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How to Roast a Gremlin

The Perfect Recipe To Calm The Inner Critic

Your gremlin is the narrator in your head. He has influenced you since you came into this world, and he accompanies you throughout your entire existence. He’s with you when you wake up in the morning and when you go to sleep at night. He tells you who and how you are, and he defines and interprets your every experience. He wants you to accept his interpretations as a reality, and his goal, from moment to moment, day to day, is to squelch the natural, vibrant you within." – Rick Carson – Taming Your GREMLIN

In this quote from TAMING YOUR GREMLIN by Rick Carson, he describes, so clearly, the behavior of the inner critic, fondly referred to as the gremlin. Let’s face it, we all have an inner critic and it likes to get particularly pushy when we want to step out and do something new; especially when we want to act on our brilliance and shine!

It tells us: “Forget it! Stop! What are you thinking? You can’t do that, you are not smart enough, good enough, brilliant enough, blah, blah, blah!”

Crucial in the coaching relationship, is the ability of the coach to hear the when the client’s “gremlin” is doing the talking. Helping your clients to become aware of their own internal blocks, allows the client to create the strategies to manage them more effectively, and eventually shift the self-defeating energy they hold to a more self-empowering energy that moves the client forward to their desired outcome.

The International Coach Federation Core Competency #5 is ACTIVE LISTENING - Ability to focus completely on what the client is saying and is not saying, to understand the meaning of what is said in the context of the client's desires, and to support client self-expression.

The skill of Active and Intuitive Listening becomes essential to uncover blocks when they arise. When the coach listens at this deep level she/he hears what is not being said, and listens between the lines at the core energy that is driving the client’s behavior, the coach can hear the client’s values and beliefs about what is and is not possible. A coach then can go beyond the presenting issue to the real block that is holding the client back from their goal.

At one of the COACHES CAFÉ’s Ask the Mentor Monthly Calls, one of our coaches asked this question about blocks:

Q. “When trying to realize concrete goals, like getting a new job, I find that clients often discover there is a lot of internal work to be done: gremlins, limiting beliefs, fears, insecurities, self doubt etc. What is the best way to deal with these issues when they come up? I often feel stretched to handle these and help them find their own answers.”

The answer was addressed as follows:

A. “Everyone would have what they want, unless something was blocking them, right? (even a new job) This is just the place when inner work becomes so powerful. Often it can be a lifetime of inner blocks that are holding them back.

“As the coach, your role is to ask the empowering questions that allow your clients to discover their challenges, realize their possibilities, and create opportunities. If you are listening at a deep level, often you can hear and identify what block is in the way. Then it can provide the next powerful and empowering question that can begin to reveal that block or break that block down for your clients.

“Awareness is the first step. Once your clients begin to acknowledge what is in the way, it gives them back the power to manage it more confidently and create inspired action toward their desired outcome.

“Feeling stretched as the coach? Well, that is perhaps “your gremlin” coming for a visit. When do you feel stretched as a coach?

“See if you can ask yourself what is going on when this feeling occurs and become more aware of who is talking…you or your gremlin?

“As a professional certified coach, you have the training and the skills to manage this. If you are challenged to work through it on your own, ask your coach for support or consider professional mentoring to hone your skills more effectively to handle difficult situations as they arise with your clients.”

Gremlins are not so difficult, really.
You just need a good recipe to follow.

Here are some recipe tips we use at the COACHES CAFE to prepare the Gremlin for Roasting. Hope you find them useful and tasty.

1Make sure that you have removed any outside covering such as shell, spines, hair, scales etc. Gremlins come in many, many varieties and can have many different outer protective layers. If not removed, it can make the gremlin hard to swallow!

What makes your gremlin hard to swallow?

2Next it is critical to tenderize the gremlin no matter what type you are preparing. Gremlins can be tough, highly unpalatable, and often give off a terrible odor when cooking. At the COACHES CAFE we cook with intention and will submerge the gremlin in a water bath filled with patience, understanding, compassion and even love. This is the best way to tenderize the gremlin to a sweet flavor and remove the unpleasant odors.

How can you tenderize your gremlin to make it more palatable?

3Keep the gremlin in this water bath to tenderize as long as needed. Some gremlins are tougher than others. This requires the skill of the chef to recognize the signs that indicate when the gremlin is ready for roasting. One sure sign is to prick it with a fork to see if it is softer and more pliable!

4If it is taking longer to tenderize than you have time for, you can take the risk to turn up the heat. Just keep a close eye on it because if the heat is too hot, you run the risk of it getting even tougher!

What signs do you recognize that show you that YOUR gremlin is just about ready for roasting?

5Once you get your gremlin tender and it exudes a sweeter aroma, you can remove it from the water bath and gently shred it to the consistency of pulled pork (or spaghetti squash if you are a vegetarian).

At this point, it might seem like it is good enough to eat, but at the COACHES CAFE we like to take it a step further.

How do you break your gremlin down?

6Once the gremlin is in parts and pieces you can lace it with a delicate marinade of purposeful intention. At the COACHES CAFE we want our gremlin to taste like sweet success, inner strength, confidence, joy and fulfillment; and we roast it to perfection till those flavors are completely infused.

What flavors do you want to infuse into your gremlin that will make it nourish just what you want?

7Then set your table and celebrate your delicious accomplishment and begin to digest all of your juicy possibilities and opportunities!

What possibilities and opportunities are you ready to digest?


Here’s what you need to remember from this article to Be Brilliant at what you do:

  1. Hear when the client’s “gremlin” is doing the talking.
  2. Help your clients become aware of their own internal blocks so they can create the strategies to manage them more effectively.
  3. Engage active and intuitive listening skills to uncover blocks when they arise.
  4. Listen for the client’s values and beliefs about what is and is not possible.
  5. Shift self-defeating energy to a more self-empowering energy that moves the client forward to their desired outcome.
  6. Go beyond the presenting issue to the real issue that is holding your clients back from their goals.

Follow our simple recipe:

  1. Remove the outer covering
  2. Tenderize
  3. Shred it down
  4. Marinate with purposeful intention
  5. Infuse with sweet success
  6. Digest your juicy possibilities and opportunities

The next time your “gremlin” gets particularly pushy, this recipe helps to stretch yourself to act on your brilliance and shine!