No, not that 1%. But I am the the 1% in another way: My coaching clients and students typically talk with me for 60 to 90 minutes every two weeks--approximately 1% of their working hours.
So 99% of the time they're managing interactions, making choices and responding to situations on their own. While those actions may be influenced by our coaching conversations, at most I'm a distant echo in the back of their minds, and in the moment my clients and students are coaching themselves through these experiences.
I began thinking about self-coaching three years ago, when some of my students in the Leadership Coaching course at Stanford wondered how they would continue the process of personal development without the resources and structure provided by a graduate program. I realized that much of my writing on this site was intended to serve that very purpose, and I compiled a series of Self-Coaching Guides on the topics of change, communication, happiness, leadership, learning and motivation.
My thoughts on self-coaching (and on the specific topics above) have evolved considerably over the last few years, and I plan to spend more time on this subject going forward. But for now I'll simply note that I've come to believe that effective self-coaching is the key to meaningful growth and development, whether you're working with an executive coach like me, participating in a formal degree program, taking a class or simply reading websites like this in your spare time.
So no matter which of these groups we belong to, I think it's essential to assess the practices and habits that comprise our own self-coaching routines and to experiment until we find the mix that's best suited to our needs, temperament and circumstances. For example, I've long believed in the value of writing a journal as a way to understand and find meaning in our experiences, and I strongly encourage my coaching clients to do so. (My students at Stanford don't have a choice in the matter--some type of journal is almost always a course requirement.)
I don't mean to suggest that journaling is the only--or even the most important--element of self-coaching; it's just a convenient starting point for this discussion. I don't prescribe any particular form of journaling, because it's important for each individual to decide what will work best for them--a weekly review, a few words at the end of the day, sporadic essays, a private diary or a website like this, whatever works. And while I certainly have clients who choose not to journal and still find value in the coaching process, I believe that those clients who do journal, in whatever form, will be better prepared to coach themselves after our work together has ended. They've developed a practice that will allow them to retain memories, process emotions, and understand themselves more fully. All this happens in a coaching conversation, of course, and (thankfully) there are times when an in-person discussion with a coach is uniquely valuable. But as I said earlier this year to my colleague Dan Oestreich, "I believe my role as a coach is both necessary and modest. Necessary in the sense of helping clients know how to get started. And modest in the sense that the goal is for clients to be able to coach themselves after I leave."
For an overview of my self-coaching framework, see A Self-Coaching Guide for Leaders at All Levels.
For all my posts on this topic, see my Self-Coaching category.