How can coaching change the trajectory of your life?

It’s totally normal to wonder how a coach might be able to help you. Whether you’ve worked with a coach before or not. In this article, we'll be exploring a fictional character, John, to understand five of the common patterns that our brains use that have a detrimental impact on our potential, prosperity and all-around success.


Meet John - a 32-year-old professional, who experienced a cascading series of cognitive distortions leading up to a job interview for a coveted position in a tech company. This case study illustrates how these distortions can compound and significantly impact someone's life.

All-or-nothing thinking

A part of John believed that his entire career hinged on this one interview. He thought, "If I don't nail this, my professional life is over." This kind of all-or-nothing thinking paralysed him, making him too anxious to prepare properly for the interview.

If John had had a coach, then they might have explored how he felt about the interview and asked questions that would help him to realise how his brain was responding to the pressure of the interview. A coach would help him find new ways of thinking about the situation.


John had one bad interview experience a year ago, which resulted in not getting a job he desired. He generalised this experience to assume he was not cut out for job interviews and that it would be extremely difficult and stressful to get a job. When a friend suggested he apply for a job that might suit his skill-set he refused it thinking he would fail anyway and that there’d be 'too much competition' and his friend was only 'being nice' and taking pity on him.

Again, a coach would have noticed that there may be more angles to this situation and would have helped him to reflect on the relevance of competition and encourage him to consider evidence that would imply he was qualified for the role.

Mental filtering

John then fixated on the fact that he stumbled over his words during a practice interview session with a friend. This became his dominant focus, overshadowing the constructive feedback his friend provided, causing self-doubt and anxiety. This left him telling himself that he didn’t perform well in interviews.

A coach might have asked John about a time he was successful in an interview and might have used this to contextualise John’s recent practice interview. I might have explored his relationship with learning and widened his perspective on what it means to fail.

Disqualifying the positive

John had an impressive resume, relevant skills, and an excellent referral from a former colleague. However, he dismissed these strengths as insignificant, saying, "Anyone could have those." Due to this, he went into his job interview feeling like he was barely qualified for the job.

A coach might have asked him to explain how he achieved the things he did, ask him how long it took to master these skills and encourage him to explore previous challenges that he would have had to overcome in order to master his work.

Jumping to conclusions

John convinced himself that he would fail the interview. He believed that the interviewers would see through his nerves and believed that they would see being nervous as a negative thing. This led him to cancel an interview coaching session, convinced it would be a waste of time.

Over time, John became less and less confident and he ended up staying in the same job and felt stuck. He didn't know where to go or what to do and eventually reached out to a coach to help.

This case study demonstrates how a combination of cognitive distortions can lead to self-sabotage, missed opportunities, and a diminished quality of life. Very often we’re not aware our brain is doing this. You might see a little of yourself in this scenario.

If so, and you want a bit of help, do get in touch. Coaching provides a space to step back and reflect on these patterns, to see the impact they’re having and to come up with new strategies for approaching situations.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Life Coach Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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London SW1V & NW1
Written by Rebecca Cockayne, BA. (Oxon), MSc, GDL | Delphi Coaching
London SW1V & NW1

Bex is a coach who loves journeys. She's done a lot and has been on many internal and external ones. She loves to help people long their path too.

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