Coaching and Client Confidence

The client is clearly successful – they started their own small business five years ago.  They have successfully expanded operations and now employ four people.  The coaching focus is marketing.  The coach asks the client questions on goals, process, opportunities, time, and budget.  Through this process the coach becomes aware that the client is hesitant about business growth.  With probing questions it becomes clear that the client lacks confidence in their ability to manage expansion.

Confidence is a common barrier to success.  Sometimes coaching clients are over-confident; frequently coaching clients lack confidence.  The interesting thing is that people who lack confidence often come across as very confident.

As a coach, how do you support the client effectively if confidence is not addressed?  A lack of confidence will slow people down and can prevent following through on action steps.  How do you address confidence if the client does not bring it up?  Ideally through probing and then rephrasing what the client is sharing the coach effectively holds up a mirror so that the client becomes aware.  Alternatively, a coach may ask directly based on what the client says.

In this example, the client realized that they lacked the confidence for expansion.  The coach worked with the client on identifying their successes, how they had handled the growth to the current level, and identifying barriers.  The coach asked the client how they would overcome barrier.  As the confidence of the client grew because of talking it through, the coach asked the client to describe their ideal outcome.  The coach worked with the client and created a tool that supported building confidence in the long term.  As a result of the coaching process, the client expanded their business successfully.

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