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How to Establish Confidence in your Coaching Practice

This week Lisa Finck (A.C.C.), Brooke Adair Walters (M.C.P.C.), Jerome LeDuff Jr (M.C.L.C.), and Kyle Rodriguez explore ways for new coaches to overcome a lack of confidence as they step into their first client meetings.

Confidence. We all could use more of it at times. Building confidence is a never ending process as we constantly evolve. It’s not only necessary in your coaching practice but also in your personal lives. We’re all better with confidence as it makes us perform better and feel more engaged in what we’re doing. Today we discuss why we might not feel confident in certain areas and how to boost our confidence when we need the kickstart to take that first step.

What really is confidence? Merriam-Webster defines it as “a feeling of self-assurance arising from one’s own appreciation of one’s abilities or qualities.” However confidence is multi-faceted. Not only is it something you have in yourself, it’s also something you can place in other people, ideas, and things.

Where do you lack confidence?

Once you understand the source of your lack of confidence, you can overcome it through addressing the cause. As we analyze our confidence gaps, we understand that a lack of confidence often comes from a lack of knowledge and/or facing the unknown. Recognizing that allows us to gain the knowledge to face the unknown, which organically creates confidence.

For example, CLCI CEO Lisa Finck (A.C.C) often lacks confidence when it comes to technology because she doesn’t fully understand how it functions. By acknowledging where her lack of confidence stems from, she can gain confidence in technology by learning about it.

This can also be debilitating because you don’t know how to move forward or how to get started, you can be paralyzed by the fear of taking that first step. In our video today, we discuss all the different tools you can use to move forward and what to do once you’ve taken that first step.

How to manage imposter syndrome.

As a new coach, it’s natural to feel unconfident when facing your first session with a client. Whenever starting something new, you’re going to feel doubt. It’s important to remember that anyone can do anything if they take the time to sit down, learn how to do it, and try it.

Why It’s Okay to Fail

When starting a new job, employees start to feel confident once they’re a few weeks in. The level of comfort within the new role increases, which naturally increases confidence. Statistically, the first 6-9 months in a new role will see the most confident employees. Consequently, this is also when the majority of mistakes are made in a role as confident employees start experimenting more. This is where we have to realize that mistakes are okay when you can recognize them.

a spilled coffee mug with coffee splattered all over papers. there is also a calculator and reading glasses sitting on the papers.

The fear of making mistakes prevents us from taking risks and contributes to lack of confidence. As people, we are our own worst critics. We don’t allow ourselves to make mistakes even though we will forgive others for their mistakes without hesitation. In reality, we think our own mistakes are much graver than they actually are. Most of us are not flying planes or performing surgery. We can afford to make mistakes because we can recover from them.

Making mistakes, failing, is how we learn and build confidence. Get out there and fail. Failure is just a learning opportunity. You can bounce back from failure with more information and experience. Fail and learn from it because that’s how you become confident.

Ways to boost confidence:

  • Test environment. When facing a new situation where you lack confidence in the outcome, it’s a great idea to explore a new situation in a sandbox environment with a safety net. You can move forward without the fear of failure because you have a backup plan.

  • Plan. Plans are a great tool for creating confidence. When you face a new situation, you can focus back on the plan whenever you experience doubt. You’re not flying blind.

  • Practice. Similarly, practice and experience with a situation will naturally give you confidence.

  • Affirmations. Trust me they work. Psyching yourself up before a nerve wracking moment, telling yourself you can do this, will yield better results. It might feel silly at first but it tells your brain that you CAN do this.

  • Don’t be afraid of failing. Failure is how we learn.

  • Fake it till you make it. Pretending to be confident in a situation will eventually give you the experience you need to actually be confident.

  • Talk through it. Whether it’s a confidante or your community, bouncing ideas off and receiving feedback will naturally give you confidence as you gain an awareness of your own capabilities.

  • Self care. When we’re not feeling our best, we will not feel confident. Taking care of yourself by providing your body with rest, fuel, exercise, joy, etc. will provide the best base to build confidence off of.

How can we prepare ourselves to be a good coach right out of the gate?

Becoming an accredited coach gives you unique tools to overcome new challenges and a massive support system of an experienced coach community to rely on and get advice from. Having an accreditation in your background heavily influences your ability to be a good coach because you’re not entering a new experience without any knowledge. CLCI will give you Community, Confidence, and Credentials.

Immediately after our course, coaches often feel excited and confident about the journey ahead of them. This early confidence will most likely wane but there’s ways to regain that confidence you felt at the beginning of your journey.

Like with exercise, when we get a break period, we lose the initial adrenaline and it’s difficult to get the energy to start up again. Maintaining a regular coaching schedule will prevent this “restart fatigue” from blocking your confidence.

Rejection. It Hurts.

As a new coach, you also are developing your client base and advertising a lot with a lot of rejection feedback. We’re human. Being told “no” sucks.

several cards with the word "no" on them spiraling down into a pile of more cards with "no"

It’s time to reframe our reaction to the word “no.” How do you turn that “no” into motivation instead of defeat? Adjusting your mindset to looking at rejection as a step on the way to the “yes” that is out there.

Rejection is also valuable. You get so much more information learning about why or how something failed, so that you can improve your strategy for the next time. Each no is an opportunity for feedback.

We also live in a world where people never respond at all. Getting that response from someone tells you that you impacted them enough to tell you know. Maybe you’ve planted a seed for them to consider coaching in the future or refer a friend. Whatever you did, getting a no is a sign that something worked.

Once you’ve got the clients and you’re looking at your first sessions, you might feel fear about what to do during the session. Stay present and engaged and remember, there is no right and wrong as long as you are attentive. There’s no perfect script to follow in a session and your clients don’t have expectations on what you should be doing during the session. It’s okay to take a moment to think through the path forward.

Remember, you will make mistakes. You might ask a “why” question. Keep in mind that you will be able to rebound from any mistakes as long as you’re remaining present and thoughtful with your client. There is no “perfect” in this space. Keep it simple and it will move forward. And if all else fails, just repeat back to your client what they said to you. We call it the “get out of jail” card for a reason!

As you move forward with your coaching career, it’s important to continue learning. Aristotle says “the more you know, the more you realize you do not know.” When we forget this and think there is nothing left to learn, that is when confidence has become a problem.

When can confidence be detrimental?

Studies show humans are biased towards new experiences. We think new things are easier to do than they are. We also forget how difficult things were to overcome and lose empathy towards others in the same boat. We have to acknowledge these biases and remind ourselves that we are not perfect and amazing at everything we do. Sometimes this might require an experiential failure where we confidently jump headfirst into a new situation and realize we were not prepared at all.

We just need to be humble and mindful of ourselves. Admitting when you don’t know how to do something not only gives you the space to learn and figure it out but it also shows others that you are cognizant of yourself. We call this quiet confidence because the person who has everything together doesn’t need to flaunt it to others.

Your Gift to Coach

If you’re in the space of wanting to coach, you have the gift of wanting to coach. Remember this gift because not everyone has this desire. Whether it comes from being helped and wanting to pay it forward or from having experience to share, no one can take this gift away from you.

You might never feel 100% confident at the start of your coaching career, and that’s okay. However, filling up your toolkit will make you the most prepared and therefore the most confident from the get go.


Thank you,

Lisa Finck, Brooke Adair Walters, Jerome LeDuff Jr., and Kyle Rodriguez.

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