Feeling confident

How often do you wake up feeling like you’ve got the world at your feet, ready to conquer whatever comes your way? If you’re anything like me, those days might be the butterflies in the city—beautiful, but not seen too often. That self-critic, on the other hand, seems to have a daily coffee date with us.

In this read, we’re diving into the nitty-gritty of confidence – what it is, how it slips through the cracks, and the role a life coach can play in building yourself back up to see those lovely butterflies more often.

As a transformational life coach, I have been working on supporting people like you to confidently build fulfilling lives. Ready to dive into it together?

What is confidence?

Confidence, at its core, is linked to one’s self-image—the way we perceive and value ourselves. It’s the unwavering belief in your abilities and the conviction that you possess the skills to navigate life’s challenges successfully.

Projecting confidence is not merely a surface-level display but an outward manifestation of a positive self-image. It helps you gain credibility, make lasting impressions and equip you to handle pressure in the most demanding situations. It also helps others believe in you and put them at ease.

Confidence is not innate, rather it’s something you acquire and can improve over time. For example, if you don’t feel confident in social settings, you can become more confident by interacting with people in a safe space, then slowly progressing to more challenging things like presenting in a meeting.

If confidence is about believing in your abilities, then self-doubt is the inner critic that questions your abilities, worth and potential. Confidence is not the absence of self-doubt, it’s rather having a realistic sense of your capabilities e.g. where you stand about your ideal confident self and a sense that you can grow and develop.

However, we don’t always see ourselves in an objective way, which causes us to over- or underestimate our abilities. When someone underestimates their abilities, they have a low tolerance for reasonable risk, thus leaving opportunities on the table. In contrast, when someone is too confident about their abilities, they might break promises, miss deadlines or deliver poor-quality projects.

When we let the inner critic win, we might have thoughts like “Am I good enough?“Do I do well?”, “Is my work acceptable?”, “Am I worthy of this person?” and we experience fear and uncertainty.

Negative thoughts and questioning one’s abilities can create a cycle that reinforces self-doubt, making it harder to feel confident. Addressing self-doubt often involves recognizing and challenging negative beliefs, cultivating self-compassion and a positive mindset, as well as celebrating victories and progress.

What does having low confidence look like?

Let’s imagine you want to do something courageous – want to speak up in meetings more, let people around you know what you think, respond better to constructive feedback, take things less personally, take on more challenging projects or anything personal to you.

But when you want to do it, you freeze, get angry and that voice in your head says it’s no good anyway. Then the dreaded “why” comes up. “Why can’t I just do it? Why me? Why does no one else have this problem??”

You might ask a family member or friend for help and you hear the standard “Just do it,” or “Be patient with yourself”. Someone might give some more helpful advice like “Prepare and practice what you want to say or do, so it’s easier to say what you want in the situation.” You try to prepare but it doesn’t help.

In the end, you still don’t know what to do or change, you feel stuck and the inner critic has won.

woman holding her head worries low confidence

However, coaches are trained to support in situations like this because their whole profession is about unravelling unhelpful thoughts and emotions to make behaviour change possible. Your coach will take time to tailor the techniques and approach to your specific needs.

You can find out more about what coaching is and how you can benefit from it in the linked articles.

Your Coach Will Help You Confront Your Inner Critic

First of all, a coach will take the time to explore and delve deeper into your circumstances by asking targeted questions. They will aim to identify the negative thoughts and limiting beliefs to challenge and reframe them by e.g. focusing on what you do well and highlighting your strengths.

For example, through asking questions like “What comes up when you want to do x?” “What thoughts and feelings come up when you want to be more confident?” “What does it mean to you to be confident?” the coach might uncover that you think or feel that you “don’t have anything to contribute anyway.”

Thus, your coach will work with you to reframe and believe that you have valuable things to contribute. This might feel quite unnatural at first and the inner critic might come with all kinds of reasons as to why you can’t change. Both your coach and you will work on dismantling one limiting belief at a time until you have enough self-belief to go out there and show how strong you are. This mental shift will help you gain more self-esteem and confidence, and help you to speak up for yourself more.

Your Coach Will Push You to Achieve More

When working towards becoming more confident, your coach will ask you for milestones, actions and behaviours to work towards. For example, speaking more in meetings can be quite an undefined goal. A more defined goal would be “I want to present in the next company meetings about the results of my team.”

Your coach will then ensure that the goal is achievable and realistic for the circumstances you are in. It would be a shame to not deliver on the goal because the meeting is in a week and the agenda is already full. In other words, your coach will make sure you think of the details that will support you through your journey and rightsize your goals to make them specific and achievable in the timeframe you set.

Sometimes the goal might not be ambitious enough. Your coach, in this case, would serve as a motivating force, encouraging you to stretch beyond the self-imposed limits and reach for greater heights. Delivering on those stretch goals will grow your self-esteem and instil a sense of ambition.

Lastly, your coach will support you in recognizing and acknowledging your achievements, no matter how big or small. This is especially important when the inner critic in your head tries to diminish them. Building a list of small successes whilst working towards a long-term goal is a pivotal part of building positive momentum and fostering increased confidence.

It’s this combination of strategic goal-setting, consistent effort, and acknowledging successes that would propel you towards continuous growth and accomplishment.

