Anyone with experience providing executive coaching services can tell you that sometimes there is a fine line between self-confidence and arrogance. Yet the two are vastly different in that one tends to be constructive, while the other tends to be destructive.
Executive coaching services often help leaders learn to distinguish confidence from arrogance.
Self-doubt will (and should) always have a place in the work of the top leader. Complete lack of self-doubt is probably unachievable for most people and is likely to lead to profound problems when taken to extremes.
How does the leader or executive keep self-doubt under control and manifest healthy self-confidence without crossing the line into arrogance? It’s a balancing act, and it’s one of the most important concepts coaching clients explore with executive coaching services.
Executive Coaching Services and Self-Awareness
One thing I have emphasized consistently throughout my career is the critical importance of self-awareness. It is a cornerstone of strong emotional intelligence, and emotional intelligence is one of the characteristics that separates good leaders from outstanding ones.
Self-awareness requires not only recognizing your self and your responsibilities in context but also acknowledging other people and their very real feelings and strengths. Lack of self-awareness can cause leaders to make major blunders, state tone-deaf declarations, and generally go off the track of getting to important goals.
Learn to Trust Your Choices and Values without Needing Constant Validation
This is interesting; you don’t always need to tell people your goals. In fact, in some cases, not sharing what you’re up to makes you more likely to accomplish your goal. Suppose you want to write a novel. When you tell others your goal, your brain has a way of mistaking talking about your goal with making progress toward the goal. Thus, you may experience gratification similar to that of accomplishing something, and this can make you less likely to actually accomplish it.
If you plan to write a book, lose ten pounds, learn to play cello, or start an office-wide recycling initiative, you don’t require repeated validation to make it happen. In fact, seeking that validation can make you feel like you’re making progress when you really aren’t. Learn to trust your choices and decisions when they are made with care and consideration.
Seeking too much validation for plans can actually push you off-course for actually achieving them.
Nike is Right: Just Do It
Well before the athleticwear company urged everyone to get off the bench and play, Dale Carnegie warned against the dangers of inaction. He said: “Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.”
Sometimes you have to force yourself a bit. It’s hard starting a new project, initiative, or assignment, and when you’re having particular difficulty, you may have to do things like set a timer for ten minutes and make an attempt – however clumsy it may be – to get into the groove.
Have you ever watched or participated in double-dutch jump rope? There’s no stopping to make sure everyone is ready. If you wait until the ideal moment to jump into the action, you’ll wait forever. At some point, you have to take that literal leap of faith if you want to participate. Much of life is like that.
Remind Yourself You’ve Handled Challenges Before
It is important that you remind yourself of what you have accomplished so far. Maybe you haven’t closed that million-dollar contract, but you have met other big challenges, whether that’s raising children, recovering from natural disaster, or beating cancer. Self-doubt can never be completely eliminated from your life, and that’s a good thing. Hubris is a seductive, yet sinister, mixture of overconfidence, over-ambition, and reliance on past greatness, and you have to remember that it is possible to build upon a strong foundation of meeting challenges without going there.
Self-confidence fuels the engine of accomplishment, yet it still recognizes your essential humanity and imperfection. In providing executive coaching services, I have helped many top leaders learn to tread the fine line that puts self-doubt in its rightful place without falling prey to arrogance and hubris.