07 Nov The Importance of “Confidence” in Workplace Performance Improvement
For the coaching process to be successful when its purpose is workplace performance improvement, the person being coached must believe they can accomplish the objectives that their coach and they have agreed are necessary for them to be able to improve their performance – to bridge The Gap between where their current Management/Leadership Skill Set is and where it needs to be.
This requires the person being coached have a certain degree of self-confidence, for while the coach can be supportive, offer advice and recommendations as to how to accomplish an objective (i.e. improving their leadership skill set by becoming a better presenter), and assist them in developing an Action Plan, the person being coached still must believe they can do the Action Steps before any progress will be made.
The following excerpt is from an article by Indria Raman, a scientist who is also a woman, is the best explanation of the importance of self-confidence and how it can be achieved (I have bolded the words that resonate strongly with me):
“And that has led us to the third category, of how one sees oneself. My conversations give me the impression that many women see themselves as limited by a stereotype defined by traits that hinder success, such as nervousness and lack of confidence. Many women (and men) find it distressing that they get nervous before any public performance – from submitting a manuscript to delivering a seminar – and they read within their own reactions a critique of their scientific worth. I maintain, however, that nervousness is underrated. When used properly, it can spur you to prepare, think carefully, reflect, practice, and ultimately do a fine job. Only when anxiety becomes paralytic does it become problematic. Otherwise, self-doubt need not be perceived as a handicap. In fact, it is central to the progress of science. The best work is not achieved through complacency.
One might argue, however, that the best work does depend on confidence – specifically, on people who have confidence in the work they do. But confidence (when it isn’t foolhardiness) is not a mystical quality, either innate or granted by a mentor. Confidence is just memory. It is the memory of having faced challenges and overcome them through your own efforts, frequently enough so that the awareness of having surmounted difficulties before makes your brain quite sensibly anticipate that you will do so again. The only way to gain confidence is to do, and then to observe your triumphs and failures, and to edit your behavior until the triumphs exceed the failures sufficiently often for the most logical prediction to be that of success. And your memory is, arguably, what confers individuality.”
Wow!! Usually I have something more to add but the only thing I can say is “I wish I had written this!” I hope those who are struggling to find their place in the work environment – both men and women – read this and start overcoming the inevitable barriers and start “doing.” Only then will they have the confidence to achieve their potential – and we, as a society, need everyone to achieve their potential.