Perfectionism

Symptoms

and Techniques to Overcome it

Your Coachee is striving for flawlessness and setting excessively high performance standards, often overly self-critical and concerned regarding others’ evaluations.

The 360

Because adults with perfectionism are often very critical of themselves, one of the most effective ways to overcome perfectionism is to replace self-critical or perfectionistic thoughts with more realistic feedbacks.

Ask your Coachee to think of 5 people whose opinion your Coachee respects and trusts. Ask them for a 360 feedback. For example: what are the coachee's key strengths, achievements, what they value the most about your coachee and one area of improvement.

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The Wheel of Life

The Wheel of Life is an introspective tool to help the coachee visualise all the important areas in his/her life: career, finances, health, romance, family and friends, personal and spiritual development, fun and recreation, physical environment. This helicopter view allows to shift priorities if need be.

Ask your Coachee to draw his/her wheel of life grading for each area, the happiness level today and the targeted level. Analyse which areas have the biggest gaps between the 2 levels (today vs targeted) and reasons why.

GoMasterCoach app, including Wheel of Life

The Scaling Technique

Setting high standards will often lead to great achievements, but if those standards become unrealistic, them dissatisfaction is the likely result. Ask the client what "perfect" means to him/her. Perfectionism may be based on a lot of false assumptions. You can help draw attention to and analyse these assumptions. Ask the client what they want to achieve using a Scaling Technique, ensure their goals are realistic and clarify the standards.

Ask your Coachee to answer:

  • What is good enough?

  • What is the level of imperfection am I willing to tolerate?

  • Will this matter in one year?

  • What is the worst that can happen?

  • What are the downsides of my perfectionism?

  • Why am I a perfectionist? Where does it come from?

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Common Symptoms

  • Feeling of always failing at everything he/she tries, which can lead to low self-esteem

  • Feeling like a fraud / not feeling good enough

  • Seeing "almost perfect" as a failure

  • Focusing on imperfections

  • Taking constructive criticism defensively

  • Struggling to relax and share thoughts and feelings

  • Becoming very controlling in personal and professional relationships

  • Becoming obsessed with rules, list and work, or alternately, can become apathetic

  • Can be prone to procrastination

3 Techniques

to Help Overcome Perfectionism

Sources:

  • The Impostor Syndrome: Becoming an Authentic Leader, by Harold Hillman, Chris Abernathy, et al

  • The Mindfulness Workbook for Addiction: A Guide to Coping with the Grief, Stress and Anger that Trigger Addictive Behaviors (A New Harbinger Self-Help Workbook), by Rebecca E. Williams PhD and Julie S. Kraft MA

  • Coach's Casebook, by Kim Morgan

  • Compassion for All Creatures, by Janice Gray Kolb

  • Perfectionism: A Practical Guide to Managing "Never Good Enough", by Lisa Van Gemert

  • The Fulfillment of All Desire, by Ralph Martin

  • Happier: Learn the Secrets to Daily Joy and Lasting Fulfillment, by Tal Ben-Shahar

  • The Disease To Please: Curing the People-Pleasing Syndrome, by Harriet B. Braiker

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