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Think about typical work situations where you meet as a new team, have a problem to solve, or significant changes to plan.

  • Do colleagues sometimes seem reserved, distant or lacking inertia?
  • Do they come up with multiple reasons not to try new things, before finding reasons to give it a go?
  • Do they seem to resent offers of support at times?

The reasons for such behaviours are not always obvious. Obstructiveness can come across as a strong and deliberate blocker to improvement. So does it surprise you to learn that negative behaviours are often the result of low confidence?  They are common coping mechanisms until people learn new ways to acknowledge and address their underlying fears.

This blog provides good practice tips about how to gain courage and practically improve self-confidence. It focusses primarily on business improvement situations in relation to leaders, team members and business coaches . However, the hints and tips apply equally to personal life, self-development at work or to leadership coaching.

So, why is it important to be confident?

The workplace is becoming more digitally connected and complex. The jury is out on whether Artificial Intelligence will take over the world, negating the need for human beings. However my experience as a business improvement coach is that it’s increasingly important to work ever more closely and harmoniously with others to optimise digital connectivity.  Whether you’re an influential leader, a team member or simply attending a work meeting, there’s an increasing responsibility to contribute effectively as an expert in your core area of work. If you want to improve or grow your business, you will want to influence others, collaborate and solve problems. It’s vital to do all these with real confidence.

The good news …

The good news is that people can be taught confidence and courage in a very practical way. All too often people don’t appreciate the level of influence they have on their own levels of confidence. They wait in a type of limbo, expecting confidence to suddenly land on their doorstep. As a facilitator, however, I’ve learnt that the best way to build people’s confidence is by getting them to initially alter their actions and behaviours.

 A case study

At a workshop I ran on Confidence and Courage, one lady wanted to increase her body confidence. She explained that she had arrived early, to keep hidden from view. She continually knitted, acknowledging this kept her nerves at bay. During group discussion, she revealed she lived for the day when she would suddenly wake up feeling more confident.

We spoke about taking courage to make small changes to some of our actions. I advised practicing these until they became habits. This lady decided she would start by changing her shopping habits. It sounds simple, however it was a real lightbulb moment for her, once she knew there were practical steps and attitudes she could adopt which would lead to improved body-confidence. Others similarly decided to say hello to neighbours if they felt isolated, or to walk round the block a little more if they wanted to improve their fitness.

Being confident – top tips for coaches

  • A considerate approach to coaching is vital to improve confidence
  • It can start with saying hello, it doesn’t have to be booking a cruise
  • It’s a good idea to agree ground rules, and to generate a safe ‘have a go’ environment, whether you are working one to one or with a group
  • You’ll want to get a good balance of challenge and support, without singling people out against their will, or involving them in ‘silly games’
  • You’ll need to be flexible and adaptive to respond quickly to different levels of confidence in the group
  • It may take several sessions to change new behaviours into new habits and confident mindsets.

Tools and interactive exercises for coaches

I’ve found a range of practical approaches very helpful for building confidence in leaders and teams including:

  • Role-modelling
  • Role-playing
  • Paired discussion and presentation
  • Co-facilitating sessions
  • Interactive exercises
  • Story-sharing, and empathy (“we have all been there”).

Top tips for you

  • Don’t wait for the day you wake up and feel more confident. Start by taking action. Action becomes courage. Courage becomes confidence.
  • Take one step at a time, stretch yourself to do something different without becoming overwhelmed. Different people have different levels of comfortable stretch, so don’t compare yourself with others.
  • Talk to a trusted friend about what you want to achieve, and ask them to give you constructive and kind feedback to encourage you further.
  • Get in touch on 07824 660 120 or if you feel that a Courage and Confidence workshop, or even one-to-one coaching might help you. Remember we will always handle such requests very sensitively, as our objective is to build on your confidence.

Further information

Here are some links to further information about gaining confidence. Neel Burton MD writes in Psychology Today about improving self-confidence and the web-site Coaching Positive Performance is packed with hints and tips for coaches.

I have other examples of people reporting feeling stronger, happier and able to transfer their expertise more effectively to others, once they have improved their confidence. I hope you too have benefited from this brief insight.

About Lose the Box

Maureen Whyman is the owner of Lose the Box, a Business Improvement consultancy based in the East Midlands. They are specialists in Continuous Improvement, Lean Thinking, cultural and behavioural HR, Transformation and Change Management. They support leaders, managers, teams and individuals with Business Improvement, via coaching, training and on-site workshops.

Lose the Box consultants blend simple science with creative facilitation, getting people to work much more effectively together. Their unique approach ensures skills are transferred, achieving sustained efficiencies and measurable benefits for their clients. See testimonials here.

We run 2 hour awareness sessions on building confidence. However, to noticeably strengthen confidence in individuals involves around four half-days with active commitment and practice by them between sessions.

Please contact us on 07824 660 120 or for a no-obligation discussion if you think we could be of assistance. 


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