When I look at the growing number of self-coaching guides on the shelves of book stores, I ask myself what the hype is all about. Can undesirable behavioral patterns and seemingly unsolvable conflict be resolved, in the end, by means of just a few checklists and questions?

I posed this question to my clients first off. I must admit, however, that the sample selection is probably not representative as my clients only have limited experience with self-coaching and / or discontinued it for various reasons. But I am presuming that others have similar experiences? Some of my clients were able to get to the heart of their own particular issue with the help of self-coaching guides. In part, they were able to perform helpful initial analyses, thereby foregoing the need for first coaching sessions.

But during implementation, it turned out that something decisive was missing, thus preventing them from reaching their goals in the end. And this confirms my assumption: Effective coaching functions through a social relationship, a genuine external perspective, honest feedback and, not least, personal encouragement. This is the case especially when the process isn't running smoothly. These aspects, in particular, are rated as very important when evaluating coaching sessions. And this is where a self-help book cannot replace the human element (in fact, even the more reputable self-coaching guides recommend confiding in someone you trust for support). This person must not necessarily be a trained coach. A friend, neighbor or colleague can be just as helpful in providing a decisive impulse for change.

To save my honor, I would like to add that an experienced coach frequently already has worked with similar issues and thus is very familiar with the methods and therapeutic interventions that will help the client to implement his or her goals. As an added benefit, this circumstance will also pleasantly expedite the change process - external perspective, feedback and personal encouragement included.

What kinds of experiences do you have with self-coaching?

Your coaching expert in Berlin

About the author

Esther Kimmel is a job, business and start-up coach in Berlin, certified by the German Association of Coaching (DCV).

She has worked with and coached various entrepreneurs, freelancers, executive and specialist staff working in creative or consulting professions, and has helped them overcome various challenges and bring about change in their lives. Since 2009, she has consulted and worked with over 750 clients at various levels of the organisation.

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