A Cognitive Behavioural Approach to Coaching

The Cognitive Behavioural Model (CBM) has a lot to offer coaching.

It provides a useful framework and model which helps explain the relationship between attitudes, thoughts and beliefs, with feelings and action, represented in the diagram below.

This Cognitive Behavioural Model is based on the premise that how we think (cognition), affects how we feel (emotion) which influences how we act (behaviour).

A coaching context

When a Cognitive Behavioural Model is applied in a coaching context this can be highly effective in driving behavioural change. This model provides a clear structured framework which increases awareness around the unhelpful negative thought patterns that can interfere with development including self-limiting beliefs and it seeks to replace these with more constructive ones. This can be achieved by following 5 steps which build on each other as follows:

Step one

Self-reflection – explores current thinking, attitudes and beliefs

Step two

Self-awareness  captures insights into how thought patterns are helping and hindering goal attainment

Step three

Self-regulation  seeks to remove and eliminate negative thoughts, self-limiting beliefs and unhelpful patterns and replace these with more constructive, helpful ones

Step four

Adapt – practice new choices, disrupt old patterns, replace with different behaviours and thinking

Step five

Change – driving new thoughts, beliefs and behaviours based on objective, facts and evidence, reinforcing new ways of behaving

Coaching is a great development intervention that is highly suited to using a cognitive behavioural approach. 

Arguably, the Cognitive Behavioural Model is one of the most effective ways to secure real change, rather than surface level change. Real change is change which is sustainable over time, which embeds new constructive patterns and ways of working built on a solid foundation for success. When we lack awareness and insight into how ‘cognition’ impacts ‘feeling’ we are less able to influence ‘action’ in a conscious and intentional way. 

The Cognitive Behavioural Model is an evidence-based approach, which seeks to ground thinking into fact and evidence which helps remove emotional responses which can distort reality. This process is very effective in eliminating unhelpful thinking patterns. This does not mean to say that emotion does not have its place within coaching, far from it, however, when emotion distorts thinking, we have maladaptive patterns which interfere. In these circumstances, a Cognitive Behavioural Model has a lot to offer.

Interested in learning how you can add this learning to your Coaching skills?

Professional Coach ICF ACTP | Life Coaching Academy


Cognitive Behavioural Coaching | Life Coaching Academy

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