When I coach students, without exception, almost all of them have never used their inner coach. They have however, become a slave to their inner critic. Why is that? A fear of being too confident? An unhelpful habit of being self-effacing? A superstitious and irrational fear of challenging destiny if you allow yourself to be optimistic about your potential? Either way, the overuse of the inner critic never brings about strong performance, it never unlocks students’ true potential and it never builds resilience. It is a thief of confidence and positive emotions, often disguising as ‘rational’ thought. In my first coaching session with students, I always start to work on changing this collaboratively. It’s so refreshing to see students come up with the most amazing ideas as to what their inner coach would say. I am often blown away with their creativity and sincerity when they allow themselves to make their inner coach heard. Just like a newfound voice that is ready to blossom. Very recently I coached an amazing girl who had her inner critic telling her that she couldn’t do anything right, couldn’t succeed academically and would perform worse than everyone else in her class. But together we activated her inner coach. It fills me with awe when I see a young person shift mindset. Within a few minutes she had shared with me that she didn’t have to compare herself anymore as all she needed to focus on was her own performance. The smile when realising this is my reward. She’s onto something phenomenal, and I feel privileged to work with her in this process in my performance coaching practice.