Strategy

Self-Coaching

Positive Self-Talk, Self-Concept

UDL 6.4

Self-Coaching is a self-monitoring technique in which the student learns how to say or repeat words that remind or encourage the student towards the desired behavior, attitude or action. With self-coaching, the student is taught a mantra or silent repetition of a saying. As soon as the challenging situation occurs, the student can repeat the mantra silently or quietly. This can support the student in making good decisions by focusing on the desired behavior rather than moving into the instinctual or typical response. It will also help the student have a more calming approach to situations that could have escalated in previous times. An example of self coaching for a student 1) Identify the situation - Student learns how to identify when to use the mantra. 2) Notice inner response - Student notices inner thoughts and feelings (e.g. negative thought or strong emotional response) and begins to know that they can change this by saying the mantra instead. 3) Say mantra "Relax" - Student begins to self-instruct on how to handle the situation. 4) Breathe 5) Wait (5 seconds) 6) Repeat mantra "Relax" - Student becomes aware that she has influence on her inner response. 7) Breathe 8) Wait (5 seconds) 9) Repeat- Student says mantra as many times as necessary to "reset" and establish a positive inner response.

Ready-to-Use Resources

Posters

Starting a Task: Self-Coaching Mantras

A poster with positive mantras that students can use to motivate themselves when starting a task.

Grade 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 · Behavior & SEL · 1 pages


Posters

Social Situations: Self-Coaching Mantras

A poster with positive mantras that students can use to counteract social anxiety.

Grade 2, 3, 4, 5 · Behavior & SEL · 1 pages


Posters

Starting the School Day: Self-Coaching Mantras

A poster with positive mantras that students can use when starting the school day.

Grade 2, 3, 4, 5 · Behavior & SEL · 1 pages


Posters

Test-Taking: Self-Coaching Mantras

A poster with positive mantras that students can use when experiencing frustration or anxiety while taking a test.

Grade 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 · Behavior & SEL · 1 pages


Posters

Transitions: Self-Coaching Mantras

A poster with positive mantras that students can use when transitioning between activities or classes.

Grade 2, 3, 4, 5 · Behavior & SEL · 1 pages


Posters

Self-Coaching Mantras: Blank Template

A poster with blank speech bubbles that can be customized with positive mantras to support students during various classroom activities.

Grade 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 · Behavior & SEL · 1 pages


Implementation Tips

Student Engagement & Support
Brainstorm with the student different mantras or sayings that might work for him or her in the challenging situations. You can also add a visual poster to the classroom with the saying or have the student carry a visual cue card with the mantra or saying to help support the student in remembering to silently repeat the mantra during challenging or triggering situations.
Routine
Remember to debrief at regularly scheduled times of the day usually when the challenging situation is more likely to happen (e.g. on the playground, during bathroom breaks). Ask the student what self-coaching or self-talk strategy he used and how it worked within the situation. Have student record whether he used the mantra and how effective it was in the situation.
Reflection
Have student keep a log or journal for when or times that she used the self-coaching or self-talk throughout the day. In the journal the student can include and incorporate what the situation was and what the student said to himself to coach himself through the situation.

Examples

Independent Work
The student has learned to quietly or silently repeat a saying or mantra such as “in my space, in my place” to help the student remember to stay at his desk and not move into another student’s desk or personal space.
Walking in Line
The teacher has taught students to quietly repeat “hands to the side, walk with pride” so as to ensure the students are learning and respecting the rule of keeping hands to themselves while in line.
Recess Play
A student who has frequent, negative reactionary behaviors while playing ball games with students is reminded to use self-coaching techniques such as reminding self when bumped into by another student that “I am okay, it was probably an accident”, "I am calm, let it go”, or “count to five – before I decide".

Related Strategies