Number 6 of our 7 C’s of purpose is confidence and boy is this a big one. I have heard lots of conflicting things about confidence, where it comes from and how it can be nurtured. Some research even suggests that confidence cannot be nurtured at all, that you are either born with it or you are not; sounds a bit bleak to me.
Confidence comes up all the time in my coaching practice for all sorts of reasons but there are a couple of common themes. Firstly is a loss of confidence due to a particular incident; this often isn’t even the fault of my coachee but someone what has happened to them only reaffirms some of the insecurities they have about themselves, causing them to doubt any of the positives about themselves.
The second is loss of confidence due to comparison; and this little nasty gets the better of all of us at one point or another. Holding ourselves against another is going to highlight differences, that is a fact. But what makes us different is what makes us unique, and often these are the key to our strengths. More to the point we compare the outside of others to the inside of ourselves, when actually, if we got inside the head of that person, I am pretty sure they would be just as scared and self-conscious as we are.
So how does a person go about coaching for confidence? There are a number of ways to do this including exploring the articular incident or limiting belief, but ultimately it comes down to self-acceptance, not loving yourself necessarily, but believing yourself worthy of kindness, compassion, care, and effort. This starts with self-awareness.
Confidence is a topic of conversation for coaches as well as coachees. At the end of the day we are just human and suffer the same issues of comparison and insecurity. The trick for us is to not let any of our feelings, positive or negative, to influence the sessions we hold in any way; they are not about us. Confidence is something we have studied recently in my academic studies and have discussed at length the Hawkins and Smith API model, which stands for Authority, Presence, and Impact, or, more simply, past, present, and future.
For me, I have made my peace with the past; 9 times out of ten I can look back without pain or fear of memories, and it has been a journey in itself to get to that place. The past used to feel like having a bear on the loose, knowing it was coming for me but never quite sure where, when, or how. Now the past walks with me like a big dog, it sits with me in the quiet moments, and it guides me through the dark times on the rare occasion when they do come.
The future on the other hand is a burning ray of possibilities; it is continually expanding as I meet more and more people and learn more and more about myself and the world around me. The future is hopeful and powerful and so exciting. This comes from knowing not what I want to be but who I want to be, the things I want to be remembered for. It is this knowledge that drives me forward because I love that person and I hope I get a little bit more like her every day.
It is the now where my confidence wobbles; the ability to take up space in a room or a relationship, to not hover in doorways, continually hold back, or make myself small so that others can have more room. Thankfully, I don’t feel like that when I coach; here I am rock solid, gentle, firm, able to handle anything that gets thrown at me. Therefore, I don’t agree that confidence is something you either have or you don’t; we already have inside of us everything that we need, sometimes we just need a little help to tease it out.