A Coaching Model By Jennifer Walker, Life Coach, UNITED STATES
The I.A.M. Model of Coaching: I Accept Myself
Do you struggle with an overbearing internal critic?
Do you ever feel like an imposter in your personal or professional life?
Do you feel held back by limiting beliefs about your worth or abilities?
The I.A.M. – I Accept Myself – is a model of life coaching that will help you transform old, outdated thoughts and expectations that keep you trapped in self-doubt and self-judgment. You will learn to let go of the self-criticism and fear that are holding you back. You will be free to accept yourself, believe in your worth, and embrace a sense of well-being, self-compassion, and self-love.
It is from a position of acceptance that we can free ourselves from judgment, comparison, fear, and perfectionism. We empower ourselves to grow, to take risks, and to trust that we are worthy and capable of handling life in whatever way it unfolds. It gives us hope, courage, and confidence.
- What would it be like if I could live each moment with an unconditional and accepting sense of self?
- What possibilities could I open myself to by living in the confidence that I am worthy, no matter what?
I.A.M “I Accept Myself” Model of Coaching
In the I.A.M Model of Coaching, I will bring my 30 years as a psychotherapist and clinical social worker serving women of all ages to our professional coaching relationship. Together we will challenge and dismantle limiting beliefs and expectations, heal emotional wounds, and move through fear and anxiety to a place of peace and wholeness.
By cultivating an unconditional and accepting presence, we are no longer battling against ourselves, keeping our wild and imperfect self in a cage of judgment and mistrust. Instead, we are discovering the freedom of becoming authentic and fully alive. (Brach, 2003, p. 42)
Self-acceptance is a process that requires patience and practice. It is not a fixed state, but rather a fluid experience. Self-acceptance requires that we acknowledge our beliefs and embrace ourselves fully in each moment, for better or worse. Most of us are so accustomed to operating from an unconscious framework of limiting beliefs and unrealistic expectations that self-acceptance seems impossible. However, if we can identify personal, core values, and tease apart restricting beliefs and expectations, we can introduce new perspectives and begin the process of change.
Using the I.A.M. Model of Coaching, we will:
- identify core values that are held by you, personally, not the ones that are promoted by social narratives or sources outside of you.
- uncover the beliefs that are operating below the surface that are holding you back from trusting your true potential and worthiness.
- recognize the expectations and comparisons you hold that fuel a need for perfection.
- develop an appreciation for all parts of you – the positive and the negative.
- find comfort in experiencing your emotions, even the most difficult ones.
- increase your pride and self-confidence, even amid failure and fear.
As stated by Jon Kabat-Zin, a leader in the practice of mindfulness,
acceptance doesn’t, by any stretch of the imagination, mean passive resignation. Quite the opposite. It takes a huge amount of fortitude and motivation to accept what is — especially when you don’t like it — and then work wisely and effectively as best you possibly can with the circumstances you find yourself in and with the resources at your disposal, both inner and outer, to mitigate, heal, redirect, and change what can be changed (2005, p. 407).
In the development of self-acceptance, it is important to identify the parts of yourself that have been rejected, hidden, and avoided. It takes time to explore and accept. Through the I.A.M. Model of Coaching, we will address the thought and behavior patterns and the coping mechanisms that have been used to manage the negative self-talk, painful emotions, and sense of shame and unworthiness. By unraveling the negative thoughts, emotions, and behaviors, we can begin to reframe perspectives, develop new self-talk, and make positive choices from a place of belonging and self-worth. As you heal, you will begin to experience increased self-compassion. You will show yourself the same kindness and compassion that you show to others. There will be no more double standards, only self-acceptance, self-compassion, and from there, self-love.
Life coaches help clients discover their brilliance, which often lies masked or buried in their unconscious mind and can be experienced when they begin to design their lives consciously and purposely. (Williams and Davis, 2002, p. 11)
I approach life coaching with a foundational background in psychology and clinical social work, and an uncompromised belief in human potential. With this experience, I will assist you through 1:1 coaching sessions. I will provide thoughtful, insight-oriented questions to build awareness and stimulate self-acceptance in an emotionally safe, highly supportive environment. In this space, you will learn to tolerate the experience of being present without judgment and begin to feel grounded and accepting of your authentic self. You are then free to rid yourself of the thoughts of who you think you should be, but rather sit with the acceptance of who you are – the strengths and challenges, achievements and failures, beauty and imperfections – allowing for more intentional beliefs, thoughtful choices and increased self-compassion.
Questions to begin asking yourself include:
- What are my current goals?
- How am I currently feeling about myself?
- What are my beliefs and expectations about my goals/myself?
- What are my current struggles, fears, and challenges?
- What am I avoiding?
- What if I could accept and find compassion for the parts of me that I’m hiding?
- What do I feel proud of/confident in?
- What do I feel grateful for and appreciate about myself?
- What if I were to roll all of the above into an all-encompassing, all-accepting sense of myself?
The I.A.M. Model of Coaching comes from the belief that you may not always “like” every part of yourself – your flaws, your emotions, your behaviors, your body. But you can see them and understand them for what they are. You can appreciate how they make you uniquely you without judgment. You can treat yourself with the same kindness and compassion that you would show others. Through this position of self-acceptance, you embrace the belief that you are worthy, you belong, and you are deserving of self-compassion and self-love. From here, anything is possible.
… the curious paradox is that when I accept myself as I am, then I change. (Rogers, 1995, p. 17)
Brach, T. (2003). Radical Acceptance: Embracing Your Life with the Heart of a Buddha. Bantam Books.
Kabat-Zinn, J. (2005). Coming to Our Senses: Healing Ourselves and the World Through Mindfulness. Hyperion Publishers.
Rogers, C. (1995). On becoming a person: A therapist’s view of psychotherapy. Mariner Books.
Williams, P. & Davis, D. (2002). Therapist as Life Coach: Transforming Your Practice. W. W. Norton & Company.