Helping clients take the perspective of their older self is a key tool I use as a work coach, primarily for women in STEM – and it’s one you can use too. Changing your perspective to remember your younger self can also work miracles.
This is something I’ve seen work like magic when, as a work coach, I was working towards my MCC certification from the ICF. As so many of my clients have colleagues who also need a bit of help, these techniques work for them when they t use coaching questions for themselves and their colleagues.
Tricks of a Work Coach
These can be a great trick for helping people see a wider perspective. However, there’s also a coaching trick that comes from reminding others about who they once were, as a reminder of how far they’ve come.
Renee has been a long-standing client I’ve worked with through several roles, over the last 12 years. She’s gone from one role to another, always acquiring the challenge she needed next – and reaching out to me every few years as she makes that transition.
Currently on the search for a new opportunity, in one of our last sessions, she talked about how she’d given up her acute concern for other people’s opinions and approval. These approvals and kudos had driven her since she was a child.
What would your younger self say now?
When we talked about all she’d achieved over time, giving up this need to always be ‘liked’, I asked her ‘What would a younger version of Renee have said about that?’ Renee threw her head back and laughed – ‘That Renee wouldn’t have believed it was possible!’
Interestingly, when I’d asked, I was just referring to our time together over the last year. However, as my coaching clients often do, she’d interpreted it much more widely and began to describe what a shift that had been going back to our earliest sessions over a decade previous.
Questions for self-reflection via a ‘younger’ self
If you’d like to reflect or encourage reflection and more self-awareness in those around you, these questions about your younger self might do the trick:
|What would your 22 year old self say about what you’ve been able to do?|
|What have you done that would have impressed the woman you were?|
|What would an earlier version of yourself say if she could see you now?|
I once saw a female CEO talk about how her ‘career’ had been like the verb definition of ‘career’. She’d felt she’d ‘moved fast and without control as she moved from one direction to another’ in her roles – ending up with her leading a tech firm. Her story got a laugh of hard-earning recognition from the audience.
You, like me, have no doubt done a few things you wouldn’t have believed possible when you were just leaving school – and probably even just a few years ago. Use that to acknowledge how you’ve grown, and how much further you’re still likely to go.
I’d love to hear those stories about things you’ve now achieved that your younger self would never have thought possible, but now probably feel a bit ‘old hat’ to you as they are in the rear-view window of your life 🙂
And if you want to break down confidence so that’s it all a bit more sustainably achievable, and unpick inequalities take a look at my video below.