Knowing yourself better through developing self-awareness can be the first step towards being more effective and succeeding at work. It is also a way to have better relationships and navigate challenging conversations without them escalating into conflict. Self-awareness is a trait of emotional intelligence. It is key to how we understand ourselves as well as relate to others. It’s something we can intentionally cultivate. Using the skills of a life or business coach is an ideal way to jumpstart your journey to developing self-awareness.
What is Self-Awareness?
The first psychological study can be traced back to 1972. It was conducted by psychologists Shelley Duval and Robert Wicklund. They proposed that focusing attention on ourselves lead us to evaluate and compare our behaviour with our internal standards and values. As a result, enabling us to become self-conscious as objective evaluators of ourselves.
Psychologist Daniel Goelman identifies self-awareness as one of the key areas for greater emotional intelligence. He proposes that being self-aware is “knowing one’s internal states, preferences, resources and intuitions.”
5 Aspects of Self-Awareness
- Involves being aware your traits, behaviours and feelings.
- Is the ability to monitor your internal world, your thoughts and emotions as they arise.
- Impacts how we understand ourselves.
- Affects how we process our reactions and emotional responses.
- Impacts how we relate to others and the external world around us.
Why Self-Awareness Assists us in Relationships
Ultimately, it is important to recognise that self-awareness is not only about what we notice about ourselves. It is also about how we relate to the world around us.
Within troubled relationships, a lack of self-awareness is often the root cause of things. Without being able to identify your own contribution towards upsets and escalating conflict, finding resolution and compromise is almost impossible. Thus, developing self-awareness enables us to communicate better. This is because we are less likely to say or use body language that triggers a negative reaction during difficult conversations.
Life coaches can assist us in developing frameworks to use within various settings. Having an external expert teach you the tools to use to develop self-awareness, as well as a flexible communication framework, has many advantages. Foremost, it is a great way to decrease your stress levels and anxiety linked to potentially difficult or volatile conversations. It’s also the reason that many couples seek couples counselling or use a life coach to “future proof” their relationship. Essentially this means having communication tools upfront that assist in preventing conflict, festering misunderstanding and unhappiness in the longer run.
The Importance of Self-awareness at Work
Understanding the rational and irrational nature of ourselves and others is part of being able to work and lead effectively. Thus, it’s not uncommon for someone being considered for a promotion to be turned down because they are technically sound but lack self-awareness.
Those who are more self-aware are generally more confident and open-minded. Being more confident leads to a greater willingness to be involved in projects which can also help develop one’s self. Continually building and improving your skills ultimately leads to a flourishing career. Additionally, more self-aware people tend to embrace new thoughts and ideas better than others. As they are generally more accepting of others shortcomings and hold more realistic expectations, they are usually easy to work alongside. All these factors will often contribute towards a more self-aware person succeeding quicker in their career than those who aren’t.
Therefore, companies that develop self-awareness amongst employees are likely to retain staff for longer. They are also more likely to be able to develop leaders within the company rather than hire from outside. Being able to do this saves time, money and effort. One of the ways that this has been done very successfully is through employing the services of a business coach.
Coaching Strategies for Developing Self-awareness
Becoming more self-aware within your personal life and workplace is a great skill to actively cultivate. It starts by being more mindful, which is something that you can practice using these five tips recommended by business coaches.
5 Tips for Improving Your Self-Awareness
- Take a Personality Test: Personality tests give you general insights into who you really are. They help you to better understand why you behave the way you do. Thereby, providing some guidance for changes that you can make to better yourself.
- Ask for Informal Feedback: Insights from your family and friends as well as colleagues can help you gauge how others see you.
- Journal: Writing a daily diary will help you keep track of your thoughts, feelings and experiences. This way you can identify your habitual reactions and see patterns you weren’t aware of.
- Meditate: Monitoring your thoughts and feelings is a way of understanding yourself better. Mindfulness-based meditation can help improve your awareness at a specific moment in time.
- Reflect: At the end of each day, take time to consider how the day went. Reflecting allows you to think about if and how you would do something differently. Or what was successful and good to remember in another situation.
Coaching for Life and Business
Becoming a more self-aware person helps you to become a better friend, partner, colleague as well as leader. It’s worth investing the time and energy into yourself. It can be done on an individual basis, within a family and relationship context or at work. You can choose between using a life coach or a business coach. What type of coach you choose to use is largely determined by the context.
Are you interested in learning more about coaching as well as the techniques professional coaches use? Would you like to help others develop their full potential? Then look at the coaching courses offered by SACAP. There are a number of options which could lead you to have a successful and satisfying coaching career. For more information, enquire now.
1. What is Self-Awareness?
Self-Awareness is the ability to accurately and objectively evaluate our internal states, behaviours, preferences and intuitions. It affects how we see ourselves as well as interact with others and the world around us.
2. Why Improve Self-Awareness?
Good Self-Awareness enables better verbal and non-verbal communication. This assists us to build better interpersonal relationships as well as to successfully work alongside others and be a leader.