Program 2



  1. General Life Coaching I
  2. General Life Coaching II
  3. General Life Coaching III
  4. Taking Chances and Decision Making
  5. The Personal Change Process
  6. Conclusion

  1. General Life Coaching I

Focus on what you really want in life rather than what you really do not want. Identify some of the things you like about your life at the moment and some of the things you do not like.

Consider what you want from Life Coaching:

Attain goals.

Achieve balance.

Find purpose.

Change your outlook/state of mind.

Become more self-aware.

Your journey toward positive change starts by:

Thinking about what you want to change.

Considering your options and choices.

Finally, taking your actions.

Focus on what you do well and enjoy rather than berate yourself for bad habits. Explore new approaches to achieve your goals and then you can begin to take action.

Before continuing with this program, ask yourself:

How well do I understand the reasons for my behaviour?

Which are my helpful beliefs and which hinder me?

What truly motivates me?

Do I think flexibly and can I meet my needs?

Are my decisions for action effective?

Which are the helpful strategies I use and which are unhelpful?

Keep a journal of your progress as it can motivate you when the going gets tough. Set a series of steps toward your ultimate goal and reward yourself for each step successfully completed. Choose empathic people to confide in and for support in your change process. Making others happy can be beneficial to your well-being, so try to do small daily acts of kindness.

To tackle new things, it can be helpful to develop your inner resources. List ten examples of things you have accomplished. For each, think about what skills you used to accomplish it.

What do you get from your beliefs? Write down at least five beliefs you hold. Draw two columns on a sheet of paper. In the first column list your beliefs. In the second column write what you gain from each belief.

Modifying Negative Beliefs:

List at least five negative beliefs.

Write them again on the left side of an A4 sheet of paper.

For each negative belief write on the right side of the paper the opposite positive statement in larger and bolder writing.

Now cross out with a black pen the negative words in the negative statements.

Read out loud your positive statements a few times daily for at least fifteen days.

Keep the list close at hand and refer to it frequently to strengthen your conviction in the positive statements.

All negative beliefs have some kind of fear at the root – fear can lead to procrastination. If you are procrastinating ask yourself:

What am I procrastinating about at present?

What belief is preventing me from taking action?

What fear is at the root of that belief?

See Program 1: Coping Strategies Counselling Advice – Competitiveness and Perfectionism, Frustration, Procrastination and Persistence.

You may fear failure, embarrassment, rejection, or achievement. Conquer your fear by developing new constructive beliefs.

See Program 1: Coping Strategies Counselling Advice – Modifying Maladaptive Thinking.

Write down your needs at present. Which are the most important? Consider which needs you meet in a way that is destructive and try to form constructive ways to meet these needs.

Your values are principles that propel you forward. To identify values that motivate you, make three columns on a sheet of A4 paper.

In column 1: List the things that are most important to you at present.

In column 2: For each of the above things write what positive value you get from it.

In column 3: Write out the most frequently occurring values – these are the values that are most important to you.

An example of a NEED is the need to be loved. ‘To give and receive love’ is a VALUE. ‘To be safe’ is a need and ‘To be your best’ is a value. Define your values in a statement, for example: ‘My value for honesty means I tell myself the truth no matter how painful’.

Your values can motivate you to achieve your goals.

Answering the right questions can be empowering. Such questions to ask you are:

Open questions – who, what, how, where, and why (be cautious with this last as it can feel like interrogation).

Probing questions – allow you to explore a situation, for example, ‘Tell me more about that.’

Clarifying questions – can restate your objectives and check if anything is missing, for example, ‘Could you repeat…’

                Closed questions – generate a ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ answer.

Question the results of your actions: What can I learn from this? How can I change and improve the result I get next time?

What does success mean to you (e.g. material goals, satisfying relationships)?

Describe your health, career, relationships, financial security and personal development in five, ten and twenty years in the future. These are your whole-life goals. Take each goal and condense it into a short goal statement. Think about the time period necessary to achieve each goal and visualize the journey toward each goal (e.g. as a mountain ahead you want to reach).

Generate options for each goal statement by considering (e.g. the fastest, scariest, most difficult, riskiest or most exciting option). Which do you prefer? What are you capable of? Who can help you? Where can you get more information? What are your resources – skills, knowledge and experience? Choose the best option. What is necessary to work toward this option? Take the first step without delay.

Build supportive networks for motivation, inspiration and support. The Game of Six Degrees of Separation is the idea that: ‘You are only ever six or fewer people away from anyone else in the world because you know someone who knows someone else and so on until you reach the person you had in mind’.

The right-brain is creative and the left–brain is logical – you need to use your whole brain when making whole-life decisions.

