Coaching is incredible! To have someone in your corner who will support you, challenge you, and keep you get your life back on track towards meet your goals…it’s such a powerful thing! While coaches’ expertise is in asking you the questions that will help you to see things (including yourself!) differently, that doesn’t mean we can’t use some of our favorite life coaching tools on our own!
I fully believe that coaching should be accessible to everyone–not just those who can shell out the big bucks to pay for it–so I’ve compiled these tools that you can use to coach yourself to some major breakthroughs. I’ll be honest: using them will require you to set aside uninterrupted time to dig in and do the work. Be brazen, honest with yourself, and open to what comes.
(Not sure what self-coaching is or how to do it? Check out this article!)
The 6 Tools in this guide are my absolute favorites. They are the tools I use with clients who are stuck, feeling off balance, and not sure what to do or where to go next. Choose one to get started, see what you learn and go from there. And drop a note in the comments if you have any questions – I’m here to support you through this process!
Want to print them all out now?
Click here to get all 6 tools as a printable pdf!
So often, we spend our brainpower analyzing and overanalyzing our inner and outer worlds through our lenses. And our lenses get foggy, influenced, and a bit distorted over time. Visualizing exercises, like The Wheel of Life and the Life EKG help us to represent our world visually and creatively, and thus enable us to see our lives and ourselves in new lights.
#1 – The Wheel of Life
This one is a favorite of life and leadership coaches alike, and helps us to visualize the ways in which our lives are out of balance. It’s quick, easy to use, and super straight forward.
It serves as a snapshot in time of where we are feeling fulfilled, and where we might not be putting enough attention in our lives. If you’re feeling like work or family obligations are dominating your brain space, for example, this one is for you!
- Print out a Wheel of Life
- Review the life categories provided, and add any that are missing.
- Rate your level of satisfaction in each category from a 1-10 by coloring in that many bars on the wheel. 10 is the highest level of satisfaction.
- Repeat for all categories.
- Observe and analyze your results!
#2 – The Life EKG
This is my personal favorite and an excellent strategy if you’re feeling unsure of your values, passions, and strengths. The Life EKG helps us to visualize the highs and lows in our lives and find the commonalities that made our highs so high, and made our lows so low: which are usually the result of how are values, passions and strengths were utilized or suppressed.
Rather than a snapshot, this is a longer-term view of life, thinking through what has stayed consistent for us over time and across circumstances.
- Hold the tool sideways, or draw a horizontal line across a blank sheet of paper.
- Imagine your birth as the leftmost point on your line – a pretty neutral time in life.
- Represent your life chronologically from left to right, representing the highs and the lows as you would imagine an EKG.
- Label what was happening during your top three highs and your top three lows.
- Observe and analyze your results!
Visioning tools tend to be most illuminating for my clients. They have reported experiencing massive breakthroughs after just a few minutes of visioning – no joke! They are the perfect tools for when you know yourself pretty darn well, have lots of self-awareness, and are feeling overwhelmed from all the choices you have available to you.
There are lots of ways that people go about visioning exercises, from creating vision boards, to speaking from the voice of your future self, to imagining yourself ten or twenty years in the future. In this thought experiment, you will try just one of these (or all of these!) ways of putting yourself into the future to reflect on life as you know it, what led you to this place, and what will need to happen to get you where you really want to go.
There are pros and cons to visioning. The upside is that you get to see and feel what it would be like to live in your ideal life, to show up as your higher self, and to clear the noise and excuses as you dream. The downside is that we can get a feeling of accomplishment just by creating the boards. As with all things self-help and personal growth, it doesn’t work unless we do. After you go through the visioning process it’s up to YOU to make it happen!
#3 – Visioning Option 1: Create a Vision Board
Many life coaches I know swear by these. You’ll likely be able to find free or inexpensive vision boarding workshops in your area in January. The pro is that they often provide the boards and magazines to create from. The con is that we can be easily swayed by what the people around us want, preventing us from getting to the core of what it is WE want.
A vision board is exactly what it sounds like – a board that displays, visually, the vision you have for your life. This may represent the vision that you have for the next month, year, decade, or for the rest of your life – you get to set the parameters. No ideas are too crazy. Put them onto the board and let the “but how will I make this happen?!” unfold naturally.
