Do you believe what you see?

Do you believe what you think?
Is it correct what you see?
Do you always react effectively?

Marijne in mirror

To what extent are you aware of your own view, your own interpretation? In this blog I explain how I research it in coaching together with clients and what it can yield.

In an executive coaching session, one of the first topics often discussed is:


To name a few examples:

I find it difficult to set my boundaries and say no, because I am conflict avoidant.

I have a hard time delegating because I don’t trust that others will get a good result.

In order to grow in personal leadership, it is important to examine your own beliefs. In the book Kom tot de Kern I discuss how these came about, their place in your personality and how they can get in the way. See the layer of beliefs in the growth rings model.

model Kom tot de Kern
afbeelding epictetus

A handy tool that I use a lot in coaching is the Rational Effectiveness Training, also called the RET. The inventor of this was Albert Ellis (1913-2007). He was a Psycho-Analist like Freud and his treatments consisted of years of people associating and telling, from a sofa. He thought this was taking too long. He was a fan of the ideas of the ancient Stoics, such as Plato, Epictetus and Aristotle.

They claimed:

It is not the situation that makes you feel a certain way, but the interpretation of the situation.

The good news is that you can do something about how you feel.
The bad news is, you can never blame the situation or other people again.

Recipe for this self-exination of your beliefs:

  1. Take a situation in which you have recently experienced a tension of over 50 on a scale of 0 to 100.
  2. Go through the questions from the 8-step plan.
  3. Name which universal core thoughts hinder you. This can be: unhealthy perfectionism, love junkie, disaster thinker, low frustration tolerance or morality knight.
  4. Fire dispute questions at yourself to rattle the limiting belief.
  5. Write down a new helpful thought for more effective behavior and practice it as much as you can.

What RET will bring you:

Insight into your own beliefs shows you how many assumptions you make and it helps you to put situations in perspective.

It gives you a tool to be able to apply more self-management and to become less overwhelmed by situations and behavior of other people. It gives self-insight and perspective.

Spoiler alert: you start taking yourself, your own thoughts and feelings more with a grain of salt. That makes life and work a lot easier.

Good luck!

Picture of Marijne van den Kieboom

Marijne van den Kieboom

Executive Coach, Leiderschapstrainer en Psycholoog. Ik empower missie-gedreven organisaties en leiders, zoals jij.