If you are taking on a leadership role in business, you may think the best thing any coach can give you is the confidence to stand out as the person with the big ideas, an authoritative figure who knows what the solutions are and can exude such assuredness that can carry people with them.

That may occasionally be true in a few positions of very high leadership at the top of a company, in government, or as an elite sports coach. But all too often the opposite applies. Unless you actually are in a top position, it may be hard to justify an attitude of certainty, while a “my way or the highway” approach might just rub people up the wrong way.

Excessive certainty without justification may be a manifestation of the opposite of self-confidence; it could act as a shield against insecurity, protecting you from any awkward challenges. It is less authoritative, more authoritarian, and can hold back staff from challenging the status quo with constructive new ideas.

That is why much business coaching and thinking now sees confidence as the willingness to trust staff and be open to ideas.

This has been the conclusion of authors such as Simon Sinek, whose radical approach to leadership is focused on encouraging innovation and a broader sense of purpose. In his Infinite Game concept, no firm has ever ‘won’, however well it is doing, as there will always be new challenges and ideas.

In this context, a leader who is self-confident enough to absorb new ideas and learn can use the talents available to them effectively to make their business better as a result.

Confidence should not be something that you develop as a means of domineering and commanding. Rather, you should learn to make it contagious, something you can give to your staff so that they can be bolder, contributing more ideas and developing their talents further. It is that kind of contagious confidence that can make a great leader.

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