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 2. General Life Coaching II


You may need to work for money or you may not, but need purposeful activity. Are you happy in your job and using your skills to the best advantage, or are you struggling with work issues? Perhaps you can make changes to your current job, look for progression or find a new job.

We all need recognition of our work to find the job worthwhile. Even negative feedback is better than no feedback at all, so consider how you can encourage constructive feedback opportunities.


You need to meet your own needs before looking for a soul mate. Be realistic about what you desire in a potential partner.

If you are already in a settled relationship consider what you both have in common and the things that cause tension. What are the great things about your relationship and what things do you want to change? How can you begin these changes? Work to maintain mutual love and respect in your relationship.

If you are leaving a relationship ensure all concerned have support available throughout the process.

Nurture family bonds – you may want to improve communication with family members. Consider how your relationships have evolved. Friendships are maintained when both parties have their needs met in the relationship.

See Program 13: Overcoming Destructive Relationships.


To be in top form you need to optimize your physical, mental and emotional health. Substitute the negative thoughts you have about your body with positive ones.

See Program 1: Coping Strategies Counselling Advice – Improving Your Self-Image and Combating Self-Harm.

What current strategies do you use that are helpful for your health? How can you enhance what you already have?

For good health now and in future you need to have a nutritious diet, take regular exercise and get adequate sleep.

See Program 1: Coping Strategies Counselling Advice – Nutrition, Exercise and Sleep Management.

How does your lifestyle affect the food you choose to eat? What areas of your health are not met by your current diet? What negative beliefs hinder you from achieving maximum health? What needs to change to improve your health?

It is necessary to exercise at least three times a week for 20 to 30 minutes.

For good mental and emotional well-being you need to constantly question unhelpful beliefs and behaviours. Set yourself challenging goals to maintain motivation and a sense of fulfillment in your life.

See Program 1: Coping Strategies Counselling Advice – Modifying Maladaptive Thinking.

Personal Development

This involves absorbing new information, how much leisure time you seek and spirituality. The latter can be: what makes your life worth living; what gives meaning and purpose to your life; what provides a sense of closeness to others.

Learning is most effective when using both sides of your brain – logical left and creative right. It is most productive to take a 20 minute break after each 90 minutes of full concentration. You need to get a balance between work and play. What was fun about your childhood activities? How can you recapture that sense of fun into your life now?

You can get to the heart of an issue by playing the Game of Five Whys. Ask yourself WHY? - five times in a row with answers, to really explore an issue.

An activity schedule can ensure you make optimum use of your time.

See Program 1: Coping Strategies Counselling Advice –Planning an Activity Schedule.

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 3. General Life Coaching III

Develop good time management.

See Program 1: Coping Strategies Counselling Advice - Managing Your Time, Program 22: Overcoming Stress and Program 23: Overcoming Stress At Work.

Each night write down tasks for the next day. Think how you can change the things you have too much or too little of, to JUST THE RIGHT AMOUNT. For a balanced life it is necessary to identify and assertively ask for your needs, so other people do not take advantage of you.

See Program 1: Coping Strategies Counselling Advice – Assertiveness Training.

How do you want your life to be? What are your options? What is in your best interests? Be flexible and form a good support network.

See Program 1: Coping Strategies Counselling Advice – Social Skills Training, Communication Training, Negotiation Training and Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP).

You are likely to experience at least three or four periods of transition during your life time. Draw a horizontal line across the middle of an A4 sheet. Starting from the left, mark the periods of stability and the periods of transition as your life has progressed (from left to right). For each peak or trough consider how you felt at the time and the emotions you experienced. Can you spot any patterns? Do you prefer periods of stability more than transitions?

Major changes occur when your present circumstances cause more pain than pleasure. When in a bad situation you may want to:

Rectify it: How will this affect your life? What will you sacrifice? What will you gain? How will you maintain commitment and get the required support?

Escape: What are you running away from? What is distracting you from the real issue? What will support you in learning from the bad experience?

Focus on strength: Note your strengths in your current situation and integrate them into the changes you want to make. What are your positive attributes? How can you enhance them?

Even if you have chosen to make a major change in your life, you will go through a grieving process comparable to bereavement.

See Program 15: Overcoming Grief And Bereavement.

You need to take responsibility for your own actions and results. Challenge your assumptions, be aware of what is important to you and create the conditions necessary for your desired change. Build rapport with others – rapport is when you make others feel comfortable in your presence via showing them respect and sensitively matching what they do.

Enjoyment, purpose and a balanced life are the elements for your best life. When making changes make sure it is what YOU want more or less in your life. Include using your senses (e.g. how you feel and what you hear) – to help you analyze possible options for the right one for you. Identify your core values and live according to them.

