Reflections at a milestone / mini lesson in Cognitive Behavioural Coaching

I just finished my twelfth hour of coaching, a core component of my Master’s degree in Applied Positive Psychology and Coaching Psychology.

Frankly, I feel elated. But when I thought “I’ll write a blog about this feeling,” my inner critic leapt up and shouted “OI! You should be doing coursework! Don’t let one victory make you complacent! You are still WAY behind!”

This reaction made me laugh, because the aspect of coaching that has resonated most with me so far is the concept of ‘performance inhibiting thoughts’, or PITs. We all know them, those cranky little digs we give ourselves about the things we ‘should’ or ‘must’ do, or the reminders that we are ‘always’ doing this, or that someone else is a big fat so and so, and as far as you’re concerned that’s that.

Since I’ve learned about them I’ve been calling myself out a million times a day. The above examples are just a few of the many ways our inner critics seek to sabotage us on a daily basis.

The key to moving past them is as follows:

  1. Notice when you do it – all the times you label yourself or someone else, the times you overgeneralise or catastrophise situations, the times your views are rigid. Just catch yourself, make a mental note, or even write it down if you like (that’s a great way of internalising it and means you are more likely to succeed in conquering it).
  2. When you have a quiet moment, sit down and read through the list of PITs you have picked up on.
  3. For each one, challenge the assumption, and reframe it in a positive way. Write the new thought down beside the old one.
  4. Next time you catch yourself doing it, recall the associated Performance Enhancing Thought (PET).
  5. With practice, you will re-train your brain!

Thus ends today’s lesson in Cognitive Behavioural Coaching. You’re welcome 😉9c02a298faaebec58a66b077659828b0

Why Cats are Cool and Dogs are, well, Dogs…

I’ve long held the belief that cats are cooler than dogs and now new research from Japan has validated that belief even more. Why? Because although they recognise their owners’ voices, cats simply ‘never evolved to care’ – which might explain their disdainful looks when humans try to ingratiate themselves with love and affection.

But it’s precisely this laissez-faire attitude towards their owners that I’ve always loved about cats. They aren’t needy in the way that dogs are, they are independent creatures and they know exactly what they want from life – generally sleep (in abundance), the occasional stretch or cuddle, smaller animals to torment before killing and a plentiful supply of delicious food (when I was little my cats used to drive Mum to despair by turning their noses up at all but the most expensive cat food – and quite right too, we humans prefer luxury to budget don’t we? Why shouldn’t they?)

Don’t get me wrong, dogs are delightful little things, with their big, sad eyes, earnest faces and yappy demeanours. It’s charming the way they race down the hallway to greet their owners after even the briefest of separations – if only we humans were so grateful for one another’s attention, the world might be a more friendly place.

But what it boils down to for me is independence. If you’re a cat owner and you want to go on holiday, no problem! You can buy an electronic feeder and get the neighbour to check in once in a while, happy in the knowledge your feline friend won’t be in the least bit bothered. Dog owners, however, can’t possibly leave their faithful mutts to fend for themselves. Oh no, it’s either costly kennel fees or begging notes to friends for dog sitters. What a hassle!

Nope, whatever arguments there may be to the contrary I’m afraid I’m just too entrenched in Cat Camp to even consider defecting to its canine equivalent. Cats rule. End of. And if you don’t like my argument, I don’t even care…