Inner Critic vs Inner Coach

Your “Inner Coach” refers to the positive self-talk that you have with yourself, more likely to come out when you are succeeding. Your “Inner Critic” is the negative self-talk that is more likely to come out if you’ve made a mistake or working on something that you feel is difficult.

At times my inner critic has been quite strong and held me back from new experiences but my inner coach has definitely helped me through difficult times. For many years my inner critic ruled my mind, critical of of my own appearance and very concerned with what others thought about me. It really wasn’t until falling pregnant that I decided this had to change and I work hard at this every day. By simply being aware of this concept and reframing my thinking towards my self my whole outlook on life has changed. My inner coach is loud and proud. I truly am no longer concerned with what other people think of me and I am just living the best life for myself and my family. Listening to the right voice, allowing this voice to guide my decisions has been liberating and I have had so many new and exciting opportunities come my way. I have made strong connections with new people, let go of old ones that were not serving me well, I am better parent, wife and friend but most importantly I am kind to myself. This is something I never really experienced before and it feels amazing. I want you to feel this way to!

We all have an inner coach and inner critic, and depending on the situation or the individual our inner critics can become quite loud and debilitating. Self-belief is such an important quality to have, as without the ability to believe in your own worth and actions you may struggle to reach your full potential and succeed. Having an understanding of this self-talk, and being able to identify our inner critic can help us change our thinking and increase our self-belief.

Often at school and in my own life I have found that a conversation on our Inner Critic Inner Coach helps students, and adults alike, to understand how we should be kind to ourselves as well. We can be our biggest supporters and can coach ourselves into trying new tasks and succeeding. We are more likely to take chances, learn new information and try new activities if we have a strong inner coach so it is important that we foster self belief in our children from a young age so it does not hinder them in the future.

How to use Inner Critic Inner Coach with your children:

When you come across a situation where you or your children feel like they want to give up, or are displaying a negative attitude or self-talk towards themselves then you could use the following dialogue with them.  

Who is your best friend?

Would you speak to your best friend that way?

What would you say to your best friend who is was struggling with this task?

So what should your Inner Coach say to you?

This dialogue can really help to show that if we would not speak to our best friends in a certain way then we should not speak to ourselves this way.

The activities that have been done with the students on Inner Critic Inner Coach varies from year level to year level at my school, but we have explored activities such as:

  • Watching videos of cartoon characters and discussing what their inner critic or coach would have been saying at various times (helps to analyse a character before analysing ourselves especially for the younger students).

  • Naming and drawing our inner critics and coaches (helps to visualise them having a conversation)

  • Naming the situations or triggers where our inner critic is the loudest (this changes based on the individual, many students describing areas such as; maths, sport, body image etc.)

  • Writing down inner critic thoughts and replacing them with inner coach thoughts to reframe our thinking (see poster below - I highly recommend you print this and put it in your house for you and your children to use).

Hopefully this information can help you with your own well-being and your children’s well being as well!

The best thing you’ll ever do is believe in yourself - and your children,

Emilly x

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