Biographical Data Process

If you want to identify me, ask me not where I live, or what I like to eat, 
or how I comb my hair,
but ask me what I am living for, in detail,
ask me what I buy CBD products is keeping me from living fully
 for the thing I want to live for (Thomas Merton, 1915-1968)

What is this?


  • A process of determining how our past has shaped us into who we are today, or put another way, how we got to be the person we are today.


Why is looking back at what has gone before important to the coaching process?

  • Much of how we behave as senior leaders has its origins in the emotional processes of earlier life
  • Much of this behaviour is not conscious, it is so well laid down and repeated that we are generally not aware of any thought processes that drive these patterns of behaviour.
  • By identifying and making them conscious we can then determine if the attitudes and values that drive these behaviours are helpful or not.
  • We can then chose whether to change these thinking patters/behaviours or if they helpful to consider how we can leverage them more.


How is it done?

  • By you reflecting on your past in a more focused way than just recounting your cv/ life story.
  • The questions below may prove helpful in offering some focus to the process
  • We look for themes or patterns and consider how those experiences show up today in your leadership role
  • You then have the opportunity to reframe old, unhelpful thinking; consider how to create new patterns that may better suit the person you are now.


What preparation is required?

Nothing formal, but consideration of the following questions is helpful. You could use a timeline to bring your narrative to life or reflect and come to the session ready to verbalise your thoughts.


  • What was your family upbringing like? Who raised you? What do you remember of home life e.g. what behaviour was rewarded, what was condoned? What were the family ‘rules’ and values– explicit maybe, but more likely to be implicit. What sort of a child were you? What excited you, worried you? What sort of relationship did you have with your parent/siblings/friends?
  • What was your education? What was school like for you? What did you enjoy, dislike, what motivated you, bored you, and saddened you? Who were your favourite teachers: what were they like?
  • What is your job background? What events are significant for you?
  • What are your hobbies, interests?
  • Tell us about your spiritual background, whether you are part of a faith or religious community and if so, how it impacts your life.
  • What is your current emotional support system—who are you most likely to share with when things are going very well for you and especially when things are not going well.
  • What would you have done differently if you could change things in your life? What are you most thankful for in your life?
  • What are your passions and future goals? Where do you see yourself in ten years time? What are your personal goals, and what you think may be preventing you right now from living fully for the things you consider most important to you.
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