How to Do Your Own Inner Critic Coaching

You have an inner critic. You will never get rid of it.  Instead of fighting it the best plan is to befriend it.

Your inner critic wants to keep you safe in the limitations of your ego.  As a child, you can thank your ego and inner critic for keeping you alive.

The trouble begins when you move into adulthood blind to how the inner critic is limiting your potential.

How do you identify the inner critic?  Here are three characteristics to help you understand how it works:


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1.      Volume:

Often the inner critic is loud, and you can’t miss it.  But other times it can be sneaky and operate quietly under the radar.  No matter how loud or quiet it is, it has a significant impact on you.

2.      The inner critic is automatic:

Every time you get critical with yourself or others, your inner critic will be there to add to your misery. The more you can be curious about where the inner voice is coming from—will help you to identify your inner critic.

When you are not staying curious about what is going on within your inner critic, it will do as it pleases.  The only way to quiet down the inner critic is to gain some distance from it and build up your repertoire of responses.

3.      The inner critic will gain strength if you don’t face it:

The inner critic is like the judge of the judge. The inner critic will start to judge you for judging something else. It has a multiplier effect.  Dealing with its tricks can be hard.


The voice of the inner critic is usually loud, impatient, abusive and demeaning.  It might sound like the voice of God, a parent or teacher. Here are some signs that your inner critic is active.

1.      Feeling Bad about yourself:

Chances are the inner critic is active when you are feeling down about yourself.  It is the times when you feel like you don’t have the confidence to move ahead in life.  It is the times you feel hopeless. It is the times you think that something is wrong with you.

2.      When you are feeling critical to others:

If you are feeling bad about yourself, it is easy to start being critical of others. Notice if you are always comparing yourself to others. You may also notice that you are critical of certain people in your life.  When you are being overly critical of people you are close to, may suggest that you are projecting your issues on to them.

3.      You start to see yourself as above all others:

Praise from others can begin to go to your head. You respond to your insecurities with a pumped-up attitude, arrogance and swagger.  It gets inflated in times when you are praised or the times when you put yourself up by putting others down.

All these behaviours and attitudes are equally destructive.

The inner critic keeps you stuck in your ego. It will become more active every time you decide to do something new such as a new job, a new relationship, going back to school or moving to another city. The inner critic does not like change.

You might hear messages like these:

·         Why bother, you are always a failure.

·         You are greedy, all you care about is yourself.

·         Stop your grand dreams you are just going to be disappointed.

A great tool to help you do your inner critic coaching is to learn about the psychological-spiritual tool called the Enneagram.

Most teachers in the Enneagram world believe that you are given your personality type in the first few months of life.  Early in life, you are  given your personality type to help you make sense out of life.

There are nine different personality types. You can order them into three groups; there is body types, heart types and head types. You can also organize them into assertive, withdrawn and dutiful.



Discovering your personality type will give you clues to help you notice the voice of the inner critic in yourself.

Once you discover the inner critic in yourself it will help you to notice when it is active. When you are aware of the voice, you can choose to ignore it and listen to the wisdom of your true self.

To help you notice your inner critic let us explore this through the wisdom of the nine Enneagram types.  No type is better than another. Your goal is to be as healthy as you can in your kind. When you are healthy, your inner critic will be quiet.

Type One: The Reformer:

As a One, you have a strong desire to make the world a better place. You have high expectations for yourself and the people around you. Given your high expectations, you can be very hard on yourself and those you love.

You are very responsible. Often you fear others won’t do as good a job as you will. To make sure the job gets done right you do it yourself.

You are a born educator. You know there are better ways to do things and you are happy to share your knowledge with others.

Inner critic message:

In Type Ones the inner critic is concerned about your being good enough.  It will put this question in your mind such as “Am I doing what I am supposed to be doing?  It will tell you off when it feels that you are in danger. It promises to fix you when you are not being responsible.

Type Two: The Helper

As a type two, you want to feel loved.  You have a strong desire to help others. You will go out of your way to help a friend in distress. When you begin to lose your presence, you start to fear that no one loves you. You act as though people will only like you if you do something nice for them.

As you get less secure, you try to manipulate those around you. In the end, it backfires because you are suffocating the people you care about through your neediness.

When you are healthy not only will you care for others without any expectations you will care for yourself.

Inner critic message:

For type two the inner critic is watching out for concerns such as are you being helpful enough. Are you being kind enough? Are you being generous and loving? The inner critic will inform you when you are selfish and will put pressure on you to correct your attitude.

Type three: The Achiever:

You are confident!  You are determined to succeed!  You have endless amounts of energy.  You make a great mentor for family and friends. Problems start to show themselves when you begin to question your success. You begin to morph yourself into the person you think you need to be to be a success.

You tend to compare yourself with other people. You think life is a competition.  It is hard for you to stop and take an afternoon nap.

When you are vulnerable enough you have a big heart to reveal.  Underneath all your business is a person, who desires to connect with others at a deep level.  You are a person who truly wants to make the world a better place for all.

Inner critic message:

 For type three your inner critic is concerned about your work ethic and your success.  Are you the best in your field of work?   It will remind you that if you are lazy, you will pay for it. If you are not willing to work hard enough, your inner critic will pressure you to do so.

Type Four: The Individualist:

You are creative, expressive and intuitive. You desire to connect with people at a sincere heart to heart level.

