Here’s what it means to be confident in life and work in 2020 and how coaching can help you get there
When I trained to be a life coach, I knew I wanted to help people tap into their self-worth and build confidence. Why? Because I had experienced first hand what a powerful effect building confidence had on my mental health and on my career.
Working as a coach in this area I’ve noticed trends come and go, and I was keen to look at how things are changing for the future. Some of us have preconceived notions of what a confident person looks like, sounds like, acts like... and it’s time for us to challenge those assumptions.
What does it mean to be confident in 2020?
Speaking to NLP and coach trainer Rebecca Lockwood, we both agreed that confidence is becoming more about self-acceptance and less about trying to be someone you’re not.
“I see a huge trend in people coming to the realisation that being happy and content in who they are is the most confident thing they can do. People used to believe that being confident meant speaking to new people, standing up and doing public speaking in groups of people and putting yourself out there.
“What I’m seeing more and more is that people are becoming educated through life coaches, social media influences and are coming to terms with the fact that confidence isn't really about any of those things.”
Confidence is no longer about being the loudest person in the room. It’s about understanding ourselves better and playing to our unique strengths rather than squeezing ourselves into the moulds laid out for us.
And as Rebecca says, more of us are learning from coaches. Whether we follow them online, listen to their podcasts or invest in one-to-one coaching, we’re starting to recognise the impact confidence has on both career and personal life, and we’re more willing to invest in support in this area.
Talking to Ellen Hoggard, content manager at Happiful, she tells me about her experience of coaching and how it had a bigger effect than she expected.
“I went in with the aim to feel a bit more confident and sure of myself in my career – and came away with the knowledge that I do know what I'm doing, I'm good at what I do and I can do so much more. And it's impacted more than just my work life. Every aspect of my life has changed for the better.
“Eight months on, I'm confident and share my opinions, ideas and feedback without hesitation. I trust my instinct so much more now, and it's a relief to not be worrying about things constantly.”
An important point to make here is that we all have the power to be more confident. Some of us may have obstacles in the way they need to work through, but confidence isn’t something some people have and others don’t.
If we need a little support to navigate these obstacles, coaches can help us do that and help us see what’s already within us. It’s not about learning tricks to ‘appear confident’, It’s about understanding what you’re already capable of.
Confidence is about being OK with who you are and not giving a crap what other people think
Coming back from confidence knocks
For some of us, specific life circumstances and events knock our confidence. Natalie Trice, Independent PR Consultant and Writer, chose to work with a coach after balancing building a PR business and dealing with an unwell child left her feeling like she had lost her identity.
“I knew something had to change, so I started to work with a coach in her membership group. Slowly I would join in conversations, come up with ideas and start to admit that I didn't really know who I was or what I wanted to do anymore.
“We worked on confidence and mindset as well as looking at the reality of a situation and not just thinking that there was nothing to salvage, because that simply wasn't the case, I just needed to believe in myself again.”
Understanding the power our thoughts have and changing our mindset is a huge part of building confidence. Developing greater self-awareness here is key – the more we understand how our thoughts affect our actions, the more control we have over them.
This is something Katie Hoare, digital marketing executive at Happiful, noted about her coaching experience. She tells me she wanted help her let go of a previous destructive relationship and how this affected the way she thought about herself.
“Coaching really helped me understand why I felt negatively towards myself, and not in terms of my previous relationship, but in terms of the language I was using towards myself. It helped me learn strategies that challenged my negative thoughts and supported me in understanding my worth and how I want to present myself to the world.”
Often these negative thoughts we experience (often referred to as the inner-critic) can be particularly pervasive in our work-life. We might experience imposter syndrome and be very critical of ourselves. This is something Cameron, who works at Voice Communications, says was helped through corporate coaching.
“By working with a coach, I’ve developed a solid understanding of what issues I have and the problems that were stopping me from excelling at work. For example, I’m very self-critical and often struggle to accept praise. Now that I fully understand this, and with the help of our life coach, I’m no longer so hard on myself.”
Confidence is no longer about being the loudest person in the room. It’s about understanding ourselves and playing to our unique strengths
Confidence in 2020 starts with self-awareness, self-acceptance and self-compassion. Once we have these in place we can learn to stop worrying what others think so much. Rebecca sums it up rather nicely, “Confidence is about being OK with who you are and not giving a crap what other people think.”
“It is about knowing that you can speak from a place that feels comfortable and not worry that people may not agree or ridicule you,” she says. “Confidence is about doing things that you love and not thinking about anything other than the present moments while you are living them.”
There are many different avenues you can take to work on your confidence from coaching and counselling to hypnotherapy and more unusual approaches. However you choose to do it, try to let go of the stereotypes associated with confidence and tread your own path.
Your uniqueness is your superpower.