Taming the Catalyst’s (NF’s) Inner Critic: Part Five on Customizing Your Coaching
In the last of this five-part Customize Your Coaching series, we discuss Lola, the Catalyst (INFP), who finds her current job as an administrative assistant at a marketing company boring and unfulfilling, and who longs to do something more meaningful in her life that is in alignment with her “higher purpose.” Although she aspires to be a published author, Lola has been blocked in her ability to put words to the page due to an overactive inner critic.
In the process of trying to be the person that parents, partners, friends, and employers want them to be, Catalysts can lose sight of who they really are. Often the most helpful things a coach can do for NF clients, is to help them rediscover and reclaim their true selves.
Catalyst clients tend to be curious, open, creative, and courageous when it comes to exploring their inner landscape. They respond well to coaching and counseling methods that help them know themselves better and that activate previously untapped potential from deep within.
Before beginning that inner journey, however, it is important to ground the coaching sessions with some concrete, realistic, and measurable goals. This can be a challenge for Catalysts, who naturally see the big picture, but can encounter some difficulty in identifying the small, attainable steps needed to accomplish a larger objective. Without concrete goals, a coach working with Lola may feel frustrated and pulled in a multitude of directions, with no clear focus.
Let’s assume as you question Lola, she becomes increasingly aware that her inner critic impacts most areas of her life—including her writing, her career, her ability to relax and have fun, and her personal relationships. With this revelation, you and Lola decide to focus on reducing its negative impact on her life.
Together, you compile a list of observable changes that will be indicators your work together has been successful. For example, Lola would like to be writing more, launching the search for a more challenging job, and taking time weekly to read novels and go hiking.
Once goals have been established, there are endless possibilities for opening the door to change in Lola’s life. The key is to guide her in asking herself important questions regarding what matters most to her, what she really thinks and feels, and who she would like to be in the years to come. Here are some methods for doing that:
Journaling. Lola might be asked to keep track of the kinds of negative messages that her inner critic delivers most often; the situations in which her critic tends to be most active; and, the impact those disparaging messages have on her. Another journaling exercise would be to have Lola record those events from the day that gave her life meaning, each night before going to bed.
Imagery. Catalysts respond well to the use of their imagination through symbols, metaphors, stories, and analogies. Lola could be given the opportunity to envision and then dialog with her inner critic (with eyes closed).
Gestalt Exercise. Using an empty chair, she could dialog with her future self—a confident, published author who has support, encouragement, and words of wisdom to offer present-day Lola.
Guided Meditation. Lola may enjoy taking an inner journey that helps her connect with and access positive resources like inspiration, creativity, determination, clarity, and self-acceptance.
Art. Lola may find it helpful to draw a picture of her critic. She may also make new discoveries as she creates a collage that represents her future self—the successful, published author. Another possibility is for her to create a collage of her passions—in other words, a collage of what makes her heart sing.
Pretending. Catalysts are natural chameleons, changing their colors to blend into their current social environment. This ability for self-transformation can be utilized in the coaching setting to facilitate personal growth. A coach may suggest that Lola bring to mind a particular individual—fictional or real—known or unknown to her—who is brimming with self-confidence. Let's imagine Lola chooses Jane Austin. For one week, she is to pretend to have the same level of confidence in her writing and pretend to find the same joy in self-expression as Jane Austin.
As Lola’s coach, your task will be to help her translate her newfound clarity and self-awareness into making better choices for herself. With your assistance, Lola will find herself following a new path that is in greater alignment with the truth of who she is, what she wants, and who she is becoming.
This concludes my five part series on Customizing Your Coaching. I hope you have found it helpful! While there is much more to say about working with each temperament, my hope is that these articles have provided a sample of how this model may be used to design interventions that are most likely to obtain optimal results for your clients.
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All the Best,