A Coaching Model Created by Csilla-Maria Barta
(Life Coach, ROMANIA)
Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom – Aristotle
Knowing ourselves is the best tool we can possess in every situation in life. The best thing about it is that it’s a tool we carry with us, it’s in our reach whenever we need it, doesn’t take up any space and it is ours the whole way, something, that once ours, can’t be ever taken away.
What is self-knowledge and how can it become a tool?
Knowing yourself means understanding our identity, what drives us, what our values are, what interests us and what is unimportant, what our fears are, and so on.
In other words, our self-awareness. Self-awareness is the capacity for introspection and the ability to recognize oneself as an individual separate from the environment and other individuals (as defined in Wikipedia). Self-awareness is how an individual consciously knows and understands their own character, feelings, motives, and desires.
Self-awareness is also defined as a clear knowledge of our strengths and weaknesses.
In our days, we can find limitless information about this topic all around us.
The author, Meg Selig, explains in Psychology today the building blocks of our Self as the combination of Values, Interests, Temperament, Around-the-Clock Activities, Life Mission and Meaningful Goals and Strengths.
She defines Values as guides to decision-making and motivators for goals. The motivation provided by worthwhile values keeps us going even when we are tired, as shown in many psychology experiments.
She refers to Interests as our passions, hobbies, and anything that draws our attention over a sustained period of time. To figure out our interests we should ask ourselves these questions: What do we pay attention to? What are we curious about? What concerns us? The focused mental state of being interested in something makes life vivid and may give us clues to our deepest passions.
According to the author, temperament describes our inborn preferences. Do we restore our energy from being alone (introvert) or from being with people (extrovert)? Are we planners or go-with-the-flow type of persons? Do we make decisions more on the basis of feelings or thoughts and facts? Do we prefer details or big Ideas? Knowing the answers to temperament questions like these could help us gravitate toward situations in which you could flourish and avoid situations in which you could wilt.
The “around-the-clock” category refers to when we like to do things—our biorhythms. Are we a morning person or a night person, at what time of day does our energy peak, and so on?
When trying to identify our Life Mission and Meaningful Goals we must ask ourselves the question: “What have been the most meaningful events of our life?” to discover clues to our hidden identity, to our career, and to life satisfaction.
In the end, the author defines strengths as abilities, skills, and talents and character strengths such as loyalty, respect for others, love of learning, emotional intelligence, fairness, and more. She explains that knowing our strengths is one of the foundations of self-confidence and not being able to acknowledge our own superpowers could put us on the path to low self-esteem.
What does a mirror have to do with self-knowledge?
The idea of the mirror linked to self-awareness is not only applied in the human perspective.
As scientists were trying to test self-awareness in animals, they developed a test called “The mirror test” or “mirror self-recognition test (MSR)”.
In the classic MSR test, an animal is anaesthetized and then marked (e.g., painted, or a sticker attached) on an area of the body the animal cannot normally see. When the animal recovers from the anesthetic, it is given access to a mirror. If the animal then touches or investigates the mark, it is taken as an indication that the animal perceives the reflected image as itself, rather than of another animal.
In a wider range, the mirror as such gives us a reflection of ourselves whenever we look into it.
It is the base for almost everything we believe to know about our physical appearance. We recognize our features with no problem and know immediately what we need to do to change it or improve it.
In the view of ourselves as an identity, the sum of all the building blocks mentioned earlier, we need a different kind of mirror to see ourselves. One of these mirrors is the people around us with their feedback on our behaviour, their perception of our feelings and reactions, their overall approval or disapproval of who and how we are.
Another mirror is our introspection. We not only recognize our physical features but our selves as a whole person with all our inner characteristics.
Coaching with mirroring
Our perception of our selves is very subjective, biased and many times influenced by certain events in our lives. We rely too much on the mirror held by others instead of our own.
As coaches, we can be the perfect mirror to our client the moment we reflect what we hear from them, what we see in their reaction to a certain subject, etc.
When the client isn’t able to see his or herself as what they truly are, the presence of the coach can make a huge difference.
The MIRROR as a coaching model follows the steps:
- Listening to and observing the client as they tell us about an experience, a feeling or a reaction they had about something or about a situation
- Giving feedback to the client by mirroring their words, certain expressions they used, their body language, the tone of their voice, the overall feeling we get while listening to them.
- The client is reaching a state of self-awareness when recognizing o pattern in his or her reaction, a recurring feeling, etc.
- The client can search deeper for the reasons behind his or her feelings, reactions and by recognizing the pattern, they will gain power over them. As such, they can control what they feel in a situation, how they will react in a similar situation in the future.
This is how self-knowledge becomes a powerful tool in handling day to day situations, problems, conflicts.
When a situation occurs, when we need to make a decision, when we are about to react in a certain way, our self-knowledge is helping us to:
- be aware of our ways of reacting,
- be able to control our feelings, as we can separate the meaning of an actual situation from the one we are carrying from our past and as such, react differently,
- recognize immediately which of our values or principles are being violated
- how a decision can impact our goals in life
- recognize if it is the best time for us to have a conversation, do we delay a task to our convenience, do we want to help someone or not
- can we effectively do a task, or will we reach for help, etc?
Being the MIRROR for our clients can be the best thing we can do in situations of conflict what leaves the client puzzled, recognizing one’s fears that keeps the client blocked in different stages of their lives, in the process of transformation when the clients recognize the patterns in their lives that lead to the same outcomes, just to mention a few possibilities.
https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/changepower/201603/know-yourself-6-specific-ways-know-who-you-are – Meg Selig