Often you feel like you don’t fit in. Sometimes this makes you sad, and other times it compels you to discover who your unique self is.  You want to fit in, and you don’t want to be like everyone else.

It is easy for you to get caught up in heavy emotions.  It can be hard for you to break out of heavy moods because it is the only way you know how to feel alive.

Inner Critic Message:

For type four your inner critic is wanting to make sure you are feeling unique enough.  It wants to know if you are being faithful to your feelings?  If you are not unique and responsive to your feelings, your inner critic will make sure you do it right.

Type Five: The Investigator

You are intelligent, hungry to learn, analytical and objective. The worst fear you have is to look stupid because you don’t know enough.

You love to share with others who are interested in what you are learning. You might find it hard to stop me from talking. But if you are talking about something that you don’t know enough about or interested in you will have little to say.

You are a fantastic observer.  Your challenge is to stay grounded in your body. It is easy to forget you have physical needs.

Inner Critic Message:

For type five the inner critics’ message is about how much you know.  Are you smart enough,  competent enough and able to explain what you know?  If you don’t have enough knowledge, your inner critic will make sure you smarten up by getting more.

Type Six: The Loyalist

You are loyal, likable, witty and responsible.  You love to prevent problems from happening. You want to keep yourself and those you love safe.

Under stress, you can become fearful, judge-mental, rigid and irritable. You begin to lose trust in God, the universe and your body.

You become more and more anxious starting to see danger in places where there is none.

Inner Critic Message:

For type six your inner critic is hyper-focused on keeping you safe. It wants to know if you are fulfilling your obligations to others. Then if you are not meeting expectations, your inner critic is going to hold you to account.


Type Seven: The Enthusiast

You love to have fun!  You are curious and playful. You have vast amounts of energy. You attract people who like your fun playful energy.

You have an aversion to any form of emotional or physical pain. When you are not at your best, you tend to keep yourself so busy with fun and adventure to avoid pain in your life.

You know that you are not a details person. You can see the larger picture better than most. At your best, you always ensure the projects you start are finished if not by you then by someone else.

You know you are not at your best when you are never able to complete a project because you get bored so quickly.


Inner Critic Message:

For type seven your inner critic wants to make sure you are feeling free to follow your passion for adventure. It wants to know if you are being spontaneous? if you are having fun?  Most importantly it wants to know if you are feeling any discomfort.  If you are your inner critic will devise ways for you to ignore and forget anything that is creating emotional or physical pain.


Type Eight: The Challenger

You are direct, authoritative, energetic and self-confident.  You live in the moment. You know what you need to do. You love to help people who have been pushed to the fringes by society.

You are sensitive. You have a big heart. When under stress you will put up barriers around your heart to keep you from being hurt.

You have endless amounts of energy. You say it like it is. You expect those around you to be upfront with you.

You don’t like people getting in your way.  When you perceive people to be in your way you will push them aside emotionally and physically.

Inner Critic Message: 

For type eight the inner critic wants to focus on how strong you are.  It wants to know if you are feeling in charge? If you are looking weak, the inner critic will do everything it can to toughen you up.


Type Nine: The Peacemaker

You are a great observer.  You are fantastic at understanding the different points of view of people and groups.  You make a great mediator.

You sometimes forget the value of yourself. You don’t realize how important it is for the world for you to show up.  The world needs your wisdom.

When you are not at your best, you begin to appease people to stop conflict at any cost. The anger in your will gradually build up until it bursts out in a blow up.

Inner Critic Message:

For type nine, the inner critic is most concerned about keeping the peace. It wants to know if you are keeping your world calm and staying above the conflict.  If there is any sign of battle, the inner critic will put the pressure on you to make peace at any cost.


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Learning what your Enneagram type can help you to become self-aware.  Part of being self-aware is being able to notice when your inner critic is talking. This can make a big difference.


There are several ways to discover your personality type. You can get a free Enneagram Typing test by signing up for my monthly newsletter.  If you are willing to pay, get the Riso-Hudson Enneagram Type Indicator (RHETI®). There are many good books available through most book stores.  A couple I recommend is The Enneagram Made Easy by Renee Baron and Elizabeth Wagele and The Modern Enneagram by Kacie Berghoef and Melanie Bell.


Befriending your inner critic is life long work.  It will never go away.  But with practice, you will become more aware of it. The more you become aware of it, the more choices you will have.

As you quiet this part of your psyche, you will get more in touch with your true self. This is the voice within you that wants to help you be your best self. It wants you to develop and strengthen your gifts so you can share them with the world.

Learning about the Enneagram is one of the best tools to help you connect with your true self. There are other tools such as Myer Briggs. You need to find what works best for you.

No matter what you choose, you are going to do better when you pay attention to the sensations of your body, the thoughts in your head and the emotions of the heart.

There is growing evidence in the work of Heart Math and Philip Shepherd that you have three brains, head, heart and body.  The important thing is that you find activities and practices to help you stay in touch with your three energy centers (brains).

Becoming self-aware is long term work.  It is more than worth the effort.  The changes may seem small in the beginning, but with time you will start to notice a significant change.

I am, Roland Legge a Life Coach here to help you to quiet your inner critic. You can join my private newsletter list for Free Monthly Advice and get Your Free Enneagram Test and sign up for a Free 30 Minute Discovery Call with me in my Acuity Scheduling Calendar.


This post is re-published permission of the author, Roland Legge, and can be found in its original version at the REL Consultants website: Click Here




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