The Good News: Building self-confidence is possible for everyone!
There are always moments in our professional and personal life when we struggle with our self-confidence. Yet we need to be confident to make our point and succeed in reaching our goals. Self-confidence is one of those soft skills that can make the difference between success and failure. Also, it makes the difference between being stressed out and being calm, confident and competent.
The good news is that building self-confidence is possible for everyone. You can learn to easily find your confidence when you need it, even in situations where you tend to lose it now. Coaching can support you here. At the end of this article we have listed how coaching helps in building and retaining self-confidence.
Here we describe the story of why you need self-confidence, when people tend to lose confidence, and how you can regain, build and retain self-confidence whenever you need it.
Find our other articles on building self-confidence in the category: Self-confidence.
Confidence breeds confidence
Confidence breeds confidence. The opposite is also true. When you are self-conscious instead of self-confident this could lead to a perception of you as inhibited, shy or even inadequate for the job. Some other people, often in key hierarchical jobs, might lose faith in what you say and do. People need you to be confident in order to have confidence in you.
The bad news about self-confidence
The bad news is that people generally realize insufficiently that their loss of confidence in you isn’t caused by what you do and say, but by how you behave. The cause of their loss of confidence in you isn’t the content, but the process. Building self-confidence therefore has to involve the process of interaction.
More potential bad news is that unfortunately most people who have self-confidence issues easily buy into the same belief. You think you are the one falling short. Instead, it’s the process that requires an update. Often this concerns hardly more than a little improved self-reflection and some appreciation of little used and hitherto unrecognized capabilities.
The good news about self-confidence
Now here is the good news. Even when you lack confidence in some situations now, confidence can be gained and built on. We all have self-confidence – we just lose it sometimes. This can be caused by outside pressure, or simple unfamiliarity because you lack examples of behavior that gives self-confidence.
You probably didn’t experience enough that what you normally do could give you self-confidence when applied a little differently. Even in difficult circumstances where you lose your self-confidence, you can easily learn how to find it when you need it.
Coaching can support you here. You start building your confidence from this positive feedback and experience. (See below for a description of how coaching helps you build and retain self-confidence.)
When you have self-confidence…
Self-confidence is about having faith in your own abilities. In normal situations we trust ourselves to act with confidence, perform the tasks at hand and deal with the social interaction.
… And when you don’t
When circumstances change and we get feedback we are uncomfortable with, our self-confidence usually diminishes. We start to doubt ourselves. It is crucial to understand (and accept) that the ability to have faith in yourself and your capabilities are still there. They are just temporarily submerged by your doubts about them. These doubts are not your friends.
When a little less confidence is normal…
In the face of something daunting, either new or repeated, it is a normal response to have diminished self-confidence. It is a natural impulse to be more careful and consider your options in these situations.
You first assess what is really happening, and you act more carefully. You take the time to explore and consider the possibilities and your capabilities. Once you know these you could try out how to apply them. In this regard the right coaching is an important asset.
…And when a loss of self-confidence is unnecessary
Reduced self-confidence as an effect of social conditioning is something else entirely. This is the loss of self-confidence that has to do with unjustified and unchecked ideas about you in relation to others.
These ideas are about people, their intentions and behavior. They cause you to lose your confidence.
Perhaps this happens when dealing with people higher up in the hierarchy. Or you could lose confidence when you give a presentation. Or it could happen when you have an important encounter or talk to someone you wish to achieve something important with. You might feel uncomfortable, feeling unheard and unseen in certain work related situations, as for instance in meetings with colleagues or clients.
In all these situations you do not lose your confidence because of what the others do or think about you. It is what you think about yourself and what you think is expected of you that diminishes your self-confidence. It represses your potential, it is stressful, and is absolutely counterproductive.
Above all, it is unnecessary. It is fully within your active capabilities to have the right response and act with confidence in all these situations.
What is real and what is not
Self-confidence is the consequence of experience and repeated results. So is the apparent lack of self-confidence. The amount in which you accept yourself positively, or believe the interactions with others have gone badly determines your feeling of self-confidence.
A lack of self-confidence is often the result of a lopsided interpretation of what really happened in the interaction. A thorough examination of your ideas, images and concerns together with a coach clarifies illusion from reality.
The result will be that you discover that most of your lack of self-confidence is baseless and the rest can be easily corrected.
Building self-confidence – what do you need?
The way forward is to interpret self-confidence as self-generating. Of course there are determining factors outside your control. Such is life.
The point of focus however should be what you want and need, and what is in your control. Improvement or weakening follows your focus. Your focus is either on what you want, or on what others tell you that is important.
By deciding what you want and being honest about the things you are able to do, you will find what you are confident about. Follow this trail and you will feel at home in yourself. This causes inner calm. From this inner calm and stability you will interpret social situations with less stress. Your senses, intellect and normal abilities will show you what to do, what to let be, and what to feed. Self-confidence and results will be the effect. You caused it – by following what you want, and by doing what you can.
Outside factors will determine less how you feel about yourself. Now you are equipped to judge properly what is true and how to stay true to yourself. Research shows that this is the one reliable predictor for confidence. Leading from that, it is an indicator for performance, wellbeing, and a good life and career.
How coaching can help in regaining, building and retaining self confidence
Coaching can help to clarify what you want and what you are capable of. It can help you find where you lose your confidence, and how to find your way back to where you are confident.
You start with finding the support in yourself and start building from there. The result will be that your confidence will grow naturally and expand to areas where you are feeling unsure now.
Our results show that coaching in building self-confidence leads to:
- Developing faith in your own abilities
- Acting with visible confidence
- Finding and practicing authenticity and gravitas
- Expanding self-leadership and self-motivation
- Less need for approval
- Giving presentations with confidence and style
- Release from limiting self-critique
- Building of healthy self-awareness
- Working effectively with people from different backgrounds, gender, or place in the hierarchy, while you keep your self- confidence