Get to know and work with your inner team

Reading time 7 minutes
Get to know and work with your inner team

The topic of communication plays an important role in every area of life. Not communicating is practically impossible. We are constantly receiving signals from our environment and sending some out. But did you know that you don't just communicate outwardly, but also with yourself? This is where your inner team comes into play: dealing with them properly can make your life easier.

Your inner team: What do you mean by this?

The inner team is a concept that helps you to fathom and sustainably clarify inner contradictions and conflicts. The developer of this model is the well-known communication scientist and psychologist Friedemann Schulz von Thun.

In the foreground of his reflections is the metaphor that the soul life of a person is just as complex and dynamic as a group work in professional life: For example, there are leaders, followers and troublemakers.

Surely you have often had conflicting opinions about a certain topic. Inside you, two, three or even more voices are fighting against each other.


You are in your Job dissatisfied and think about quitting.

The first voice says, "Your mental health comes first! Find something new."
But the second voice says, "Don't quit for any reason! You know how competitive the job market is."
And now the third voice: "You don't have to decide right now. You'd better wait a while."

Does this sound familiar, albeit possibly in a different context? Then you have already met your inner team. Sometimes, however, the voices are not as clear as in the above example. In some cases it is just a vague feeling that wants to stop you from making a certain decision. The visualization of the inner team reveals such blockages.

Important to know: Every human being has an inner team. The inner voices have no disease value! On the contrary, the so-called "inner plurality" can even be very useful.

What are the benefits of engaging with your inner team?

If your inner team is arguing, this can be very annoying and even stressful. If the mental discord is too great, there is even the threat of complete inability to act, because you can no longer decide for any voice. Your goal should therefore be to unite the inner disputants so that they work together instead of against each other. If you succeed in this, you can fully exploit the synergy potential.

That two people bring more experience and wisdom than a single person is a logical fact. The same is true for your inner team. Each individual voice has something important to tell you and deserves to be heard. Working with your inner team helps you to resolve inner conflicts and thus to find situation-appropriate solutions. Making decisions.

If you have united your inner team, this has a positive effect on your charisma. If you are at peace with yourself, you will be seen by other people as more authentic and more trustworthy perceived.

Inner Team Definition

You are the head of your thoughts

As mentioned at the beginning, the concept of the inner team is based on the comparison with a work team in real life. Realize that you are the leader! Let's assume that you are dealing with a professional issue (e.g. job change). Now you call your employees (your inner team) together mentally for a meeting in order to become aware of the different perspectives.

At first, you will certainly be confronted with a variety of different voices, some of which contradict each other. As a leader, however, you remain calm. You take note of each message in order to examine it sympathetically. Be aware that each member of your inner team has only one thing in mind: to protect the company (you) from harm.

Once each team member has presented his or her argument, it is up to you to take a closer look at the individual aspects and subject them to a reality and risk check. You should then be able to decide on the best solution for you. decision to be made.

Inner Team: The application in coaching

We have now explained in detail how your inner team works in theory. Now it's time for the practical application in coaching. Usually a step-by-step approach is used:

Step 1: The preparation

Good preparation is everything: If the inner team is to be worked with, the client first needs writing material (pen and paper). Alternatively, the visualization can also be done on a flipchart. The individual team members are sketched on, named in the later process and possibly cut out.

Cut team figures offer the advantage that you can rank them as you wish (e.g. according to the priority of their arguments or the dynamics of their voice).

Step 2: Explanation of the concept

Before the coaching begins, the coach should verbally introduce the client to the concept of the inner team. If necessary, the parallelism thesis can also be clarified by means of an example. If the client is already familiar with the method, this step can be omitted.

Step 3: Definition of the problem

Now the client's specific concern is named: On what occasion do you want to ask your inner team? What is on your mind? Which feelings and values play a role for you in decision-making?

Here it is important to name the problem as concretely as possible and to focus on one issue at a time. Depending on the issue, different team members may appear at the meeting.

Step 4: Introduction of the team members

After the concern has been specifically named, the first participants arrive. Each aspect / point of view corresponds to a team member. Now you draw the individual members on your sheet of paper (stick figures are sufficient) and give them each a name and a key phrase. This could look like this, for example:

  • The critic: "You do not have the necessary know-how for the desired change.
  • The fearful one: "Something might go wrong."
  • The motivated one: "You can do anything you set your mind to."
  • The perfectionist: "Everything has to be planned precisely."

Above members show up in most people's inner teams. However, many other voices can be added. You may also be missing one of the above team members. This can vary from person to person. It is important that you give your team members neutral names. Refrain from using derogatory terms such as "the coward" or "the fool".

Step 5: Exploring the behaviour of team members

Once all the members of your inner team are assembled, the meeting can begin. Some of them will stay in the background, others will push forward loudly. Sometimes even more people (voices) join in the course of the meeting. Welcome them too and name them as described earlier. Observe how your inner team behaves:

  • Which member sets the tone?
  • Who is in the foreground?
  • Who's laying low?
  • What contradictions emerge?
  • Are there members who associate with each other?
  • Are there members who are particularly in each other's way?

Now is the time to let the individual team members speak one after the other (!). Put yourself in the shoes of each person. You may even be able to speak in their voice (fearful, angry, determined, etc.). If the latter is difficult for you, the coach can take over this part. In addition, he supports you with specific questions.

It is worthwhile, for example, to shed light on why a voice is particularly loud or quiet: Is the vocal dominance or restraint of a team member related to empirical data from your Past together? Play Fears a role? Or is it the voice whose arguments you unconsciously already believe to be correct and which you will intuitively follow?

Step 6: Compile solution strategies

By bringing your inner team to life, you gain access to your subconscious. Working through repressed thought processes opens up new perspectives for you. However, it will not be possible to satisfy all team members. As in a real team meeting, there will be aspects of the inner dialogue that have to be left out.

As a manager, you make the best decision for you based on the arguments presented. Here, too, it can be helpful to record the results in writing together with your coach.

Inner Team Exercise

Inner team and self-reflection: a practical example

Let's go back to our example above with the planned dismissal. The diffuse voices have become team members. They now have a name and a mission statement:

The confident one says, "You're highly qualified and can always find a better job."
The sensible person says, "Don't make hasty decisions."
The conflict-averse says, "Leave things as they are and avoid the application stress."
The brave one says, "Come into action already."
The fearful one says, "It's a competitive market."

After you have listened to all the team members and sorted them by volume, you turn to the topic Self-reflection. Let's assume that the confident and the courageous support each other. Both team members want to convince you to change your career.

The voices of the conflict-averse and the fearful have also joined forces and try to drown out the other two voices. The voice of the reasonable one stays in the background. This team member does not find it necessary to brag, because he is absolutely convinced of his arguments.

What does the mood of your inner team now say about you as a leader? Your desire for career change is strong, or you wouldn't have convened your inner team in the first place. The doubting voices want to warn you about getting yourself into financial trouble. The optimistic voices indicate that you can be basically self-confident and energetic.

How can you decide?

In this example, verve and doubt are exactly in balance. It would therefore make sense to find a middle way, which in this case is embodied by the voice of reason. You decide to change jobs, but to be strategic about it. Instead of resigning spontaneously in a fit of displeasure, you hand in your resignation after you have found a new job.

What other coaching techniques can help you?

The theme Self-reflection plays a crucial role for your inner team. In order to be able to do this, however, you first have to make peace with your inner child close. Here you can find a scientific definition of the term Inner child.

During childhood, a variety of Beliefs ...and the way you've been shaped. If these are of a negative nature, this can block you in your adult life. Working with your inner child is therefore an essential part of our Greator coach training. In the first part of the training you work on your own issues. Here you will already use the tools that you will later need in your coaching practice.

If you want to help other people as a coach and develop yourself personally at the same time, our training offer is an interesting option for you. You work full time or have a family to take care of? No problem! Since this is an online training, flexibility in terms of time and location is guaranteed at all times.

Have we aroused your curiosity? Then you can find more information about the Greator Coach Training.


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Reviewed by Dr. med. Stefan Frädrich

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