Cognitive Behavioural Coaching in the GROW model

8 Steps of CBC in the GROW Model

Step 1: Setting the Scene for Cognitive Behavioural Coaching (“CBC”)“The way you think about events in our life profoundly influences the way you feel about them: change the way you think and this will, in turn, change the way you feel.” (Life Coaching A cognitive behavioural approach, Neenan & Dryden)   With CBC we look at the automatic thoughts you have following an event or a situation, and how those thoughts, beliefs, or mental images – not the event or situation – determines how you feel and act.  The aim is to change the pattern of thinking so that you can overcome the obstacle.  
Step 2: Problem identificationI get angry at the mere thought of having to do exercise, if I do push myself to do the exercise I am irritable, I give up very quickly and look for excuses not to exercise again. Yet I really want to have a toned body, lose weight, and feel good in my clothes. I can’t seem to get into a habit of doing exercise, stick to it and enjoying it.  
Step 3: Goal SelectionI want to find exercise enjoyable so that I will look & feel good, and if I enjoy exercise I will continue to do it.  
Reality (past and present)
Step 4: Choices and consequencesChoice 1:  don’t do any exercise  – Consequence 1: continue to be unfit
Choice 2: Push past the anger – Consequence 2: I get irritable
Choice 3: Get someone to join me in exercise – Consequence 3: Don’t want to involve others. I want to resolve the issue and self-motivate.
Choice 4: Find the right type of exercise for me – If I enjoy the exercise I will continue to do it. Pilates and/or yoga looks nice.
Step 5: Exploring and challenging faulty thinkingWhy do I feel angry when I have to do exercise? Feeling angry is the emotional response to a thought I have about exercise. This is the faulty thinking I need to explore.    
Q: On a scale of 1 to 10 how angry and annoyed do I feel when I have to exercise?
A: 8  

Q: What makes exercising so terrible that it makes me angry?
A: I get sweaty, hot, my face goes red. I feel self-conscious about how I look in the leggings and embarrassed that I’m so out of breath and red in the face.  

Q: Is it realistic to expect that when exercising I should never sweat or get out of breath?
A: No. That’s the whole point of exercising.  

Q:  Think back to the last time I tried exercising in a class. How did the other women look?
A: Everyone was focused on their own body and they got sweaty. They didn’t appear to care how they look or how the others in the class look.   

Q: So looking at these answers – that being hot and sweaty is to be expected in a gym class, and that everyone seems to be focused on themselves, is it fair to say that I have been unrealistic in my thinking about what it’s like doing exercise?
A: Yes. When you are focused and working hard, you will sweat and you won’t be looking around at others.  

Q: Would I consider that I have given the idea of going to the gym a faulty label? A label that might be generating feelings of anger?
A: I do think of going to the gym as something that young people do to show off their bodies and to impress. This is probably based on an experience I had in my 20’s. It annoyed me then that men were “hitting on me” while I was sweating, red in the face and trying to exercise. Maybe that’s where the anger and self-consciousness stems from.  

Q: So is the label that a gym is a “pick up place” correct and still relevant?
A: No, not really. I am married now so I don’t need to care what other people (men) think of me.  And in group classes (not on the gym floor) everyone is focussed on themselves.  

Q: If a feeling of anger comes up again and I push through the anger and exercise anyway, what might happen?
A: It’s just anger. If I’m prepared for it and willing to push past it, I may notice that I like exercise and feel good afterwards. As long as the type of exercise I do is not too difficult and I’m part of a class of mostly women. If I struggle to keep up in the class I may give up.      
Step 6: Decision making and action planningAction: Go to a beginner yoga class. Resource needed: Find a local yoga studio. Not a gym. Date: Once a week, starting next week.

Action: Wear loose-fitting clothes. Resource needed: Go shopping. Date: Before the first class
Improving client motivation (willpower)Take body measurements and weight once a week. As I notice changes in my body it will encourage me to continue to exercise. To motivate me further, I will treat myself to a manicure when I have been to yoga class three times in a row.  
Step 7 and 8: Implementation and EvaluationAfter each class, measure the level of anger on a scale of 1 to 10.  Also consider going to pilates classes and/or increasing the number of classes per week.  

*This blog post is based on the assignment I completed for Module 6 of my Integrated Resilience & Wellness Coaching studies.*