top of page

Five Ways to Self Coach

HELLO fellow pharmacists and welcome to the third article in the 5W2 series.

The 5W2 series is a selection of short articles on strategies and techniques to support our emotional development within our professional roles. Each article includes tried and tested practical self-development tools. Previous articles have focused on “Managing Stress” and “Using Mindfulness”

This third article is Five Ways to Self Coach, and will look at the benefits of using the following five questions:

  1. What do I want to achieve?

  2. Why do I want it?

  3. What action do I need to take?

  4. How do I want to be?

  5. What do I want to think?

Before I get into the detail of the Five WaysI thought it might be useful to start with a bit of an explanation:

Self Coaching is:

  1. Future orientated.

  2. A way of increasing your awareness of where you are now and more importantly where you want to be.

  3. A strategy for silencing your inner critic(s) and creating a more positive outlook.

  4. Helpful in identifying the barriers that are holding you back from achieving your outcomes.

  5. A way of developing solutions for yourself.

Personally, Self Coaching helps me:

  • Plan for successful outcomes.

  • Reduce procrastination.

  • Maintain a positive and pragmatic approach.

  • Dump my inner critic and “date” my inner coach!

The 5 questions I have shared are probably the simplest of the Self Coaching questions and are easy to remember.

  1. What do I want to achieve?

This is the BIG DADDY of the self coaching questions and really gets to the heart of everything, whether it’s planning your day, a phone call, an interaction with a patient, a meeting with a member of your team or life in general.

The only trick to remember is to ensure your answer has a positive and not a negative intention.

If I asked you to NOT think of a pink elephant (outcome with a negative intention) you would probably find yourself thinking of a pink elephant as the brain doesn't really recognise the word NOT and has you imagining a pink elephant before you realise. Alternatively, if I said “think of a purple giraffe” (outcome with positive intention) then your brain will find that much easier to focus on.

Example Question 1: What do I want to achieve in the pharmacy tomorrow?

Answer: Idon't want to be stressed and notgiving patients quality time (Negative Intention)


Answer: I want to be in control and give patients my full attention (Positive Intention)

Taking time to ensure your answer is an outcome with a positive intention is beneficial in the long run as you are nearer to achieving what you want as the brain will start thinking about a time when you have been in control and giving patients your full attention. It’s easier to achieve if you are focusing on what you want NOT on what you don't want!

2. Why do I want to achieve it?

This is the most forgotten question as we often we jump straight to action and miss the opportunity to explore our WHY’s. Our why’s are the key to our motivation and the more we have, the greater our motivation to take action and achieve the result we want. Some example WHY’s:

· I will enjoy my day more

· I will be giving my patients the best care

· I will be more enjoyable to be around

· I will feel I am making a difference

· I will be proud of what I have achieved

3. What action do I need to take?

Ok this is the easiest self coaching question to answer. Whatever the answers are make sure you get them out of your head and down on paper, post it, notice board, phone or computer. Here are 5 tips to help achieve what you want:

· Compile a ‘have to do’ list (no more than 3 Actions)

· Compile a ‘hope to do’ list (as many actions as you like but only go to this list if all ‘have to do’ actions are complete)

· Always give each team member some specific positive feedback. They feel good and you feel good!

· Always laugh at yourself and admit to the team if you are “losing control”

· Take one slow deep breath before you speak to a patient and think how you want that patient to feel after their time with you.

4. How do I want to be?

This question is all about your State of Mindand most people don't ask themselves what they want their state to be as they think it is only controlled by external factors. In NLP there is a principle of belief that our behaviours are a product of the state we are in and that our state of mind is a choice.

“Certain people think they will feel good if certain things happen. The trick is you have to feel good for no reason” Richard Bandler co founder of NLP

States of Mind can be divided into 2 types - Resourceful or non Resourceful

Resourceful States: positive, happy, confident, enthusiastic, calm, relaxed.

Non Resourceful States: negative, grumpy, stressed, anxious, pessimistic, judgemental.

To achieve your goal, first decide what Resourceful State you want to be in (eg relaxed & in control) then think of a time in your life recently when you were relaxed and in control. Think about where you were, who you were with, what you were doing and how you felt both physically and emotionally. Finally, channel that resourceful version of yourself ready for your day in the pharmacy.

(Look out for more on managing your state in future articles)

5. What thoughts do I want to have?

This is the icing on the cake and increases your chances of achieving your answer to question 1. In NLP there is an assumption that we have control of our thoughts and we can choose our thoughts and beliefs about a situation to ensure we are in the most resourceful state. Choose empowering thoughts like the examples below rather than allowing any limiting beliefs & negative thinking to get in the way.

· My employer is lucky to have me

· I can easily remain in control today

· I am a great pharmacist and make a difference

· No matter how busy I get today I will smile at everyone face to face or on the phone.

So, 5 simple questions that you can run through in your mind on your way to work to help you have the best day and allow you to be your best self.

That’s it for Five Ways to Self Coach. Thank you for taking the time to read this article. The next article in the 5W2 series is Five Ways to Maintain Energy Levelsand will be with you soon, but in the meantime, if anyone wants to find out more about anything in this article or has any comments please get in touch via the details below.


Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page