What would you do if you did not fear failure? Describe how you see yourself in the future. Be aware that you are in control of navigating yourself into a happier more enjoyable future. Every day visualize, using your senses, your ideal future. This will motivate you to move toward it.  

Strong negative emotions stay in the blood stream for up to six hours. The same is true for good positive feelings. De-tox your body, countering the toxins daily by spending five minutes in the morning and five minutes in the afternoon thinking of the good things in your life.

Doing a kind act daily can restore the balance of focusing on your own needs and goals. You will get more done if you alternate between action and reflection throughout the day. Give yourself a treat every day as well as for your progression on your goals.

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       4. Taking Chances and Decision Making

Do you let opportunities pass you by because you fear the risk of your decision making backfiring? As a result there is constant tension in your life between being careful and desiring to take risks. Taking risks to make your life more enjoyable is an indicator of psychological health.

However, this does not mean taking chances is always beneficial to you. You need to consider each risk carefully before going ahead. Risk is the likelihood that an unwanted outcome will occur. You usually choose not to take a risk because you fear failure and rejection. You believe you cannot cope with the consequences.

It is necessary to see both sides of the risk – your negative predictions may occur but alternatively you may realize what you desire. You need to take risks in order to be successful. Try to face your fears, starting with the least difficult.

Deal with your distress in situations you fear by exposure – FEAR (face everything and recover).

See Program 1: Coping Strategies Counselling Advice – Controlled Breathing and Relaxation Techniques, Eye Movement Technique (EMT), Mood Induction Procedure, Rational Emotive Imagery (REI), Imago Graded Exposure and In Vivo Graded Exposure.

When starting a task you will feel unconfident but by persisting with the task you will learn from and analyze your mistakes thus, developing confidence.

See Program 1: Coping Strategies Counselling Advice – Assertiveness Training, Building Confidence I, Building Confidence II, Building Confidence III, Building Confidence IV and Program 16: Overcoming Low Self-Esteem.

When making a decision consider:

The quality of the information available.

Whether or not you want a friend to make an objective comment about the proposed decision.

Set a reasonable timescale for making the decision.

Make and carry out the decision.

Have a back-up plan if your decision backfires.

See Program 1: Coping Strategies Counselling Advice – Problem-Solving.

Indecisiveness may be caused by:

Demanding a guarantee that you will make the right decision: You cannot know the outcome of a decision until after you have made the decision.

You may want to be at ease before making the decision: It is only after making a decision that you will experience comfort. Prolonging the decision will only be increasingly uncomfortable.

You consider a wrong decision as proof of inadequacy: If you are constantly making mistakes, you need to work on your decision making skills but you cannot label yourself as stupid for making mistakes since it is by making mistakes that we learn.

The need for approval is often central to indecisiveness: Try to adopt a firm attitude against desiring the approval of others as that is not essential.  

See Program 1: Coping Strategies Counselling Advice – Coping with the Need for Approval and Improving Your Self-Image and Combating Self-Harm.

You may have low frustration tolerance (LFT) and not be able to cope with discomfort to obtain success.

If you are prone to impulsive decision making you need to apply caution and consideration to your decision-making. Avoid decision-making if you are stressed, ill, emotionally disturbed or not sufficiently stimulated.

If you have two or more options to choose between, write on a sheet of paper, the advantages/benefits of option A in the short-term and in the long-term for (a) yourself and (b) other people. Next, write on a separate sheet the disadvantages/costs of option A in the short-term and in the long-term for (a) yourself and (b) other people.

Repeat the cost-benefit analysis for option B and any other options, then have a two hour break before coming back to review the forms. Read your responses and choose the better option.

Alternatively, contemplate what your life will be like in (a) 3 months, (b) 6 months and (c) 12 months, if you choose option A. Next, consider option B and continue to the last option then choose the best option and implement it immediately. If you make a wrong decision you will at least learn from your experience and be more informed in future.

Stopping critical thinking activates creative thinking.

See Program 1: Coping Strategies Counselling Advice – Criticism and Countering Self-Criticism.

Some blocks to creative thinking are:

Worrying what other people think of you: Try to tolerate the discomfort, let go of your inhibitions and break away from conventional behaviour.

Needing to force yourself to be creative: You will have more periods of creativity than if you wait for inspiration while suffering from a lack of accomplishments.

You may think you are not creative: Take the risk of engaging in a creative activity without worrying if you are intelligent enough for the task and what others will think. In this way you will get some idea of your creative potential.

Keep in mind that you need to act as if you are the way you want to be, to become what you desire.

