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Do you self-coach or self-judge?

What do you do when you get something wrong? Does it depend how serious you think it is, or whether anyone saw you? Being able to self-coach rather than self-judge in these moments can totally change how you feel about the situation – and the outcome.

Imagine you have to present in front of the whole company, including your CEO. You prep for weeks but for whatever reason, your presentation just isn’t that great. The big day arrives, you can see people whispering at the back of the room and fidgeting at the front and as you step forward, you get an ever-growing sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach. Finally, presentation over, you leave the spotlight.

What do you do now?

Do you take the opportunity, while your presentation is fresh in people’s minds, to ask for feedback? Do you let them know that you’re keen to improve, so would really appreciate them being totally honest with you? And then, when you’ve gathered the feedback, do you decide on your actions and move on, letting any feelings of embarrassment and frustration just pass straight through you?


Do you rush into the bathroom and hide with your head in your hands wondering if you’ll ever be able to show your face again? When you finally emerge, do you either avoid engaging in any conversation, or tell people constantly you know it was bad, without actually asking for any feedback? Do you spend weeks agonising over your ‘failure’, wondering how it has affected your prospects, having many sleepless nights and tense arguments with people around you in the process?

Many of us will empathise with the latter reaction, the first sound just too good to be realistic. But you’re vastly underestimating yourself if you believe you could never react in that balanced, open, positive way. With a little practice, you can. Don’t fall back into the trap of thinking events dictate your behaviour – you can always choose.

Part of being a Courageous Learner is practicing to self-coach, rather than self-judge. Courageous Learners coach themselves without wasting any time on self-judgement. They know that self-judgement makes them far more likely to fail than succeed, and will make them unhappy along the way.

We’ll leave you with some questions to ask yourself – and your teams – about self-coach versus self-judge:

  1. Where have you spent most of your time to date – self-coach or self-judge?
  2. Do you, like lots of people, believe that you’re a good person because you beat yourself up when you get things wrong?
  3. Or, do you see the value in being a self-coach and letting go of judging thoughts?
  4. What would it take for you to let foo g your self-judge habit and begin to positively self-coach?

Courageous learner is just one of the valuable skills we teach on all our programmes; whether the audience is school leavers and graduates or emerging and established talent, the impact to the individual and the business is huge.





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