Coaching Wednesdays: Self-efficacy


Do you believe in your ability to manage a task successfully, and generally cope with life’s challenges? Self-efficacy, or the beliefs you hold about your capability, has a huge impact on how you think, feel, behave and motivate yourself.

High levels of self-efficacy means we are more likely to set goals, demonstrate persistence when the going gets tough and recover from set backs.

So self-efficacy is clearly important for us as coaches and mentors – we need confidence in our own abilities and we need to support and inspire others to build self belief in order for our coachees to keep moving in the direction of their goal.

According to Bandura we can build our self efficacy in 4 ways:

  1. Success builds success – and self-efficacy.  There is nothing as powerful as a positive experience (or to use Bandura’s term “mastery experiences”) to develop self belief.
  2. Observing others modelling the behaviours and skills required for success, including resilience and persistence in the face of set-backs.
  3. Positive affirmations – and more importantly having someone who supports you to measure your success in terms of self-improvement
  4. Emotions and mood – specifically how we perceive and interpret our emotions. What meaning are we giving to them? And in stressful situations can we harness the adrenaline to work for us rather than against us?

What does this mean for all of us who coach?

I think our first responsibility is to be aware of our own levels of self-efficacy.

Secondly we need to engage in activities which will support us to build and maintain high levels of self belief. That includes seking out experts we can observe and model. We cannot support others effectively if we are struggling to believe in our own capabilities.

Thirdly, we need to be moving towards mastery for all aspects of coaching.  This can seem daunting for the coach-in-training, but everyone I have met on their coaching journey brings their own mastery to the process.  They might be excellent listeners, or perhaps they are outstanding rapport builders.  Having a quality or skill in the mastery zone helps build competence and self belief in all the others.

Fourth: we all need to be coached, whether that is via peer support, coaching supervision or via a professional network.  With the right support we can address any chinks in our self-efficacy armouries and build back to a position of strength.

Coaching others to develop self efficacy

  1. Encourage your coachee to identify small achievable goals along the way to achieving their main aim.
  2. Encourage your coachee to recognise and celebrate their successes.
  3. Encourage your coachee to observe others who embody the values, behaviour that inspire them to raise their own game.
  4. Challenge your coachee to address any negative thought patterns that do not serve them.
  5. Having completed the ground work now challenge your coachee to set a goal that really excites them, motivates them and which will fulfill them.
  6. Support your coachee to address any stressors, build resilience and cope with set backs as they keep moving towards their goal.
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