Research Paper By Chloe Case
(Business Coach, CANADA)
In the process of trying to decide what my final assignment was going to be about, I realized there was a recurring theme that seemed to be jumping off the page of every website I looked at, every article I read, and every Google search I made. The topic of confidence in coaching seemed to be mentioned everywhere I looked – whether it was the importance of the coach being confident in their craft, clients looking to be coached on confidence, what questions to ask to inspire confidence in our clients, or even different methods and studies conducted on what makes people confident, and what it means to be confident. I could not find an article that was discussing coaching that did not mention the term “confidence”.
I decided that this was something too prevalent to not be what I wrote my paper on, so I deep dived into this word, what it means, how it applies to both coaches and clients, and the multitude of ways it impacts coaching as a whole. I even discovered that there are a handful of coaches that I came across that refer to themselves as “Confidence Coaches” – a concept so important that there is an entire niche of coaching developed around it. As there are so many different ways in which confidence works into the world of coaching as a whole, I have attempted to break my paper down into more succinct sections, each dealing with a different aspect of confidence in coaching.
Firstly, I will discuss what Confidence Coaching is, and what coaches that refer to themselves as such offer their clients. This was the first thing that piqued my interest, as I hadn’t heard of such a niche previously. Next, I will discuss techniques to build confidence in one’s client, and why this is such a crucial building block to any forward movement. This section will include excerpts and ideas from different studies that have been conducted about confidence, as well as pieces from articles written by coaches about tools they have found useful with their clients.
What is Confidence Coaching?
The idea of Confidence Coaching seems rather self-explanatory, and at first glance, it would appear there is no need to go deeper into what this coaching would offer to a client. However, when I thought about it for longer, I began to wonder, doesn’t all coaching involve discussions of confidence? Whether you coach CEOs that want to be better leaders, SAHMs who want to be better mothers and wives, or high school students who want to be successful in their future career paths, the idea of confidence in oneself will inevitably come up with all of them. So then how does Confidence Coaching set itself apart from any coach that discusses confidence with their clients?
I first became aware of this idea of “Confidence Coaching”, when looking at an article written by S. Blackburn, entitled “What Kind of Coach Can You Be?” Blackburn discusses the multitude of different coaching niches that most coaches fall into, including business, executive, career transition, and life coaching. Confidence Coaching is one of 11 niches that Blackburn mentions, leading me for the first time to believe that perhaps this is more of a recognized niche than I realized. As other niches suggest what that particular coach specializes in (executive coaches work with executives, leadership coaches work with leaders, etc.), as does Confidence Coaching. Through my readings, I have concluded that one can define Confidence Coaching in the same way you may define Life Coaching. In the way that, yes, every coach in every niche inherently deals with their clients’ lives, Life Coaches really deep dive and truly focus on life as a whole, Confidence Coaches deep dive and truly focus on their clients’ confidence or lack thereof.
Blackburn goes on to state, “If [confidence coaching] resonates with you, if you have an aura of confidence around you, then you may have found your life’s calling right here.” This idea is what then led me to realize that a coach cannot inspire confidence in their clients if they are not confident in their abilities as a coach. As Blackburn seems to imply, if you are a naturally confident person, then perhaps coaching others to find confidence in themselves is your calling. However, what happens if you are not an inherently confident person? This question is what brought me to next research different coaches’ framework for building confidence in their clients – what works, what doesn’t work, steps to discovering confidence, and studies that have been done around confidence as a whole.
Mental Toughness Questionnaire (MTQ)& Kaizen-Muse Creativity Coaching
One of the first examples of a study done around confidence is that of the Mental Toughness Questionnaire. In P. Clough and K. Earle’s article, “Assessing mental toughness—MTQ48”, they discuss this particular questionnaire, which was developed at the University of Hull. They found that confidence is one of the primary necessities for one to be mentally tough, and able to weather whatever may come their way. “The [MTQ] identifies four important elements of mental toughness: challenge, control, commitment and confidence” (P. Clough & K. Earle, 2018).
Reading about the development of the MTQ drove home for me how important confidence is in each individual, as well as how much it can affect so many other aspects of one’s life. As it became clear that confidence is widely recognized as being an incredibly important attribute to possess, the next thing I wanted to research was different models that coaches have utilized to build confidence in clients. In the article, “Four Creativity Coaching Tools that Promote Self-Esteem” by L. Caracut, the author succinctly states this idea, “How we feel about ourselves determines the decisions we make, the ventures we risk, and ultimately, how we navigate the course of our life.” The author then goes on to discuss a set of steps outlined by Kaizen-Muse Creativity Coaching, which has been tested with thousands of clients since 1997 (Caracut, 2017), and works to build self-esteem and confidence in their clients. Caracut further discusses how important inspiring confidence in our clients is, and how we “have the power to either catalyze your client’s self-esteem or contribute to its erosion.” She then goes on to outline four of the tools utilized in the aforementioned Kaizen-Muse process: taking small steps, addressing one’s inner critic, normalizing emotions and bonding with one’s client, and the “Tah-Dah List”.
Emphasizing taking small steps that will eventually become something great and substantial can aid a client that looks to the larger picture as being an excuse to not get started at all. When the entirety of what needs to be done to get to the end goal seems too daunting, taking smalls steps and celebrating along the way can make a world of difference. Similarly, concern over not being able to accomplish one’s goals and dealing with self-doubt can be tackled by re-enforcing positive messages to combat the negative thoughts. Further, the relationships we build with our clients and the bonding that naturally occurs allows coaches to assure their clients that what they are dealing with is not abnormal, there is nothing wrong with them, and everything is going to be okay. Finally, the “Tah-Dah List”, refers to taking the time to celebrate every small victory and accomplished tasks with our clients along the way. “Providing the tools that result in elevating a client’s self-esteem is truly one of the joys and rewards of coaching” (Caracut, 2017).
Effects on Confidence & Coaching to Success
The last step along my road to researching the role confidence plays in coaching took me to an article written by D. Tosh, entitled “27 Focused Questions to Boost Your Clients’ Confidence”, where she discusses different aspects that positively and negatively impact the confidence of our clients. Effectively, she boils negative impacts on confidence down to pessimism, self-doubt, criticism of oneself, perfectionism, and avoiding any risks. Positive impacts include: connecting to foundational values, engaging with one’s inner wisdom, taking calculated risks, embracing failure, taking action, and the concept of “mastery versus perfection” (Tosh, 2018).
Following this breakdown of both positive and negative effects on confidence, she then goes on to discuss the steps involved in uncovering one’s confidence. There are many different thoughts, theories, and models on how to coach a client around the idea of confidence. However, Tosh breaks it down into six different steps, each associated with questions that will help guide your client to a breakthrough. These steps include: envisioning what you want your life to look like, discovering your inner resources, unveiling your beliefs and values, uncovering your strengths and believing in your success, taking risks and learning from mistakes, and finally, reframing your self-image. Unsurprisingly, many of these steps overlap with the steps of the Kaizen-Muse method, however, Tosh includes questions to help your client work through each of her steps.
As coaches, asking powerful questions and taking the time to hear what our clients are saying are ultimately the entirety of the job. There is no doubt that the route to coaching a client to confidence and self-realization will include powerful questions as well. On a personal note, I found the questions included in Tosh’s article to be very helpful and guided me as a coach to better understand what a Confidence Coach is and how they help their clients.
Final Thoughts & Conclusion
I appreciate this time I was given to really deep dive into a subject I was not previously familiar with. Learning what the role confidence plays in a client’s journey, as well as a coach’s, along with the new tools I have discovered from the Kaizen-Muse method, the Mental Toughness Questionnaire, and the writings of D. Tosh’s coaching practice, I feel as if I truly have a grasp on Confidence Coaching. It is clear to me that regardless of what niche a coach may choose to explore or to follow, confidence is something that will consistently come up – on the side of the client, as well as the side of the coach. Ultimately, confidence does not seem as if it something to achieve, but instead a daily practice and development. Having and holding onto confidence in any aspect of one’s life takes consistent reminders and constant work, but I believe it to be an attribute worthy of the work it may take.
Moving forward in my coaching practice, I will seek to always reassure my clients, ask important questions, and inspire confidence in them in anything they do. I will spend more time with my clients building confidence and uncovering the strengths that they already have within them. Most importantly, I will keep in mind the overarching importance of confidence in everything I do – both in my own life and in my coaching practice. Confidence plays a role in every single thing that we do as humans, and through this time taken to research it on a deeper level, I will try to always keep that in mind.
Blackbyrn, S. (2020, July 24).11 Types Of Coaching. What Kind of Coach Can You Be? Retrieved August 8, 2020, from
Caracut, L. (2017, May 30). Four Creativity Coaching Tools that Promote Self-Esteem. Retrieved August 08, 2020
Clough, P., & Earle, K. (2018). Assessing mental toughness—MTQ48. Developing Mental Toughness in Young People, 37-42. DOI:10.4324/9780429473630-5
Tosh, D. (2018, April 5). 27 Focused Questions to Boost Your Clients’ Confidence! Retrieved August 08, 2020