Friday, May 10, 2013

Build Confidence With Executive Coaching

Having confidence as a leader does not always come naturally, and many seek executive coaching to help address confidence issues both for themselves and for the benefit of their teams.

The Importance of Confidence in A Leadership Role


“A good leader inspires others with confidence in him; a great leader inspires them with confidence in themselves”. This anonymous quote sums up perfectly the need for confidence in a leadership role – having confidence in your own actions and decisions will inspire others to also feel confident about themselves. The flip side is also true, a lack of confidence from a leader will demotivate team members, driving them to question decisions, actions and responsibilities.

Without addressing deficiencies in leadership confidence levels via avenues such as executive coaching, companies can soon find employee loyalty on the ebb. This is supported by the Hillcroft House report ‘UK Management Culture of Fear’ which found that the quality of essential leadership and engagement skills necessary for a manager halved between 2008 and 2012, and also suggests that 93% of employees would strongly consider leaving their employer due to poor leadership style.

As a leader, confidence is needed in many areas. From direction setting, through to social confidence and self-confidence in one’s own levels of knowledge and competence.

Decision Making and Direction Setting

Leaders who lack confidence will generally find it harder to make decisions, and in particular they may have difficulties setting goals and a clear direction for their team. Fear of making the wrong decision can lead to no clear decision at all, or switching direction part way through a project instead of following through. This uncertainty can cause tremendous stress and morale problems within a team, and leads to poor business performance generally. Through completing an executive coaching programme, leaders will be able to communicate with a sense of mission and value, providing the strategy and the platform to allow their people to achieve results.

Social Confidence

Relationships are key to results and people often choose to support and work hard for a leader because of their personal qualities and because they feel that they have a positive connection with that person.

Leaders who are not confident about interacting with people – either generally, or with specific people – will tend to withdraw from making effective relationships with their teams. A lack of social interaction and contact can make team members feel disconnected from the leader personally, resulting in less motivation to achieve goals set by them.

And for some team members, a lack of social connection with the team leader can become a source of dislike and even antagonism, which can further undermine the leader’s authority and their confidence, leading to even more avoidance of social interaction.

During executive coaching leaders learn to motivate others by being authentic, generating trust and optimism throughout their teams.

Self Confidence

Especially for those moving to a new company or taking on a new role, leaders who feel that they don’t know enough about their job can behave apprehensively. Different processes, as well as the need to learn new products, can cause insecurity even if they are more than capable of learning what’s needed.

With coaching leaders will have the ability to recognise their strengths and what they bring to their teams, drawing on these to highlight their capabilities rather than development needs.

Steps to Improving Confidence

During a programme of executive coaching leaders will be taken personally through a journey to build their self-confidence:

1. Articulating the problem
– looking at what form the leader’s lack of confidence is taking and what problems it is causing,  providing the leader with a private space to express their doubts and map out the problem.

2. Identifying limiting beliefs underlying lack of confidence and clearing or modifying those beliefs – for example some leaders may feel that they need to continuously evaluate and self-criticise in order to succeed.

3. Working on growing self-belief and trust in their own decisions – focusing on what the leader’s strengths are, and encouraging them to trust in these in order to make decisions that they feel confident about.

4. Taking control and putting actions in place to address areas for development – this could be further self-development aimed at improving particular skills, for example public speaking or getting training in a specific area of knowledge. Or it could entail setting up mechanisms at work to address particular issues, for example if social confidence is an issue, creating opportunities for social interaction with colleagues, through team building, shared events, etc.

Benefits of Improved Confidence

As well as the personal benefits of becoming a more confident leader, allowing less self-doubt, less stress and an all-round happier working environment, confidence inspires better business performance - better goal setting and better vision – all leading to a more focused workforce, with better buy-in from the team and heightened productivity.

And investing in executive coaching does not just benefit the leader themselves. Speaking at a recent event, Dr Mark Winwood, clinical director for psychological health at AXA PPP Healthcare, said that "the two most commonly reported contributors to stress are poor line management and long working hours" and that “line managers should be coached and supported to become the best people managers they can be.” So encouraging a better management style and greater employee engagement will make teams happier, more loyal and, Hay Group figures suggest, up to 43% more productive.

Find out more about executive coaching  from Inspiring Potential and the benefits it could have for you.

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