How to Coach Your Clients Past Their Victim Mentality

I just got off the phone with my coach.

He told me to write this down immediately.

So at the risk of sounding like a total drama queen…

…I’m sending this to you fresh and raw.

So you (or your clients) never repeat the same mistake I just made.

After 19 years of trying to ‘make a marriage work’…

My spouse and I just divorced.

I continued to work on maintaining a good relationship with my ‘ex’ for our children’s benefit…

…especially our now 13 year old son.

Dr. Colette Coiner and her kids

As an experienced executive coach I thought co-parenting with my ‘ex’ would be easy.


My ‘ex’ just decided to cancel his ongoing weekend visitation with our son.

Without consulting me.

I was pissed, thinking…

“How could he do this?”

Obviously he doesn’t even care about his own son!”

“I’ve taken the high road for years with him…”

“… I’m not going to take it anymore.”

“I’M DONE!!!”

“I’m not letting him control me anymore.”

In my heart I knew I was vilifying him…

Dr. Coiner and her (now) 'ex'

Even as I ranted and raved, I judged myself…

“I’m a hypocrite”

“I’m a horrible coach”

I should know better.”

But I still felt he DESERVED my wrath!

So I tried to work through it.

I tried to process my feelings.

Hoping that by allowing myself to feel those emotions, they would subside in about 5-10 minutes.

But I was still so wired that I couldn’t sleep that night.

The next day I thought going on my run would change my perspective.

It didn’t.

Finally, by that evening, I had created a plan I thought would work…

  • I wasn’t going to rely on my ‘ex’ for anything.
  • I was no longer going to let him run my life…
  • I was no longer going to be a VICTIM.

I felt empowered for about 5 minutes.

Until I shared my plan with my coach…

…and his coaching woke me up.

He said…

You’re never going to escape the limits of that relationship as long as you make your ‘ex’ out to be the ‘villain.’”

As long as he’s the ‘villain’, you’ll have to be the ‘victim’.”

AND then I realized…

…the only person who could make me a victim was me.

My own thoughts and feelings created that victim identity.

I realized that nothing outside of me could make me feel anything.

Because anytime you get angry with someone, it actually has nothing to do with them.

You only feel that anger, or sadness, or hate…

…because YOU have a thought about them.

A thought about something they said.

A thought about something they did.

And with all these ugly thoughts about my ‘ex’…

I just stayed angry.

…Which made me the victim.

…Which made me powerless.

It wasn’t until I took responsibility for my own thoughts and feelings that I finally felt free.

And the thought that lands best for me as I write this is…

My ‘ex’ is human.

He’s doing the best he can with the resources he has.

…and so am I.

How did this transformation happen?

The process is simple:

If you can control your own thoughts

…you can control your emotions and feel any way you want to.

Your thoughts determine your focus and emotions, and hence your actions.

That means…

…no one can ruin your day.

…no one can make you feel good about yourself.

…no one can make you feel bad about yourself.

…no one can stop you from being successful.

YOU control your own destiny.


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