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The Art Of Self-Awareness For Coaches – A 5-Part Series: 2 ‒ Am I Open To Admitting Where I Am?

Written by: Dr. Jackie Lau, Senior Level Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.


Life coaching — is it about people’s need to be coached, or a coach’s need to be coaching? In the first article of this 5-part series “Is my story of becoming a coach current?”, we confronted our tendency to adhere to one single story, based on a conceptualized version of self we identified with at a particular point.

In this second article, we continue the journey to discover the nature of conditioning and choices.

"Why and how did you become a coach?" – a hallmark question that many coaches would answer with a habitual narration of an "at effect" story, often times one of resilience and recovery from the ordeals of life. E.g., I was mistreated by (life events/people), therefore I decided to help others who are/were mistreated to overcome those (life events/people).

This certainly serves to inspire others to see the universal nature of what we perceive as life problems, to offer relatedness and sharing when one feels alone and could benefit from the power of togetherness.

However, from this vantage point that I boldly over-generalized, would we actually be potentially encouraging the victim "me against the world" mentality?

How aware are we that we are unaware?

As reflected by the position from which our stories are formed and told, are we setting up a transformational journey for another, which is really just an extension of own unsolved piece?

The question is – where are we really? Not in a linear sense of the word “where” measured by chronological or psychological reach, but our readiness to see our own conditioning while we’re so accustomed to identifying others’.

The way we perceive and respond to life situations is based on our past conditioning; our responses further shape our self-image, which determines the possibilities we see and the way we approach phenomena. To wit, we are all, to an extent, compelled to think, feel and act based on our past experiences as interpreted by the egoic mind, from which our conceptualized self is derived.

It is curious then if most of our knowledge are buried in the unconscious, how aware are we that we are unaware?

Are we branding through victimhood or an adaptive defense mechanism?

In the context of coaching, our tendency to identify with our journey of becoming a coach can contribute substantially to our self-concept, which forms an unconscious filter through which we perceive everything.

It is therefore pivotal to question whether we are branding through victimhood, or unconsciously engaging in the virtuous victim effect, which is our tendency to view victims in any form as possessing more elevated moral characters than non-victims who behave in an identical manner.

In a hyper-sensitive culture, our inclination toward victimhood may be rooted in our unconscious tendency to allocate more resources to benefit the victims, where the beneficiaries and benefactors are mutually motivated by the collective ego of a strong moral identity, ultimately derived from a sense of separation.

Paradoxically, as far as pop psychological jargon is concerned, victim mentality would be considered a “limiting belief”, precisely the kind of attitude that coaching branding often promises to “destroy”.

What if it is actually limiting to think that you have to get rid of your limiting beliefs?

What if there is no good or bad, and every response and energy we engage in, whether mental, emotional or physical, serves a purpose for us to respond to our perceived environment?

That way, there is nothing to get rid of, nothing to exclude, reject, disown, suppress or replace in our existence, nothing to repress or shove into the unconscious.

Rather than reconstructing and reinforcing the ego through gathering the seemingly more approved personality traits according to specific social functions, and re-conditioning the persona through the illusory identification with more momentary and fleeting characters, let’s explore the possibility of transcending into acceptance and inclusion, allowing the true nature of perception and experience.

Transcending into acceptance and inclusion

To dive deeper into our relationship with coaching, we can invite the understanding of Self into our awareness, by bringing the emotional imprints that we operate through in our unconscious mind into the conscious mind.

Let’s start by asking the question ─ to what extent, no matter how little, are we using altruism as a defense mechanism to protect ourselves from experiencing perceived uncomfortable feelings and threats to our self-concept?

In other words, to what extent, no matter how minute, are we tricking ourselves into believing we’re growing by coaching other people on personal growth? And compelled to generate ego-based surface achievements and self-images for ourselves and others that are still rooted in victimhood and the search for validation and approval?

To approach this in a non-dual, open and creative way, we can tune into the part of us that feels resistance, and the part that feels constant, then the part that feels free.

Do we welcome the constant deconstruction of the old self-concept and the associated stories that we identify with?

We are continually magnetizing circumstances and situations for us to learn about ourselves, for comparing and contrasting, to observe and witness our choices of interpretation. How would we experience our inspired creation instinctually?

How would we truly take responsibility for the circumstances that we call into our awareness, and allow ourselves to tune into an "at cause" place of a freer presence?

Stay tuned for Part 3 of this 5-part series…

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Dr. Jackie Lau, Senior Level Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Dr. Jackie Lau is a neuroscientist and an experienced international life coach who is fascinated with human behaviors and the mechanisms underlying our mental and emotional states. With a deep appreciation for the integrative approach of modern psychology, neuroscience, and spirituality, Jackie is a top life coach in Australia and has co-created with people all over the world to radically transform into more self-awareness, sense of purpose, and inner freedom.

Jackie is trained as a strategic interventionist and breakthrough specialist with Robbins-Madanes Training, directed by Tony Robbins, which combines effective techniques evolved from neurolinguistic, psychological, and therapeutic inter-disciplines. As a curious researcher, Jackie completed her Ph.D. in neuroscience at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research, Sydney, Australia, studying the neural circuits governing motivation and reward. She is currently researching neurodegenerative diseases, with a focus on Alzheimer’s disease, investigating the molecular basis relating neuroplasticity to cognition.

Leveraging her diverse cultural background, Jackie is profoundly devoted to studying Eastern and Western philosophy and literature, learning transformative wisdom from influential life strategists and spiritual teachers. In the fervency of her gratitude, for over a decade, she earnestly empowers people from all walks of life to live our authentic virtuous Self and commit to becoming love. Through ingenious modalities including mindset transformation and meditation, Jackie is inspired to cultivate our connection to a deeper world, one that nourishes our spiritual heart rather than feeds our time-bound predicament of patterns, one that channels our fear of pain into lasting pull to joy, appreciation, and peaceful presence.

Jackie loves the art of music and dance. She trained as a classical violinist from a young age, later on, discovered her passion for classical guitar, and has also been a dedicated hip-hop dancer and instructor since her college years. Her creative journey has never ceased to open doors for the extraordinary in the ordinariness of life.

Jackie’s vision is to co-create with the human family as part of nature, to tune in consciously and align with our thoughts, emotions, and actions, and to live passionately and playfully with full presence.



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