Self-Leadership- The pathway to a happy and meaningful life

Many of us are faced with challenges in balancing our daily lives.  Can we still find happiness and meaning amidst this fast paced life that we are leading?  Here’s a great insight on Self Leadership by Master Coach Wai K.  Enjoy…


Recently, while I was reflecting on the ICF 11 coaching competencies, it suddenly dawned on me that I was actually staring at a formula for a happy life! By mastering these competencies, we not only become masterful coaches, we actually lead a happier and more fulfilled life! Here is what I discovered…

Ethical Practices

Competency 1: Ethical Practices and Standards – This competency is about mastering and practicing universal life principles that are aligned and true to our own moral values. By observing good ethical practices, our moral compass will guide us to live a life of integrity where our actions and decisions are aligned. We become congruent and feel at peace.

Competency 2: Establishing the Coaching Agreement – This competency is about establishing clarity on what we want in our life. When our life purpose and goals are clear, everything that we do daily give us meaning. When our life boundaries are clear, we act more purposefully and with certainty and focus. When our head and our heart agree, they collaborate.

Heart hand in hand Head
Building Trust

Competency 3: Building Trust and Intimacy – When we begin to trust ourself and become intimate with our thoughts and feelings, we develop the courage to explore new frontiers that reveals our potential. We learn to take risk because we trust our capabilities and resourcefulness to handle uncertainties. When we trust ourselves, we become more courageous to confront our fears.

Coaching Presence

Competency 4: Coaching Presence – When we are mindful and present to our thoughts, feelings and actions, we live life in the moment. We learn to let go of the past and accept whatever uncertainties that comes with the future. We enjoy every step of our journey, relishing the moment and experiencing the life. When we are mindful, we are reminded that we cannot change the past and can only learn from it. We become aware that we cannot control the future, yet, we can welcome it with wonder and curiosity. We also become grateful for what we have and let go of the anguish and regrets of the past and the fear and anxieties of the future. Hence, we become happier.

Competency 5: Active Listening – When we tune-in and listen to our emotions, thoughts and actions, we begin to discover and understand ourselves. We notice our likes and dislikes and learn to appreciate our gifts and talents. When we listen intently to ourselves, we begin to realise what we are passionate about. When we listen closely, we discover what we want in our life.

Active Listening
Powerful Questions

Competency 6: Powerful Questions – At times when we get derailed and distracted, we can ask ourselves empowering questions that have the capacity to put us back on track. We look for solutions rather than brood about the problems. Through reflective questions, we find our own solutions. Some useful questions such as, “What am I assuming to be true here?”, “What if it is not?”, “What do I really want?”, “How are my expectations creating my emotions?”, What shifts can I make, in the way I act, think or perceive that is more helpful?”

Positive Self Talk

Competency 7: Direct Communication – When we speak with ourselves (internal dialogue) candidly and objectively, and yet with love and compassion, we develop a positive internal conversations (self-talk) that empowers us. This competency can help us silent the gremlins in our mind that make us feel like victims of circumstances. When we learn to speak with ourselves with positivity and kindness, we feel powerful.

Creating Awareness

Competency 8: Creating Awareness – As a result of our mindfulness (presence), actively listening to our thoughts, emotions and actions, seeking insights through powerful questions and engaging on positive and empowering self-talk, we become aware of the adjustments needed in our lives. We become aware of our strengths and talents that we can leverage on.

Competency 9: Designing Actions – When we become clear of our goals and life purpose, we take positive and affirmative actions to move our life forward. We know what we need to do to lead a happy and meaningful life. We begin to let go and accept what we cannot change. Hence this mastery help us to take actions that will affect how we think, act and feel so that we can lead a more meaningful and fulfilled life.

Designing Actions
Planning Goal Setting

Competency 10: Planning and Goal Setting – Mastering this competency is about developing and planning clear actionable, measurable and time-based steps that is aligned and realistic. We look for resources that support our aspirations. We build into our habits to constantly review, change or re-adjust our plans when we meet with new challenges.

Accountability and Progress

Competency 11: Managing Progress and Accountability – The mastery of this competency is about taking responsibility and accountability on our own actions and results. It is about living a life that is devoid of blaming others; We reflect on how we are responsible, in some ways, in creating the challenges that we are facing. We ask ourselves questions such as, “In what ways am I responsible in creating this situation?” or “What am I doing or not doing enough that is creating this?” or “What do I need to start doing or stop doing to achieve what I want?”, we are taking accountability and ownership rather than blame people or situations.

Summary: Mastering these competencies is not easy but well worth the effort. It is an ongoing life journey for all of us. In fact a large part of mastering coaching skills is about mastering ourselves (self-leadership). When we master these core coaching competencies, we not only lead a happy, meaningful and fulfilled life, we also become masterful coaches to inspire others too.

What are your thoughts?

Wai K, MCC (

Board Director at International Coach Federation
150 150 BP Coach