Korn Ferry provides an empowering and motivating definition of confidence which I like to work with: “Confidence is…the power to produce the life you want – one that reflects your goals, needs, hopes, dreams, desires, and ambitions – it comes from taking action based on what you are capable of doing currently, as well as what you believe you can become capable of doing in the future.”

Most people that I coach who have a desire to improve their confidence, don’t start out with such a clear definition. This is largely due to the fact that we experience confidence at a very personal level and often express it in vague and difficult to action ways such as: “I want to be able to present with confidence” or “I want to have the confidence to apply for promotional opportunities”. Here are 3 simple steps to defining and developing what confidence means for you.

Step 1 is to first describe the current situation in which you lack confidence. For example: “When I present now my voice sounds weak, people don’t pay attention to what I say and the decisions I need are left unmade”. Then rewrite the same situation as it would look like with confidence. This becomes: “When I present I will command attention, make my points clearly and succinctly, invite discussion from my participants, and ensure that I leave with commitments for follow up action”.

Step 2 is to identify where your confidence gap is being driven by a lack of self-esteem or whether it may be self-efficacy.

Self-esteem relates to our sense of coping with what is going on in our lives. Useful tools for building self-esteem include recalling past achievements, identifying your strengths, reframing negative self-talk and encouraging positive thinking. These strategies reinforce self-value and provide a greater ability to face challenges such as standing up and speaking to a group of people.

Self-efficacy relates to our mastery of skills; how competent we feel pursuing goals that are important to us. Do we have the knowledge and skills we require to achieve our goals? To support us in mastering a successful presentation, for example, we could choose to undertake presentation skills training, attend conferences to observe expert speakers, practice presentation topics with our peers and so forth. These strategies support our ability to complete our goals successfully.

Step 3 is to set small, achievable learning goals once we have identified the most appropriate development strategy for us. Experiencing success, however, small increases our self-esteem and supports our self-efficacy.

For further information and coaching in developing confidence for individual and teams, contact fleur@blueberryinstitute.com or call 0404 559 244, for a complimentary coffee discussion.