Trans4mind Home Page
~ A Journey of Self-Discovery ~

Transforming Self Judgment: Coaching Clients Who Have a Wicked Inner Critic

By Martha Lasley, Virginia Kellogg,
Richard Michaels & Sharon Brown

Coaching for Transformation
Share on Facebook

As a coach, I work with plenty of people who have a wicked inner critic. Even people with bold self confidence wrangle with their worst critic—themselves. My co-facilitator Richard Michaels has a client who used to say, “If my assistant talked to me the way I talk to myself, I’d fire her.” With some coaching from a fierce champion, he learned to hold himself more gently.

Instead of judging ourselves for judging ourselves, we can learn to make friends with our inner experience and transform judgments into awareness of our deepest needs. When we judge ourselves, we are expressing an unmet need. Like all actions, the judgment itself is an attempt to meet needs and we can help clients release that source of energy. The core work of transforming judgment is to help people recognize and connect with their needs.

When we support full connection to their desires, we help people move toward self acceptance, understanding and awareness. Through deep awareness of their values, they come into alignment. Only after that, do we support them in creating strategies to meet their needs.

Some common self judgments and the underlying needs follow.


Underlying Need

I’m not loveable.


I have nothing to offer.

To contribute

I am unworthy.

To matter

I am not enough.


I don’t deserve it.


Adapted from the work of Marshall Rosenberg,[1].

The steps for transforming self judgment are:

  1. Identify the Judgment: Your judgment could be a story you tell yourself, a label, something you think, or anything that you believe is absolutely true about yourself. What judgment do you have of yourself?
  2. Clarify the Observation: Ask for the observation or the exact words. What happened? What did you actually do or say that led to this judgment?
  3. Identify the Needs:

a) Needs You Were Trying to Meet by the Action: Help your clients identify they were trying to meet needs when they did whatever they did. Since everything they do is an attempt to meet a need, point them toward the need they were trying to meet. Make sure they identify a need and not a strategy, which is a way to meet needs. What needs were you trying to meet by doing what you did or saying what you said? Savor those needs and notice how you feel.

b) Needs You Were Trying to Meet by Judging Yourself: Since the self judgment itself is also an attempt to meet a need, support them in understanding their positive intent in judging themselves. What needs of yours were you trying to meet by judging yourself? Savor those needs and notice how you feel.

c) Needs You are Trying to Meet by Holding on to the Judgment: If the self judgment is still alive, find out what needs they are trying to meet by holding on to the judgment. What needs are you trying to meet by continuing to hold that judgment? Savor those needs and notice how you feel.

  1. Action: Give your clients complete choice in honoring all the needs at stake. Now that you are steeped in awareness of your needs, what actions can you take that would meet multiple needs at once?

The best part of this process is taking time to savor the experience. If we slow down, we can really enjoy the positive intent of the inner critic. 

[1] Rosenberg, Marshall B. (2003). Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life. Encinitas, CA: PuddleDancer.

Excerpt from the book Coaching for Transformation: Pathways to Ignite Personal & Social Change by Martha Lasley, Virginia Kellogg, Richard Michaels and Sharon Brown. As faculty at Leadership that Works, they certify coaches who offer personal, organization and community transformation. Check out the free Power of Coaching teleclass.

Coaching is life-changing, world-changing work. The coaching programs at Leadership that Works go beyond theories and models and work with clients on a deeper level. You learn how to coach the whole person: physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. Whole person Transformation.

Leadership that Works

Transforming the world.
One heart at a time.

More articles from Coaching for Transformation

Out of the box
PODCAST: Peter Shepherd about Transitions in Life
Learn more   Download MP3   Trans4mind Podcasts
More personal development articles at the Counterpoint Article Library

Good info on many topics:

Want to renew your life?

Our online, interactive video workshops present the most effective methods of holistic personal development...
Start off with a Free Life Assessment and a Free Consultation...

Have a question about Trans4mind Training?

Frequently Asked Questions
What Are Our Fees?
Email Peter Shepherd

Support your personal development with these popular and effective hypnosis downloads...

This is our selection of favorites, but there's a session for every need! Choose from over 800 Hypnosis Downloads...
Search now on an issue that interests or concerns you...

View all the Hypnosis Downloads here

Get a free Hypnosis Download at Facebook

Hypnosis is the key to unlocking your creativity, focusing your energy and understanding yourself

Hypnosis has a long history of helping human beings be the very best they can be. It can be used to control anything controlled by the unconscious mind - pain, blood pressure, fear, confidence levels, mood, sex drive... the list goes on:

  1. You'll become highly productive without getting stressed
  2. Tap into your creative energies instantly
  3. Really understand yourself and others
  4. You'll learn how to stay calm in high pressure or uncomfortable situations
  5. Develop laser-like levels of focus and concentration

Lean more... Uncommon Hypnosis Course

Welcome to the New Wave in Meditation Technology

Click here to learn more about the iAwake Profound Meditation Program
The iAwake Profound Meditation Program
is a way of enhancing your meditation practice, making meditation not only easier and more enjoyable, but also more efficient and effective.
Profound Meditation provides the smoothest, deepest, richest, most profound meditation experience available anywhere...
Here is a link to a free 20-minute track from iAwake Technologies - a sample of the type of tools that will deepen your meditation immediately and help you quickly become a successful meditator. It's the opening track of iAwake's flagship product, the Profound Meditation Program, called the iAwake Experience...
Learn More and Download the iAwake Experience
We think you'll find this technology a tremendous aid on your transformative journey of becoming your best and most creative self - and you can get started today!
And here's a fantastic resource for self-education...

The World of Inspiration eLibrary

World of Inspiration
A treasure trove of personal development wisdom

Step inside. Just like a real library, there are thousands of quality eBooks presented on three "floors" and in different "rooms." To purchase your $15 Lifetime Membership to the World of Inspiration eLibrary, click the following button:

Payment is made through our secure transaction agent, PayPal.
The transaction is in the language and currency of your choice.
"I want to just say 'WOW!' This collection is probably the best money I ever spent! I've already received many times over in personal enrichment after just 9 days. I've had a past metaphysical background, but even newcomers to this material will really benefit. Thanks again." ~ J.S. (Pennsylvania, USA)
"The collection is everything which you promised. And more! A superb contribution to the good of the world. Many thanks indeed." ~ R.P. (Georgia, USA)
"Just a short note of thanks for the library. I've only had membership for several days now but I already feel this is perhaps the most interesting compilation I have yet seen. Worth far more than the price of admission. The browser linked structure works well and makes it easy to manage such a large storehouse of information. It is rarely that I find something I like as much as this or that I feel strongly enough to write a note like this." ~ P.W. (Minnesota, USA)
Copyright © 1997-2017 Trans4mind Ltd