Self-Confidence and coaching

How do we transform ourselves into confident individuals?

In my work as a development coach, be it with senior executives, managers, company directors or sole traders, no matter how successful they are, 9/10  lack self-confidence.

Outwardly, these people often seem self-assured, but as soon as they sit down , they tell me about their doubts and anxieties. They worry about what others think and many confide in me that they are “just waiting to be found out”. What exactly does this mean?  Many successful people are concerned that someone will find out that they are faking it. They fret about being exposed as someone who doesn’t know anything and should never have been given the job!

When questioned further, about how they got the job, about past successes, about how they’ve turned teams around, doubled turnover, performed better than others, they hesitate and think.

Many then say that it was a fluke – pure luck and nothing to do with talent or skill.

Living with this self- doubt is, as you can imagine, immensely stressful. Waiting to be found out keeps you on tenterhooks and can ruin any work successes as they move on to worrying about the next challenge and how they might be exposed.

So how can coaching help turnaround this lack of self belief? Here are a few ideas:

Say it out loud

Sometimes, just coming out and admitting to being under confident can be the start. By saying it out loud, and by questioning why, you start to realise that this belief is holding you back.  In a short time, we can all start pin pointing why we believe we are not worthy, or lack in skills – all too often it comes from comments from teachers, parents, peer groups – and we become programmed to accept such comments without question.

What’s the alternative?

Many of us believe that if you’re open about your achievements and talents, you are “arrogant” and no self respecting British person wants that. Tell yourself there is a half way mark, where you can be honest about your talents without coming across as big-headed.  Think of it as personal PR – being honest and letting people know what you’re capable of is going to help you. It is possible to do it with humility!

Write it down

If you’re worried about a specific event or situation and feel you might fail, or be exposed, write down why you think this. As you write down these reasons, it’s likely that you’ll realise many of them are unfounded and are just scripts that you follow without question. If there is a reason that is valid, see if you can do something about it. Can you become more informed? Do you need to improve something? Face up to it and do something about it!

Ask for feedback

Approach someone you trust and ask them what they think and how you could do it better. Here you can explore pitfalls and seek ways of addressing them, to reduce your feelings of inadequacy. And believe the positive comments when they’re given!

Celebrate your achievements

When things go well, you excel at something, make sure you take the time to congratulate yourself, and tell someone.  We all too often move quickly on to the next challenge, and never truly notice that we’ve done something well. By registering this achievement, you’ll be notching up evidence in your mind about how capable you really are.

“Fake it until you make it”

Remember that others believe what you tell them. If you tell people you can’t do something or are not very good at it, that is what they will hear and believe. Few people take the time to think “ah, but they’re just being modest”! Play the part, go through the motions – whatever it takes, you will start realising that you can do it, and that you’re the last person to believe it, whilst those around you accepted it from the beginning!

Mind your language

Notice how people you admire talk about their successes. Do they come across as arrogant? What words do they use? Keep practising – use positive language to describe what you do – people have no reason not to believe you!  Use less “I’m trying to do this” and more “I’m going to do this”.

Be patient

It may take a while to change your beliefs. Keep practising and you’ll soon notice a difference. Notice how this makes you feel differently. It will be worth it!

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