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The Self Care Battery Meter

Jon McNestrie
Feb 6 · 4 min read

I was working with a one to one coaching client who was talking about how they felt drained and how certain aspects of work were affecting how much energy they had and how they felt more generally.

I often talk to people (inside and outside of coaching) about what they do to care for themselves. Self care is important and most definitely not selfish! It’s often a tough topic to explore and this time given how much I love a little metaphor I thought of the (increasingly worn out) battery on my phone.

When will it run out?

I have a lovely little graph that shows how my battery has fared so far during the day and tries to predict what will happen with my current usage. My phone will also try to tell me what apps or activities have been taking the lion’s share of my power.

If it continues to drop ‘battery saver mode’ will turn on and certain things will change to conserve the power that I have.

Consciously reducing what my phone can do to preserve it…

The screen will be dimmer, emails and messages won’t be checked as regularly and so on.

This seemed like an opportunity to use that metaphor..

With my client I pulled out a piece of paper and we talked about their personal battery. This metaphor seemed to resonate with them so we went with it.

I asked them to draw on a graph what had happened over the last few months with their levels of energy (mental, physical, emotional, any really). We then talked about what would happen if the current drain continued extending a dotted line.

They listed some of the things that were draining their battery and we explored them a little. What could they do less of? What did they have some influence over?

We then discussed what renewed, refreshed and replenished them. What recharges your battery?

You’re not always able to get to a charger (he says stretching the metaphor) and that’s what battery saving mode is for! What activities perhaps don’t recharge your battery but lessen the drain? We discussed what adjustments could be made to do this.

Throughout all of this we kept coming back to the graph, annotating it and looking at times the line had changed to explore meaning in what had happened.

A made up example but there’s a little of me in there

This was a wonderful little tool that raised awareness of what was impacting the client and gave them choices that they could make to adjust some of the activities that drained them, turn on battery saver to make some adjustments and consider what really charged their batteries.

The fact that the client had drawn and written themselves and really owned what was produced also helped them to feel connected to what we discovered together and they wanted to take the page away to remember and help them to take action!

I’ve made a worksheet to act as a template for this coaching conversation.

A space to draw the graph and consider the things that are impacting the drain on your battery and things that you could do to change that.

There’s a second page with instructions and questions for a coach as well.

This may work equally well for conversations about health and potentially mood — would love to find that out. Also could work either for coach and client or as a reflective template to be used alone.

You can download the template here. Enjoy and please do share in the comments how you’ve used it and the impact that it has had.

Jon McNestrie

Written by

Team coach, leadership coach & facilitator. ICF ACC, visual facilitator, Lego Serious Play & more.

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