirror, and listen to it! You’re going to have to work at being real. This isn’t about presenting the best image of yourself, as many of us do on social media channels. This is about allowing someone to see you, warts and all. Sound scary? Be assured, there’s nothing scarier than going through life without it!

I am firm, truthful, but also fun and gentle in the way I help people become their best selves. Contact me at [email protected] to learn more about how I can help you. Or check my profile on to see my gigs.


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