Confidence is coming up repeatedly in the executive coaching I’m doing. What I find particularly interesting about this is that, in the published research, confidence is more often spoken of as an issue for female executives – there’s really very little discussion of men and confidence at all. Yet obviously men go through their own confidence journeys. They’re just not as open about it, they’re not as verbal about it and it gets hidden better.
The more I talk about confidence with men who have good self-awareness the more I hear them saying, ‘yeah, but that’s not just a female issue’. But I don’t see confidence raised much in public in the context of male executives.
One point I think gets missed is that it’s not just under-confidence that’s a problem. At one Sydney-based commercial bank I work with some of the male executives are consistently over-confident in their forward projections. I suspect though that this stems more from cultural imperative to be seen to be confident. Whatever the reason the fact remains that confidence is at the root of some real practical problems for this organisation.
The good thing about having a confidence problem is that recognising and acknowledging it is most of the battle. There are plenty of well-proven and simple techniques I can use to support someone in removing this barrier to their progress.