By: Gretchen Johnson

Self-Efficacy. The belief we have in our own abilities, specifically our ability to meet the challenges ahead of us and complete a task successfully (Miriam Akhtar, 2008).

Just recently, my self-efficacy as a Coach was put to the test and, I must admit, it wavered for a moment. 

One of my clients didn’t want to work with me anymore. 

 I found myself wondering things like “Why didn’t the client leader discuss with me any concerns they were having?”  “Weren’t my skills good enough?  “What did I do wrong?” “Didn’t I possess the capacity to coach well?”

While I found myself sitting in some self-doubt, there were also a series of events that were transpiring behind the scenes that I was able to draw upon to connect with my self-efficacy again.

Someone I just met and had the opportunity to speak with about diversity and coaching told me that she could tell I had a “gift” for coaching.  I also demonstrated my self-trust in my abilities to apply for and earn a coaching credential through the International Coaching Federation. 

The very same day that I was told I lost the client, I passed the last stage for that credential, and just a few short days later, received my official ICF ACC!

Things may happen that test your self-confidence; but don’t ever doubt your abilities. Don’t lose confidence in yourself. Even if you are lacking a skill set or something didn’t go quite the way you would have wanted, have confidence in your ability to meet any challenge that may present itself. 

Self-efficacy is critical. And, fortunately, self-efficacy is a psychological skill that you can foster and strengthen!

So, how can you build your self-efficacy?

Psychologist Albert Bandura identified four major sources of self-efficacy.

  1. Mastery Experiences – Performing a task successfully strengthens your sense of self-efficacy. This is the most effective way.
  2. Social Modeling – Witnessing other people successfully completing a task.
  3. Social Persuasion – Getting verbal encouragement from others helps overcome self-doubt and instead puts focus on giving your best effort to the task at hand.
  4. Psychological Responses – Your own responses and emotional reactions to situations. Moods, emotional states, physical reactions, and stress levels can all impact how you feel about your personal abilities in a particular situation.

Coach Yourself: What specific things or people can I draw upon to help build my self-efficacy?

Remember: “People’s beliefs about their abilities have a profound effect on those abilities.”

Albert Bandura


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