Coaching for confidence

And so we come to what we as coaches can do to help those we coach feel more confident – ready for whatever challenge they have set themselves, able to put their doubts and concerns in place and bring out the very best of all their preparation for the experience, learning or event ahead of them.

In the workshops we introduce a novel model that opens up distinct dimensions of confidence, focused on place, past, present and paths.  Within this, there is a strong emphasis on ways of coaching that help people be more attuned to their formeffort and movement, able to reflect and respond in the moment - mirroring much of the processes we explored in furthering our own self-confidence as coaches.  The model also provides a framework for re-framing and shifting our athletes' mindsets and focus.

dip into the deatil

Where it starts:

A PB, a podium place and a medal, a qualifying place in the GB team or a performance of a lifetime hang in the balance.  Or maybe our challenge is to help someone who comes to us for the first time, wanting to confront a big fear to try something new but wracked by uncertainty and self-doubt.  Or perhaps within a club in front of us stands a young person, desperately wanting to succeed, awkward and shy; maybe with an anxious or judging parent watching in the wings.

The ‘Ten Top Tips’ and other expert features in magazines or online might offer us some pointers but are unlikely to suit all these very different, yet very typical circumstances.

In contrast, for Confidence Centred Coaching the starting point is the person in front of us – what concerns they have, what their challenge is and what feelings it brings out in them.  Our instincts might also be to reach straight for solutions.  Again, the first step in Confidence Centred Coaching, however, is to listen and find out more.

Where it leads:

For many people all their emotional energy and focus can be on how they perform - so often one hears people saying they are worried about "coming last" (unlikely but still deeply felt); or they might beat themselves up about not being able to master a particular technique or hit a certain pace, convincing themselves that they are "a hopeless case".  The notion of fixed and growth mindsets from the first Learning Zone, is relevant here.  Taking this further, for Confident Centred Coaching we challenge those we coach to think of a different way of defining success: focused on going into any event or challenge with a sense of excitement and being ready to surprise themselves, as if shifting the finish line to the start - and letting the performance take care of itself.  The results can be extraordinary.

Building blocks:

There are at least three aspects that provide a way in to helping instil sustainable confidence in those we coach:

- first, control and uncertainty: this is about preparedness and able to be on top of those things that we can control and being at ease about the uncertainties beyond anyone's control

- second, excitement and engagement in the moment: here we want to shift the focus from worrying about end performance, as if the finishing line defines success or failure, and instead nurture a sense of being wholeheartedly present, able to be wholly focused on the moment

- and third, fluency:  some of the ideas around flow – as pioneered by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi – are helpful here.  “Flow is about engagement, control and highly focused attention.”  Taking this a step further, Confidence Centred Coaching looks to attune those we coach to what we term a composed attentiveness to their formeffort and movement.


Shifts and Scripts:

The ideas of shifts and reframing are central to much of Sports Psychology.  One of the useful frameworks here is about consciously switching our attention and focus from external to inner and from wider to narrow stimuli.  In the workshops and consultations we look at a range of real life examples that bring this to life.

Closely linked is another useful tool from the Sports Psychologists’ locker: the idea of scripts.  These are all about what someone might say to themselves at different points.  In Confidence Centred Coaching this does not mean shouting at oneself to go faster or just bear the pain!  It means developing a set of prepared scripts for use in different situations and at different points, all rehearsed before a big challenging event - which again we flesh out and make real in the workshops.

Where we want to get to:

  • those we coach feeling excited and ready to surprise themselves with what they can do
  • for them to have a mastery of the moment, attuned to their form, effort and movement
  • and for them to carry that confidence into other exciting, fulfilling challenges


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