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How to Coach Yourself Using The Scaling Question

Updated: Mar 21

There are many ways to coach yourself after you become more seasoned in practice, but here is one easy way to walk yourself through the process of getting yourself to take the next step. I do this often with clients, but you can do this on your own. It’s a technique involving “Scaling Questions”.

Find Your Need

Start by considering what you want to develop or grow in your life right now. Here are a few examples of what I hear from clients:

- Develop confidence

- Have better boundaries

- Create more structure or stick to a routine

- Improve Time Management

- Move forward on goals

- Strengthen relationships

- Take action on something important

Define Your Need

For this example, we will define our need as “I want to create more structure in my life.” Take a moment to consider what structure means to you. Having structure looks different for everyone. What does it look like for YOU?

Identify Where You Currently Exist On The Scale (1-10)

According to your personal definition of what it is you want to develop, in this case, structure, where do you currently stand?

On a scale of 1-10 (1-low, 10- high), how would you rate yourself on what “structure” looks like in your life right now? Give yourself a number that feels true for your life at this moment and then consider what that means to you. To help yourself understand what your current state looks like, ask yourself the following questions and substitute “X” with the number you chose.

  • What does my mental and emotional energy feel like when structure is at an “X”?

  • What emotions do I experience when structure is at an “X”?

  • What am I doing with my time when structure is at an “X”?

  • What does my internal dialog sound like when structure is at an “X”?

  • What would happen if structure stayed at an “X” forever?

This step can be slightly painful since you are choosing to be honest with yourself. The key here is to remember to have self-love and compassion if negativity arises. This can help combat any possible negative self-talk that might occur.

Identify Where You Would Like To Be On the Scale (1-10)

The goal of this exercise is not to have you perform at a 10 or to aim for perfection. The goal is to help you understand what would help you to move forward in a positive direction, even if it’s a small amount. Unless you gave yourself an 8 or a 9, it might not be realistic to aim for a 10 right now. If you rated yourself as a 3, what would structure look like at a 4 or 5? If you gave yourself a 6, what would structure look like at a 7 or 8?

Consider what number you’d like to aim for on the scale and ask yourself the following questions substituting “X” with the number you would like to aim for:

  • What would be different if structure was at an “X”?

  • What would I be doing with my time if structure was at an “X”?

  • What would my internal dialogue sound like if structure improved to an “X”?

  • What would my mental and emotional state be like if structure were at an “X”?

Make a mental list of all the things you would need to do to bring this rating up. Would you need to go to bed earlier? Do you need to talk to someone about how you’re struggling, and ask for help? Maybe you need to say “no” to things more often, and eat healthier. Would it help you to write out daily goals for yourself? How would your life be different if your rating went from a 4 to a 5 or 6?

Use The Secret Ingredient To Level Up

Have you ever heard of the phrase, “easier said than done”?

It’s true that actions are easier said than done. It can sometimes be obvious to state the things you would need to do in order to improve your situation. So why is it so hard for us to simply do the things we would need to do to improve our lives? Often, it’s because we’re missing the secret ingredient.

Go back to your mental list of things you would need to do to bring your rating up. Now consider who or what you would need to be in order to do this. This is the secret ingredient.

Would you need to be more disciplined or patient with yourself? Do you need to be someone who follows through? Do you need to be more kind to yourself? Do you need to be a more accountable, intentional, or a more responsible person? What is it within yourself that you need to connect with in order to perform the way you want to be performing? It’s something I’m willing to bet you already have, but has been dormant and needs to be brought to life. Consider what might be your secret ingredient. Pick one to focus on for now.


A common mistake here is to put all of your focus on the things you would need to do to improve. Your job now is to focus on your secret ingredient. What would it look like this week to be more (insert secret ingredient here)? If you can focus more on who or what you need to be, the doing will naturally come.

One way to help yourself focus on your secret ingredient is to make a T-Chart, using a pen and paper, to navigate the next steps.

In this example, we’ve been talking about creating more structure in life. Let’s continue with this example by saying in order to do that, you’d need to be more disciplined (secret ingredient).

Below is a diagram of a T-Chart that illustrates things you would need to say “yes” or “no”, to connect more with your secret ingredient.

By now, you’ve identified what it is you’re hoping to develop, grow, or create in your life. You’ve taken the time to define what that means to you and what it really is that you want for yourself. You’ve used the 1-10 scale to help identify how you’re currently showing up, and how you’d prefer to be showing up. You’ve found your secret ingredient to get there. And you’ve learned that by breaking it down, you can live more intentionally to achieve your goals.

To learn more ways to coach yourself, or to further develop the tools needed to take the next steps, schedule a free consultation with me today.

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