Ok, confession time – I wouldn’t describe myself as a naturally confident person. In fact, I spent most of my childhood, teens and early twenties being terrified at the prospect of having to present in front of a group (no matter how small). If I had to do a presentation, I would lie awake the night before, imagining everything going wrong – and when I had to present, my knees would physically shake.
However, I was also ambitious and I knew that if I was to progress in my career, I had to overcome my FEAR. At that time in my life I had never heard of NLP, let alone studied it, so I had to rely on my own determination to get me past that feeling of being terrified to confident. So what did I do? I put myself out there. Instead of hiding from situations which made me feel uncomfortable, I actually looked for them. My theory was that practice makes
perfect confident (well, ish). But over time, that is what happened – I stopped dreading those presentations, and just got on and did them. Eventually, I even began to enjoy presenting because the instant feedback is quite gratifying. And of course now, I coach and train people for a living so presentations are second nature to me – who would have believed it all those years ago?
Would I now describe myself as a confident person? No, definitely not – but I completely hold the belief that my (lack of) confidence should never hold me back. At the end of the day, with some practice (and positive thinking – thank you, NLP!) I can achieve whatever I set my mind to.
In coaching I meet people all the time who want to make improvements to their lives. They might come to me because they want a promotion at work, want to make more profit in their business or because they are struggling with workload or their work in general.
In fact, there could be and often are, lots of reasons why someone decides that coaching might be for them. But there is usually a common element to how coaching goes. There is usually a problem the person wants to solve, we take time to discuss this and the client comes up with possible solutions – but it doesn’t end there: in fact, it’s usually at this point, that other issues emerge. These issues have nothing to do with the person not being able to see what they need to do, or even having the ability to do what they need to do – it is usually that the person doesn’t feel that they can do it.
An example of this is a client who knows that in order to grow her business she needs to make at least 10 cold calls to potential clients per week – but does she do this? No.
In this case, the reason why the client can’t move forward is due to lack of confidence, but it can equally be past trauma, things going on at home, or concern that achieving their goal might give them a negative consequence (think of people who don’t want to achieve their income goals because they’re concerned that others will think differently of them; or it doesn’t sit comfortably with their beliefs – but negative unintended consequences could be anything).
This means that coaching is not as simple as helping a client find solutions for them to meet their goal. I have to work with, and consider the person as a whole: working with beliefs, personal objections and confidence in order to truly make a breakthrough. And that is why you cannot separate the task from the individual.
And employers – if you have a member of staff that is not performing, don’t just jump to the conclusion that it is a capability issue, consider your valued employee as a whole person!