Your Coach Will Give You a Soundboard for Your Thoughts

A crucial part of your journey to confidence is working with self-doubt while maintaining a realistic perspective on your skills and abilities. Yet, opening up about perceived shortcomings can feel daunting and exposing.

A skilled coach will create a secure environment where you can freely articulate your thoughts and challenges without fear of being judged. Your coach will respect your pace of conversation. For example, if you would like to take a moment to process what is coming up, your coach will sit with you while you are processing. This can be either by you talking through it or in silence.

Your coach would also help you articulate what is going on for you with powerful questions and reflections. Hearing your words said back to you can unveil insights that might have not been apparent during solo reflections. By mirroring your thoughts back to you, you would be able to see them from a different angle and gain a more balanced perspective.

The role of your coach as a soundboard is to validate and challenge where appropriate. Validating your ideas, thoughts and feelings can boost your confidence. On the other hand, challenging your assumptions will help you clarify, refine and strengthen your self-image.

Your Coach Will Support You Through Your Fears

There are fears and then there are fears. Fear is an instinctive response when we sense danger or feel unsafe. For example, you might experience fear of failure, not being liked or being vulnerable. Feeling fear is natural and helpful because it indicates you might lose something important to you and prepares you to fight for it

However, there is a point where you move from “fight or flight” into the “freeze” state. It’s the body’s way of saying, “Let’s pause and assess the situation carefully.” You might experience this when your mind wants to act but your body feels reluctant to follow. This can hinder you from asserting yourself and following through with your decisions and goals.

Your coach would build awareness around your triggers as well as thoughts, emotions and behaviours in those instances. Your coach will also support you with developing coping mechanisms e.g. grounding techniques to connect to your body, positive self-talk, deep breathing, or reviewing goals to add manageable steps.

Moreover, the “freeze” fear state is often accompanied by self-critical thoughts and judgements. Your coach can help you reframe those and build self-compassion by fostering a kind and understanding attitude towards yourself. For example, instead of viewing the freeze response as a personal failure, your coach might help you recognize it as a normal response to a stressful situation.

Those interventions will help you to give your body a signal that the danger is manageable, thus reducing stress and opening up the space to act. Thus helping you to follow through on your goals, build confidence and resilience and overall improve your mental health.

Your Coach Will Help You Establish Healthier Habits

What came first? Habits like procrastination, negative self-talk, and people-pleasing or low self-esteem? Sadly, those often interact and reinforce each other cyclically.

For example, engaging in procrastination or negative self-talk may contribute to feelings of inadequacy and lower self-esteem. Conversely, low self-esteem may lead to habits that reinforce negative thoughts and behaviours.

Furthermore, habits such as procrastination and people-pleasing can be learned coping mechanisms developed to manage or alleviate the stress associated with low self-esteem. These habits might provide temporary relief but can further contribute to a negative cycle.

Your coach will support you in understanding the root causes and dynamics of those habits and low self-esteem so that you can break them. The techniques and methods would be tailored to you but it would be a combination of identifying and reshaping limiting beliefs, encouraging positive self-talk, finding support, helping with building helpful habits, incorporating self-care, refocusing on the process and many more.

By addressing the underlying dynamics and introducing targeted strategies, your coach can guide someone toward breaking the cycle and fostering positive change.

Your Coach Serves as an Accountability and Consistency Partner

Beyond offering guidance and reflection, your coach ensures you stay committed and on track for your goals. Your coach will ask about the agreements from past meetings and the barriers you encountered. Having to report back on your progress can sometimes be enough of a motivation to get you moving.

For example, you decided previously that you would present in the company meeting to work on your confidence. You let your coach know and you expect him to ask how it went the next time you see each other. Knowing that it’s coming, you do prepare a presentation. It goes well and you are happy to explain how nervous you were but that you didn’t back down.

Now let’s imagine, you didn’t present at the company meeting. In this case, you will still need to let your coach know. Only, this time, you might discuss how you found it challenging to prepare an impactful presentation & you didn’t think you should go and talk about it.

In this case, your coach might shift the rest of the session about how the presentation should have looked versus what you made to understand whether the goal was too ambitious or there is a habit of perfectionism involved. Your coach would further dive into what was discovered.

Now let’s imagine the impact this might have when working with a coach for 3-12 months. The accountability and consistency of your meetings alone will ensure meaningful change, which will in turn help you build your confidence.

The takeaway

Confidence is linked to self-image and the belief in one’s abilities. It involves a positive self-perception and the conviction that you can successfully navigate life’s challenges. Your coach, through a tailored and supportive approach, plays a crucial role in helping you build and enhance your confidence. This involves setting specific and achievable goals, creating a safe space for self-expression, supporting individuals in managing their fears, and establishing healthier habits.

Your coach will employ powerful questions and reflections to guide you through your self-reflections and strategic goal-setting. They will emphasise acknowledging successes contributes to continuous growth to increase self-esteem, and ultimately, greater confidence.

The approach combines psychological support, goal-oriented guidance, and accountability to empower you on your journey. Have you ever felt held back by self-doubt or frustrated over not making progress towards becoming more confident? What if you had a partner to help you overcome those barriers and unlock your true potential?

Ready to transform your life? Let’s conquer your challenges together! Book your free introductory call or email me at contact@janjaport.com. Your journey to unstoppable confidence and satisfaction starts now.