Exploring career mentoring and coaching
Exploring career mentoring and coaching

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

1 What is self-awareness?

Described image
Figure 1 Self-awareness is important

Sutton (2016) broadly defines self-awareness as ‘the extent to which people are consciously aware of their internal states and their interactions or relationships with others’.

One of the primary effects of successful mentoring or coaching is to help you to enhance your self-awareness.

Dr Julia Yates explains in the following video.

Download this video clip.Video player: mentoring_and_coaching_week2_1.mp4
Copy this transcript to the clipboard
Print this transcript
Show transcript|Hide transcript
Interactive feature not available in single page view (see it in standard view).

As Julia infers in the video clip, self-awareness can be difficult to understand and develop. Tasha Eurich’s research (2017) backs this up. She found that ‘while 95% of people think they are self-aware, the real figure is closer to 10–15%’. She says, ‘Not only are our assessments often flawed, we are usually terrible judges of our own performance and abilities – from leadership skills to achievements at school and work.’ She goes on to describe two specific types of insight:

  • Internal self-awareness – an inward understanding of our passions and aspirations, strengths and weaknesses etc.
  • External self-awareness – knowing how others see you and understanding yourself from the outside in.

Retired NBA basketball player, psychologist and author, John Amaechi, has this to say about internal self-awareness, or to use his term – ‘introspection’.

Bitesize coaching with John Amaechi: introspection as the first step to success [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)]

Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to University-level study, we offer two introductory routes to our qualifications. You could either choose to start with an Access module, or a module which allows you to count your previous learning towards an Open University qualification. Read our guide on Where to take your learning next for more information.

Not ready for formal University study? Then browse over 1000 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus371