The Nine Judgment Patterns By: Elizabeth Saigal, Ph.D. CLC

The Nine Judgment Patterns By: Elizabeth Saigal, Ph.D. CLC

In the previous post, I discussed identifying judgment as a key to providing high value impact to your client.  This post details the nine judgment patterns that might show up for your client. Indeed, they may relate to more than one pattern. Once the client is aware of them, they can choose what to do with this new insight and may even enjoy identifying them when they crop up in the goals they have set for themselves.

  1. Stickler

    This pattern of judgment emphasizes perfection, order, and organization. This saps energy on precision that is not necessary, and often brings about frustration and disappointment. It also reduces creativity and incurs anxiety in others who feel judged by impossible standards. It is perpetuated by the lie that flawlessness is invaluable. In reality, it is not always a good thing. It can be identified in thoughts or statements such as ‘If you can’t do it perfectly, don’t do it at all’, ‘right is right and wrong is wrong’, ‘I hate mistakes’, or ‘lax standards lead to failure’.

  2. Overachiever

    This pattern of judgment is around being appreciated for what you do. Your validation depends on achievement. The lie that has been bought into is that success depends on outperforming everyone and winning the competition. This prompts a focus on external success rather than internal criteria for happiness and tends to instigate the same behavior from others. These attributions may underpin a workaholic tendency and risk for burnout. Mindsets that might be endorsed include ‘I must be top’, ‘How can I beat …’, ‘I am the best at …’ or ‘My public image depends on demonstrating expertise’.

  3. Worrywort

    This pattern of judgment concerns preventing potential problems and minimizing risks. There is a belief that this vigilance is the best way to maintain safety. These chronic doubts of the self and others led to increased stress and sensitivity to danger and may reduce the ability to discriminate against real threats. This judgment pattern is indicated by attributions such as ‘What if …’, ‘What are their real motives?’, ‘I will be blamed for mistakes’, ‘What are the rules?’, or ‘I will fail if I don’t discover the problem in advance’.

  4. Silverliner

    This pattern of judgment follows from uncertainty and not knowing what you stand for. Conflict is avoided through interpreting everything positively. This is actually a form of denial that involves avoiding unpleasant, negative, or difficult tasks or conflicts. This means these challenges never have the opportunity to become gifts. The assumption is that going along and being flexible improves your happiness, or that appeasement is preferable to conflict. This viewpoint downplays and deflects the importance of real problems. People with this judgment pattern have difficulty saying ‘no’ and lose themselves in comforting routines and habits. This limits effectiveness and growth by keeping experiences superficial. It shows up in statements such as ‘I don’t want a scene’, ‘I will get hurt’, ‘It will take care of itself’, or ‘I will lose my peace of mind’.

  5. Pleaser

    This pattern of judgment is around not being thought of negatively, or being liked. In other words, there is a motivation not to be judged by others. Acceptance is gained by constantly helping, pleasing, rescuing, or flattering others. Often, this personal need for approval and affection, whilst not being consciously recognized, is justified as the righteous thing to do.  This drive obscures the individuals own needs and poor boundaries on giving to others may lead to burnout. The other parties may become overly dependent and feel obligated, guilty, or manipulated generating resentment on both sides. Thoughts that may indicate this judgment pattern include ‘To be a good person, I should put the needs of others ahead of my own’, ‘I can make anyone like me’, ‘It bothers me when people don’t notice what I have done for them. They can be so selfish and ungrateful’, ‘Making direct requests for myself feels selfish’, ‘I resent being taken for granted’, or ‘Others will leave if I ask them to do things for me’.

  6. Victim

    This judgment pattern uses loss of power as a way to hook the attention of others, often using painful feelings to do so. It gives the appearance of not being a threat to others. The mindset is one of co-dependency so that both parties somehow have needs met through the exchange. It leverages the need to make a difference for others. It may be emotionally draining for those involved and does little to solve the core problems of personal responsibility and fear of engagement. If there is no forward progress it may inadvertently push people away increasing martyrdom, withdrawal, fatigue, depression, and apathy. Thoughts such ‘Poor me’, ‘Is there someone who can rescue me’, ‘This is a unique disadvantage’, or ‘By acting this way I at least get some of the attention I deserve’ may indicate this judgment pattern.

  7. Robot

    This pattern of judgment excludes feelings and analyzes everything logically. Emotions are totally neglected and repressed due to the belief that the mind is the solution. Interactions are frequently akin to ‘Dr. Spock’ with reduced warmth and humanity. These individual demonstrate passion with their intellectual analysis and can lose track of time with mental concentration. Mindsets associated with this judgment pattern include ‘Feelings are distracting and lead to irrational behavior’, ‘Others are overemotional’ ‘Emotions prevent work from getting done’, ‘Emotions get in the way’, or ‘I am uncomfortable with intimacy and vulnerability’.

  8. Fidget

    This pattern of judgment is founded on the pursuit of stimulation. There is a need to be perpetually busy. The assumption is that being constantly on the go means that you are living life to the full. This juggling increases distractibility. Lining up what is next on the agenda means you are less present to what is actually occurring in real time. Consequently, there is actually a risk on missing out on life and relationships as they are happening. Thoughts that might indicate this judgment pattern include ‘I am useful and contributing’, ‘What else could I be doing that is more useful?’, ‘I can’t miss that’ or ‘what am I missing out on?’

  9. Negotiator

    This pattern of judgment is founded on barter. What do I want and what am I prepared to give or even sacrifice to get it. This makes everything into a business transaction. The lie is that you must pay to make progress. In fact, you do not have to compromise yourself or enter into an exchange to get what you want. Attributions such as ‘This is the cost of reaching my objective’, ‘This is what has to be done to succeed’, ‘I can make any contract once I know what the other person wants’ indicate this judgment pattern.

The nine judgment patterns of stickler, over-achiever, worrywart, silverliner, pleaser, victim, robot, fidget, and negotiator are somewhat ubiquitous. We can all identify with them to some degree. Coaching give us the unique opportunity to hear when these frameworks appear in conversation and bring them to the attention of the client. Increasing insight into these patterns of thinking frequently opens the client up to additional choices in how they want to operate. These options may have initially been disregarded as being outside of the frameworks by which they habitually operate.


Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Clements Life Coaching

Clements Life Coaching