What is an internal dialogue (or inner dialogue)?
As everyone, you may have already caught yourself having an inner dialogue.
A quick definition: It’s our character or ego speaking with itself.
This self dialogue is especially intense during and after an emotional exciting experience and when a close friend is missing, with whom you want to share your recent experience.
Very few people are conscious about this inner dialogue and the fact that this process almost never stops within all of us. It’s ongoing. But it’s not the start of becoming insane, it is absolutely normal and it’s the very important process of assimilating our impressions and experiences.
We have this internal dialogue in almost every day to day situation:
- While we are working (“What’s next on my agenda?“)
- Analyzing something (“Am I doing this right?“)
- Commenting what we are watching on TV (“Her voice awful“)
- And even when we are talking to other people (“He’s wearing that red shirt again!?“)
We are permanently judging other people, commenting impressions, planning our future and talking
to other people in our internal thoughts (to those we know and even to those we don’t know)
This inner dialogue does not only determine our thinking, but also the related and produced emotions, as well as the way we perceive our environment. It has an effect similar to affirmations on our mindset and our mood.
Inner dialogue: How to use its power for your coaching programs
But what has the internal dialogue to do with coaching? And how can you take advantage of this knowledge for your coaching practice?
If you could support your clients to get a more and more conscious access to their inner dialogue, you do not only support their awareness for their own thinking and acting (mindset), but you also get very direct and authentic information about your clients. Information and thought patterns which are important and helpful to plan the next steps during this individual process of change and growth.
That information will tell you more about the effectiveness of your coaching and at which point of the process your client is right now. You’ll gain invaluable information that would be missed during the regular coaching sessions.
How can you easily integrate the self dialogue in your coaching?
First of all, your client should start to concentrate for five to ten minutes every day on her inner dialogue and write down her observations. The best time for that is after waking up in the morning or before going to bed.
This time of the day is so effective because in the interim between wake-awareness and sleep-awareness it is very easy to get access to the content of this dialogue. And usually, we’re not distracted by other tasks during these timeframes.
Your client should set a reminder for a certain time each day where she has a few minutes spare time and write about a recent inner dialogue that was (or maybe still is) going on.
Invite your clients to watch their breathing for 2-3 minutes and to calm down immediately after waking up or before going to sleep . Then they should observe their inner dialogue and write down whatever comes to their mind. What’s keeping my mind busy? What bothers me? How do I feel right now? What do I have to do today and which feelings come up while thinking about it?
These are possible questions to get your client in the writing mood.
Is the inner dialogue positive or negative? Does your client think about things from the past or is he/she more oriented towards the future? Which wishes and feelings come up?
Why is it so useful to write down your internal discourse, thoughts and dialogue?
Writing down these thoughts is so important because it prevents your clients from getting lost in thinking loops and it helps them to gain more clarity on the content of their dialogue.
Writing down reduces the speed (we’re writing slower than we think), the client gets a more distant perspective (as an observer), minimizes the risk to digress from the topic and has the chance to recap her notes later, which could offer even more or different information (point of view or different mood).
A recommended way to do this is keeping a shared journal (e.g within CleverMemo) about the inner dialogue, which trains the clients’ awareness in their day to day life and having access to the train of thought.
After getting into a routine it becomes easier to focus on this dialogue in certain aspects of life (especially the topic of their coaching). It also becomes possible to give this internal dialogue a new direction or even a new content.
The recording of those dialogues over a longer period also results in the documentation of the client’s process of development and change. The client will become more and more aware and actively and consciously designing her inner dialogue, her mood in the day to day life and as a result of that impact a new direction of her life.
Let your clients share these records with you as their coach and gain authentic insights about the topics and thought-patterns that play a major role in your clients’ mind. That gives you the chance to plan your sessions much more individual and helps you to quickly adapt your coaching to the clients’ needs for the next steps.
Let your clients keep track of their inner dialogues and thoughts in the shared stream within CleverMemo. Over the time you’ll both have a running record of all the entries that you can both access and recap at any time. You’ll get real-time feedback and boost the effectiveness and results of your coaching programs. Click here to start your free trial now