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                  5. The Personal Change Process

Change occurs whether you want it or not. You need to strive for beneficial change.

Step One

To understand the personal change process it is necessary to admit you have a problem and take responsibility for it. Accept yourself regardless of how others may judge you. You need to stop making excuses, blaming others and trying to rationalize.

Step Two

Specify the problem in clear terms.

Step Three

Examine vague emotional descriptions to clarify an exact troublesome emotion (e.g. anxiety, depression, guilt, shame, anger, hurt, jealousy, envy).

See Program 1: Coping Strategies Counselling Advice – Troublesome Emotions, Forgiveness, Program 6: Overcoming Anger, Program 8: Overcoming Anxiety and Program 12: Overcoming Depression.

Step Four

Clarify the aspect of the problem that worries you the most. Use the Downward Arrow Technique to uncover negative core beliefs.

See Program 1: Coping Strategies Counselling Advice – Modifying Maladaptive Thinking.

Step Five

Identify reasonable goals for change. Set yourself SMART goals.

See Program 1: Coping Strategies Counselling Advice – Managing Your Time.

Step Six

Challenge and alter core beliefs and associated behaviour. When examining core beliefs you need to consider:

Is your belief logical?

Is your belief in line with reality?

Does your belief help you to feel better without focusing on problem-solving?

See Program 1: Coping Strategies Counselling Advice – Modifying Maladaptive Thinking.

Push yourself to take constructive action despite discomfort and you will learn to tolerate it. Only by taking action will you gain a sense of control.

Develop self-acceptance by considering the ‘Big I/Little i’ diagram (Lazarus 1977). Draw the outline of a Big I and fill it with lots of little i’s. The Big I is the self and all the little i’s represent everything about you that can be rated (e.g. height, weight, age etc.)

When you focus on the Big I you are likely to be self-critical. By concentrating on the little i’s you will be in a frame of mind that is goal-orientated and problem-solving. From the diagram, by circling little i’s (aspects of you) it will become clear that these points cannot describe your complexity as a fallible human. You can apply this technique from A to Z (e.g. a large M for mother with lots of little m’s inside).

Step Seven

Strengthen new positive beliefs. It is necessary to think and act in a way that is consistent with your new belief. At first you may not feel any different but by continually practising the new way of thinking and behaving you will eventually also feel significant emotional change as this takes longer to occur and usually requires a conviction in your new outlook.

See Program 1: Coping Strategies Counselling Advice – Strengthen Conviction in Alternative Functional Beliefs.

Step Eight

Extend your gains from one situation to other relevant situations. You will need an action plan and may have to start from scratch.

Step Nine

You need to maintain your new beliefs by continually supporting them.

Step Ten

List vulnerability factors that may trigger a lapse or relapse. Be vigilant about these triggers and prepare an action plan to help you cope if you lapse or relapse. Keep in mind that the more work you do, the easier it gets.

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                  6. Conclusion

Strive for more self-acceptance so you attack yourself less. Keep in mind that self-esteem is based on other things in your life (e.g. partner, job, holidays etc.), whereas self-acceptance is not conditional.

Low frustration tolerance (LFT) will hinder long-term goals because you are unable to put up with present discomfort in order to realize long-term goals. See the problem from a high frustration tolerance outlook and persist despite the hard work. In this way you will gain long-term goals and realize that the initial struggle is bearable.

Learn to think clearly and critically – do not just accept what people say or overgeneralize. Take calculated risks (i.e. consider the short-term and long-term results of the action). This will make your life more exciting but be prepared for and learn from failures and setbacks.

Keep a balance between present and future goals. Do not let current pleasures blind you from the hard work required for future gains or concentrate so much on the future that the present is unbearable.

It is necessary you understand that uncertainty is a part of life that is unchangeable but if you work hard and take calculated risks you are more likely to attain what you desire. You need to accept that you are the one responsible for your thoughts, feelings and behaviour. It is your choices that result in the life you desire.  

Avoid being selfish or self-less – put your own interests first usually and that of others a close second.  Develop exciting interests without becoming obsessed with them and your life will be more fulfilling. Be adaptive to change and when the going gets tough, think in a problem-solving manner. Accept that you will always have imperfections and strive for realistic and attainable life goals.

When you are tolerant, you acknowledge that you and others have the right to be wrong. If you disagree with someone’s opinion or behaviour, you need to realize that these views and actions are out of your control but you can make a reasoned argument to try and alter them without putting the person down.

To consolidate what you have learned from this program you could try to teach others how they too can move forward and benefit from your new outlook. make sure you practise what you preach.

See Program 1: Coping Strategies Counselling Advice – Relapse Prevention.

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