Book Notes: The Coach’s Casebook

The Coach’s Casebook: Mastering the Twelve Traits That Trap Us by Geoff Watts and Kim Morgan
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The book presents 12 different traits which they find are common along with 38 different techniques of which different techniques might work well for different people with the different traits. The book also provides some hints to become a better coach. I’m just going to summarise the traits here along with key questions and useful models presented in the book.

Impostor Syndrome

Common characteristics:

  • Having an inability to internalise your accomplishments
  • Feeling that other people have an over-inflated view of you
  • Attributing any success you have to luck or just being in the right place at the right time
  • Being fearful of being “found out”
  • Feeling like a fraud
  • Believing that the very fact that you got the job/do the work means that it can’t be that difficult. Your ability to do something negates the value of it
  • Looking more at what you can’t do, rather than valuing what you can do

How would you describe yourself if you were being as kind and generous to yourself as you are to your friends?

You are never as good or as bad as you think you are

People Pleasing

People-pleasing is associated with a passive behaviour style, the opposite being aggressive. The middle is an assertive style.

Put other people’s feelings and needs above their own
Get pushed around or taken advantage of
Are indecisive
Have a knee-jerk “yes” response to requests
Apologise excessively
Feel guilty for other people’s feelings
Put their needs and feelings before others’
Use emotional blackmail such as sulking, silence or threats to get their own way
Persist until they get what they want
Shout, intimidate and get violent

How would somebody who you really respect and admire deal with the same situation?

Going to Excess

Often when someone is doing things to excess they have a feeling of emotional emptiness inside them that they are trying to fill with other things. These emptiness can come from any aspect in the Wheel of Human Givens.

Wheel of Human Givens

Fierce Independence

People with a strong, fierce independent trait rarely work for long in conventional corporate environments.

How might other people (with a different personality from you) approach your situation?


Energy Investment Model

While we may have a lot less control over the world than we would like, we actually have a lot more control over ourselves and our responses than we appreciate.

Our minds regularly delete things that don’t conform to our view and can distort events to make them fit.

Try keeping a journal of good things which happen. Consciously challenging your response to things. Share these challenges with friends and family so they can support the change.

Change can be brought about at a behavioural level or a belief level – a behavioural level change will likely not last long.

When did you decide to see the world this way?

Driven by Fear

Storytelling may be a defence or a smokescreen to avoid the “real” conversation that is needed. At other times it may be a sign of entrenched or “stuck” thinking.

Motivation is either “towards” what they want or “away from” what they don’t want.#

How much would you say you enjoy the destination compared to the journey?

Ostrich Syndrome

SARA Model

When someone receives some feedback which they don’t want to accept they can get stuck in rejecting the feedback. If this is regarding how they are as a person then one technique is the Johari Window approach where you choose six words from the list which you feel describe yourself and you get others to select six words as well – words you put and others respond go into the open box, things you put but others didn’t in the hidden and things other see but you did not in the blind spots.

Johari Window

What would be the worst piece of feedback that anyone could give you? Why would that be so bad?

Who do you want to be? How close are you to who you want to be? How can you find out more about yourself?


Work and home life have an interdependence so getting a holistic picture can be useful.

Wheel Of Life

What does Perfect meant to you?

What would be the impact of reducing by 10% the standard you set yourself?

How could making mistakes be less painful?


Causes for procrastination include:

  • The task appearing overwhelming
  • Not possessing the knowledge or skills to complete the task
  • Lack of time-management skills
  • Inability to prioritise

These can come about because of:

  • Fear of failure – We instinctively seek to protect ourselves from failure, often without realising we are doing so or acknowledging the consequences. This allows a lack of time to be used as the reason for failure but because you could not do it.
  • Perfectionism – Those who exhibit perfectionism often have unrealistically high standards and expectations for themselves so breaking things down into smaller achievable steps is key.
  • Lack of assertiveness – Which results in over committing to to many things.
  • Lack of autonomy – Could be delaying a task to exert some form of autonomy and control over a situation.

Ways to overcome it:

  • Write down all the reasons for delaying the task. Then create a convincing argument against each one.
  • Break the task into small, manageable “chunks”
  • Tell other people you are going to be doing in order to introduce an element of accountability and peer pressure.
  • Schedule a realistic time slot each day to get a little bit done. Plan a small reward after completing each time slot.
  • If the task seems overwhelming, remind yourself of all your past achievements so you know you are capable of succeeding.
Do you have low frustration tolerance?
Do you believe that life should be easy and comfortable?
Do you find being bored intolerable?
Do you find yourself saying “I can’t live without that” or “I just can’t bare this”?
Are you bored easily?
Do you choose short-term pleasures over important duties?
Do you often feel lethargic?
Do you have episodes of feeling “hard done by”?
Do you have a history of starting lots of things but not finishing them?

Performance Anxiety

If we stretch too much too soon then we can go too far.

How will this moment seem to you when you look back in 10 year time?

If your stress is 10/10 what would it take to lower it to 9/10?

Searching for Fulfilment

Explore your values – identify the five values which are core to you from a longer list. Using the selected values over a week record at the end of each day for each value 🙂 to :-(. Use this to identify days which you were more fulfilled than others, try to use this as a pointer to be able to get more fulfilling days.

How in control of life do you fee?

Statements – strong agree, agree, disagree or strongly disagree
Our society is run by a few people with a lot of power and there is not much the ordinary person can do about it.
Success hinges on being in the right place at the right time.
There will always be conflict in the world, however hard people work to stop it
There is no point in voting, it won’t change anything.
Everything which happens in life is predestined.
Its a waste of time trying to change people, they will always stay the same.
Whether I work hard or not it won’t make any difference to how others assess my performance.
Leaders are born not made
Luck and chance play a key role in life.
Most of what happens in life is controlled by forces that we do not understand and can’t control.

Coping with loss

A loss can come in many forms (e.g. loosing a job) and when it happens people have to go through a number of stages for them to come out the other side. For coaching its important to listen and support them through the stages and to not rush things.

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