Self-Management: The Understated Coaching, Leadership & Life Skill

Self-Management: The Understated Coaching/Leadership/Life Skill

Self-management is not only a coaching skill, it is a leadership and life skill that is often underestimated in terms of its importance to an individual’s success.
If you search online for key coaching and leadership skills, self-management is rarely found at the top of any list, yet without it, none of the other skills can be fully embraced. From a coaching perspective, the coaching school that I attended taught self-management as a key context in the Co-Active coaching model. The book “Co-Active Coaching” describes self-management as a combination of self-awareness and the skill of recovery. The Coach’s self-awareness lets him/her know when distractions have interfered with the coaching conversation. Once this self-awareness is noticed, the Coach can quickly enable the skill of recovery to reconnect with the client and return to a higher level of listening. Coaches rely heavily on this skill to stay focused and present while coaching and not let life’s many interruptions get in the way.

Self-management is what we do as coaches to recover when conditions create less than a 100-percent connection

As a leadership and life skill, self-management is at the core of recognizing and managing emotions.
In the book “Emotional Intelligence 2.0,” it is one of the 4 emotional intelligence skills. The skills of self-awareness and self-management make up personal competence, which is a person’s ability to be aware of their emotions and manage behaviours and tendencies (p. 23, Emotional Intelligence 2.0). Self-awareness allows you to notice your emotions in different situations and understand how you tend to react. This understanding allows you to reflect on the difference between how you react and how you want to react in certain scenarios. The skill of self-management then follows, giving you the ability to use this awareness to manage how you react to situations or people. People that have strong self-awareness and self-management skills know how to manage their emotions — they don’t let their emotions manage them.

Self-management is your ability to use awareness of your emotions to actively choose what you say and do

If self-awareness and self-management are skills that you would like to work on, the good news is that an individual’s Emotional Intelligence can be improved.
Books like “Emotional Intelligence 2.0” provide numerous examples and tips for how to strengthen these critical skills. In fact, just thinking about self-awareness can help you improve the skill. Taking notice of how certain emotions impact you physically is one way to build self-awareness (e.g. do you feel stress in the pit of your stomach?). One simple strategy for building self-management is breathing right. A good way to calm emotions is to take a deep breath, perhaps several deep breaths, giving you the time and energy to think through how you want to react to a situation. Emotional Intelligence skills and coaching skills go hand in hand and exploring the area of Emotional Intelligence is a great way to further develop and strengthen your skills as a coach and/or leader.

Books referenced:

  1. Co-Active Coaching, by Henry Kimsey-House, Karen Kimsey-House, Philip Sandal and Laura Whitworth
  2. Emotional Intelligance 2.0, by Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves

If you have any other tips or thoughts that you would like to share about this topic, please participate in the comments section below.

All the Best,

Bev Bourque, MIR, BComm., CPCC, ACC
Professional Coach & HR Consultant, Vigour Coaching
c: 587.646.3799 I e:

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