How to Build Confidence – A Case Study

Recently I had a lovely woman, Stephanie*, who approached me to work with me. When I asked her what she thought the problem was, she told me it was confidence. 

But as we dug a little further into what the ACTUAL problem was, I started to get very clear that it was far more complex than confidence on its own. 

Stephanie’s lack of confidence had begun to affect her work in ways that were not helpful. For example: 

  • She did not want to speak up in meetings, instead offering her thoughts in private.
  • When called on in a meeting, she froze.
  • She could not please her boss, no matter what she did.
  • She was not able to build relationships in a way that worked for her.
  • She had been overlooked for several promotions.

 These factors were impacting her work. So, her company had agreed to pay for a coach to help her with her confidence. 

How to Build Confidence

When it comes to confidence in the workplace, and learning how to build confidence, women tend to struggle. They will often defer to their louder, more out-front male colleagues. Women especially, tend to think that the work we do will speak for itself. I am sorry to tell you, it does not. 

Stephanie really struggled with this concept. She figured if the work was good, then that’s what was necessary to get to the next level. She didn’t want to have to fight for a position.

Finding your confidence habits

Throughout our first conversation I asked Stephanie what type of habits she had for working, home, diet and exercise (these all play into learning how to build confidence). It became very apparent to me that the habits she had were not helping her at work. Even more importantly, they were actually hindering her moving forward.

After our first session, we agreed on homework. Full transparency – Stephanie was not happy. She felt the steps were too ‘basic’ to make a difference.  But I asked her to trust the process. And in the end, she agreed reluctantly to do it. . 

Here’s what we did:

  • She drove into work in silence. This allowed her to think about what she had on that day to prepare her brain for when she got there. The idea of utilising your transitions as a third space is proven. Check out Dr Adam Fraser’s book, The Third Space.
  • When she finished her day, she left her laptop at work and drove home in silence – this helped her brain process the day,
  • She had a meal with her hubby and did not do any more work.
  • She went to bed an hour earlier so that she was able to get eight hours of sleep. 

Overwhelming your confidence habits

Before our chat Stephanie was using her travel time very efficiently. She was listening to podcasts and filling her brain with ‘good’ information. But it wasn’t an effective way to build confidence.

Instead it meant that she was working all day, then using her transition time to learn more and do more. By the time she came home from work, she was still wired and switched onto work. So she was grabbing dinner, eating it in front of the laptop and continuing to work until she dropped into bed. 

Stephanie’s confidence outcomes

Stephanie changed her confidence routines and habits. And in doing so, she changed her confidence outcomes. She reported feeling more productive (tick), less brain fog (tick), more ‘ready’ for those difficult conversations (tick) and more confident overall (double tick!). She was also becoming less emotional and felt better able to perform at her best each day. 

We knew that there was much more work to do. But getting these basics right was imperative for Stephanie to consider any of the other things that we spoke about over the coming months. This was a great reminder to me that the basics really do matter!

How do you build your confidence at work?

What about you? How do you build confidence in your work? Do you need to get back to some basics? It’s easy to let these things slide when life gets busy and full. But learning how to build confidence at work is vital for ensuring that you’re able to do the work and live the life you want!

Get in touch!

I love this type of coaching client because they are so keen to progress and get the work done. They are willing to trust the process and see where it takes us. And that is the recipe for success!

If you liked this read, check out some of our other work at In particular, Nice Girls Don’t Win… Or Do They?

*Obviously Stephanie is not her real name

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Emma also has a podcast.