How to coach someone who is not self aware

Every coaching client is different, and that’s a good thing.

It gives coaches a chance to interact and grow with people from all walks of life and all stages of learning.

But how do you help guide someone who’s simply very low awareness of their own behavior and thoughts?

How to coach someone who is not self aware

Low self awareness can be challenging in terms of coaching. After all, coaching is all about working with someone’s understanding to help them adjust their actions and life plan.

How are you supposed to help somebody meet clearer goals and objectives if they’re not clear on who they are or what drives them in life?

If they’re unclear on who they are, what they want and what’s important to them in life, it becomes harder for you as a coach to get through to them.

But rest assured, there are various ways to still produce a happy and satisfied client.

1) Meet them where they are

The wrong thing to do with someone who is not self aware is to try to open their eyes all at once or get them to become highly observant and conscious.

It’s not going to happen and it’s going to lead to them becoming very frustrated and giving up.

Instead, meet them where they are. Speak in clear terms and find a window of entry into their psyche and life experience.

Maybe this person simply feels hopelessly lost in terms of career…

Or has extremely low self-confidence socially…

Or wants help to become more self-aware…

Find one or two things which they feel strongly about and that they love or hate and use these as anchors. Even the simplest person who isn’t very aware of their behavior and identity has likes and dislikes.

For example, if your client loves parties, or has an immense talent drawing, start with these points and talking about these subjects. Avoid getting into deeper subjects about overall direction and focus.

You are like an investigator here, finding out what makes this person tick. They may not know, but undoubtedly they have dominant desires, fears, confusions and traumas that are influencing their lives greatly.

Start small.

You’ll get there.

2) Be patient

7878 How to coach someone who is not self aware

If you’re coaching someone who is not self aware, you will need to be very patient.

“Don’t you realize that your depression is directly affecting your social life?” is not a good way to start, for example.

Many of the connections and links in their biography which are clear to you are going to be beyond the client’s reach, at least for now.

You will have to let them mostly move at their own speed and discover who they are and how their life is working somewhat on their own.

The best you can do is to be a calm voice of reason and offer suggestions that are practical and insightful. If your client keeps self-sabotaging or missing the point of what you’re doing, try to remain patient and start again.

Remember, this process is for them, not you.

3) Give them useful tools to work with

One of the best resources you can offer to your client is called Life Journal.

If they aren’t very self aware, it’s going to take time and patience to help the client notice patterns in their life and choices.

This program is all about giving clients the foundation they need to go step by step and strategically build the life they thought was always out of reach.


What does it take to build a life filled with exciting opportunities and passion-fueled adventures?

Most of us hope for a life like that, but we feel stuck, unable to achieve the goals we wishfully set at the start of each year.

I felt the same way until I took part in Life Journal. Created by teacher and life coach Jeanette Brown, this was the ultimate wake-up call I needed to stop dreaming and start taking action.

It broke through my own deficits in self awareness and showed me real and applicable tools to start improving my life and habits immediately.

I hadn’t been able to see my life realistically in any objective sense, but the step-by-step process that Life Journal offers helped me break through my gaps in awareness.

Click here to find out more about Life Journal.

So what makes Jeanette’s guidance more effective than other self-development programs?

It’s simple:

Jeanette’s created a unique way of putting YOU in control of your life.

She’s not interested in telling you how to live your life. Instead, she’ll give you lifelong tools that’ll help you achieve all your goals, keeping the focus on what you’re passionate about.

And that’s what makes Life Journal so powerful.

If you’re ready to start living the life you’ve always dreamt of, you need to check out Jeanette’s advice. Who knows, today could be the first day of your new life.

Here’s the link once again.

4) Be direct

Clients who are not self aware don’t tend to do well with extended metaphors, use of irony and illustrative examples or profound parables.

They do much better with direct and simple statements when it comes to any reference to their behavior or personal life.

If you want to test whether their self awareness is starting to show up, you can use probing questions from time to time as well.

“Do you remember the last time you made an impulsive decision how it turned out?”

“Yes, but that was different.”

“How was it different?”

And so on.

Be very direct and say exactly what you mean. Lack of self awareness can be very frustrating and the best you can do in some cases is make absolutely sure that what you are saying does make sense.

5) Pay attention to positives

8582 How to coach someone who is not self aware

Lacking self awareness does not mean that a client is lacking in all positive attributes.

Admittedly, this is a harder deficit to work with, but there are many other aspects of their personality that could be in your favor as a coach.

For example, they may be very genuine and honest, or they may be very passionate about their interests and desires in life.

Focus in on these aspects of your client which can be raw material for you to work on.

They may not be self aware, but they may have other character qualities that can greatly assist your job as coach and help you make breakthroughs in various ways.

Keep an eye out for that.

6) Reference experiences

As I mentioned, the client who isn’t self aware is better to communicate very directly with and to avoid metaphors and long-winded examples.

Keep it direct and to the point.

In addition, try to reference experiences.

The client may not be self aware in terms of understanding themselves or being able to grasp the context and deeper meaning of their life, but you can connect to the immediacy of their experiences and get through to them that way.

I recommended earlier finding strong interests of theirs and uses this as an in point.

This is similar, in that you want to come up with memorable experiences and draw lessons and awareness out of those experiences.

If the client has a good memory, they likely have sharp impressions of things which happened.

As a life coach you can go through these experiences with them and fit some of the emotions, thoughts and aspects that relate to them into understandable categories that greatly assist the client.

“Ah, so that’s why dad was angry!”

“I see now that taking that job was a way for me to run from the pain of my breakup.”

“Yes, the accident really did bring up a lot of my psychological issues to the surface afterwards, now that you mention it I’m remembering a lot more.”

And so forth. You are helping dig up experiences that have powerful life lessons and links in them and it helps the client who lacks self awareness become more aware.

Just don’t expect them to move at lightning speed or make all the connections right away.

7) Don’t give up

Progress often takes place in those parts in between when we feel ready to throw in the towel.

The client may be taking huge steps forward invisibly and internally that only come to fruition later.

Your job is to keep the faith and remain in your role as a coach.

Be there for them, help guide them and continue to be a source of discipline and inspiration.

Courses like Life Journal can be very helpful in giving a client the tools that he or she needs to make huge progress despite having generally low self-awareness.

Remember that if you give the client the tools and methods he or she needs, they will often find their own way to progress and learning.

You can’t always amplify their level of self-awareness, but slowly and steadily you can open this person’s eyes and help them come to their own conclusions about their life and its progression.

It just might take a little longer.

Picture of Paul Brian

Paul Brian

Paul R. Brian is a freelance journalist and writer who has reported from around the world, focusing on religion, culture and geopolitics. Follow him on and visit his website at

Enhance your experience of Ideapod and join Tribe, our community of free thinkers and seekers.

Related articles

Most read articles

Get our articles

Ideapod news, articles, and resources, sent straight to your inbox every month.