- Start by envisioning your perfect future, otherwise magazines will influence your desires with their juicy marketing tactics.
- Go on a hunt for photos that match your vision. Collect, print, cutout, and otherwise scavenge pictures that visually represent what it is you want your life to be, look, and feel like.
- Paste (IRL or virtually) these images to a board that you can use to help you envision your future life.
- Put it somewhere prominent that you can return to periodically to check in on how you’re doing.
- DO THE WORK and take active steps to make this life happen!
#4 – Visioning Option 2: Imagine a Day in the Life
In this exercise, you get to quiet the noise, the distractions, the excuses and insecurities you’re experiencing today to dream about life in a fictional, perfect, visioning state. You’ll start with something simple, like what time you’ll wake up in the morning (you likely already know if you’re a morning person or not!) and get progressively more detailed, until you’re answering questions you had no idea you knew the answer to.
This is where your imagination and ability to dream really come into play. You’ll want to let yourself really think outside the box. This is a fantastic way to go beyond what people tell us we should be and do and really let our freak flags fly. No idea is too crazy, no situation is impossible. Go for it.
- Give yourself a goal of visioning for a full 15 minutes or more to get the most out of it.
- Choose a day in your life 2, 5, 10, 20 or even more years down the line.
- Imagine every facet of this day, from where you woke up and what the weather was like, to what made you happiest, what’s stressing you out, and what each moment of the day feels like.
- Continue to envision each step of the day. The nittier and grittier you can be in this experiment, the better!
- Observe and analyze your results.
- DO THE WORK and take active steps to make this life happen!
#5 – Visioning Option 3: Have a Convo with You, v.2
I believe that you are whole, creative, resourceful, and have everything that you need inside you already. That includes all of the answers to all of the questions that you have. In this exercise, we tap into bodily knowing and intuition to set us on the right path.
Most of us (myself included!) have done a great job of severing our head from our bodies, letting our logical and practical and rational minds lead the way. In the process, we’ve gotten really good at dampening the signals our bodies are sending us and the intuition that our bodies hold. This breathing exercise reconnects your brain to your body, giving you a chance to get whatever it is you need from the conversation.
- Get your body into a comfortable laying or seated position – no lotus position necessary.
- Take long, deep, belly breaths in, feeling your full belly expand, and allowing all of the air to leave your body.
- Elongate the breaths further, breathing in to a count of 5, holding for a count of 6, and exhaling for a count of 7.
- Continue to breathe in this way while imagining the oxygen coming in through the space around your heart, swirling around your heart, and then leaving through the space around your heart.
- After five or six rounds, ask yourself the questions you are dying to know the answers to.
Sample Questions to Ask Your Higher Self:
- What wisdom do you have to share with me?
- What do you see that I don’t?
- What do I need?
- What’s holding me back?
- Anything that’s on your heart, mind, or soul…
#6 – How to Change When Change is Hard with the Immunity to Change Map
Have this one goal that you set year after year, but it just eludes you? This is for you. Now this one’s a bit tougher, and quite honestly, you might want to get someone to help you out with this one – preferably a coach, but when that’s not possible, a friend who you KNOW will call you on your shit in the most loving way possible.
So many times, we set goals, and try as we might (or do we?!) we fail to meet them. Whether it’s taking our medication, exercising regularly, paying off debt, or taking the steps to make a big change, change is hard. Later, we sit there beating ourselves up about it. But real talk? There’s a reason you didn’t do what you said you were going to do.
The immunity to change map was created by Robert Kegan and Lisa Laskow Lahey while researching adult development. It helps us understand why we don’t make the changes we so desperately think we want to make. You can visit the original here and watch a video of Professor Kegan explaining how it works here..
What do you think? Which one will you try?
Let me know in the comments below!
Love these tools? We do too!
If you’re into it, check out our Book Club or Deluxe Self Care Membership, where I send you everything you need to coach yourself on a particular topic (like imposter syndrome, vulnerability, or getting enough sleep!) each month!
And if you need the link to download the free printables, click here!