Four Creativity Coaching Tools that Promote Self-Esteem

Here at the-Coaching Blog-run by Gerard O’Donovan, our aim is to constantly bring value to those seeking to improve their lives. Therefore we have a policy of publishing articles and materials by guest authors whom we value and appreciate. Today’s guest author is Jill Badonsky, M.Ed. (USA).

How we feel about ourselves determines the decisions we make, the ventures we risk, and ultimately, how we navigate the course of our life. A high self-esteem fuels initiation and follow-through — it defies the limitations that keep us stuck. Conversely, low self-regard keeps us operating below our potential and robs us of our possible joy.

As a coach, you have the power to either catalyze your client’s self-esteem or contribute to its erosion. Whether you address it directly or build it through the use of coaching tools designed to facilitate your clients’ successes, a practice that elevates the client rather than adds to overwhelm will succeed with abundance and make an important contribution to the world.

The following are four of the tools from Kaizen-Muse Creativity Coaching that have been test-driven with thousands of clients since 1997. The result: Lasting differences with the self- respect that leads to both accomplishment and happiness.

  • Small Steps

When your client feels overwhelmed, procrastinates, and experiences resistance to getting to their intentions, their self-esteem suffers. This avoidance is often a direct result of unrealistic expectations.

“Kaizen” is a Japanese word that means continuous improvement typically executed through small steps. Ironically, tiny steps can move a client faster to a goal because breaking a step down makes it easier to get to with the added value of a quick success experience. Momentum is built–resistance is overcome.

Setting a goal of an hour and making it to only 45 minutes feels like failure, whereas setting a goal of 15 minutes and continuing for 45 minutes will feel like a triumph. We are more likely to return and persevere when we have met with feelings of success than ones of failure.

When moving faster is required, it is only a matter of setting a 15-minute goal, taking a break and working again for 15 minutes. Clients often continue once they have broken through resistance by easing into action with the gentleness of a small step.

  • Come-backs for the Inner Critic

Harsh self-talk originating from habits or patterns adopted in earlier in life can keep clients from reaching their potential or even taking the first step toward it.

Thoughts that repeatedly criticize who we are and what we do are based on a fear-driven ego not reality.

The thoughts “I’m not good enough,” “How come I cannot finish anything?” “Why is what everyone else doing better than what I’m doing?” rear their ugly opinions in epidemic form hampering the ability to happily realize intentions.

Helping your client with the simple awareness that they can think of themselves differently and thus mobilize motivation is progress in and of itself. Complementing this awareness with planned “come-backs” to the inner critic’s claims can strengthen your clients’ tenacity, follow-through, and self-respect.

Imagine the self-esteem and impetus gained by the client who is equipped when haunted by repeated messages of “What you’re doing isn’t good enough,” “Others are ahead of you,” and “You don’t know what you’re doing,” with the simple retort, “So what, I’ll do it anyway.” Over time the inner critic’s voice is rendered ineffective due to the confidence, drive, and ensuing actions inspired by this phrase; forging forward reinforces self-worth.

Helping your client come up with replies to the ego-driven inner critic will empower drive, inspire strength, and motivate enthusiasm — all ingredients of a strong self-esteem.

  • Normalizing and Bonding

Coaching naturally offers connection, and in that connection is the opportunity to bond in a way that offers comfort, relief, and consequently another way for the client to feel self-worth. The act of normalizing what a client is experiencing is the gift of acceptance, understanding, and relief. This bond between you and your client feels good and that feeling leads to less preoccupation with what is wrong with them and more focus on what step is next.

Many clients feel alone in their struggle when, for the most part, they are experiencing the same thing thousands of others face. One way you can lift a client’s spirit when they think there is something terribly wrong with their feelings of overwhelm, procrastination, or other common coaching challenge, is simply to reply to the description of their struggle with, “Guess what, you’re not alone. What you are experiencing is normal and you are exactly in the right place because I know how to help you.”

  • The “Tah-Dah” List: A Credit Report

There is a to-do list and a “tah-dah” list. One is filled with what needs to be done, the other is the celebration of what was finished or enjoyed.

As a fear-based species, we may get in the habit of naturally focusing on what’s wrong, what still needs to be done, what was not done right. You and your client do need to know where improvement and progress are needed but constant focus on just the undone things will diminish positive feelings about who we are and what we have to do.

Just taking a few moments to regularly make a list of all that was completed, anything the client was glad they did, can result in a feeling of fullness, a willingness to do more, and the esteem required to persevere with dreams and intentions. A playful way to celebrate jobs complete is to make a list and then exclaim “Tah Dah!”

Providing the tools that result in elevating a client’s self-esteem is truly one of the joys and rewards of coaching.


Jill Badonsky, M.Ed. is a creativity coaching pioneer, internationally recognized workshop leader, and author/illustrator of three books on creativity including her recent release, The Muse is IN: An Owner’s Manual to Your Creativity. She is founder and director of Kaizen-Muse Creativity Coaching, chief editor and columnist at The Muse Flash. Find her at http://www.the.museisin.comand

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