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An Exploration of Male Self- Confidence in the Coaching Context Presented by Jackie Fitzgerald at the 11 th Annual Coaching and Mentoring Research Conference,

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Presentation on theme: "An Exploration of Male Self- Confidence in the Coaching Context Presented by Jackie Fitzgerald at the 11 th Annual Coaching and Mentoring Research Conference,"— Presentation transcript:

1 An Exploration of Male Self- Confidence in the Coaching Context Presented by Jackie Fitzgerald at the 11 th Annual Coaching and Mentoring Research Conference, Oxford Brookes University. 15 January 2015

2 Why this topic? Male self-confidence not well understood – almost a taboo ‘Men who lack confidence? Don’t you despise them?’ Not clear what self-confidence ‘is’. How can coaching improve confidence?

3 References to search terms on Google Indicate familiarity with terminology (Shamma et al, 2004; Kelly & Cool, 2002) Self-confidence = 129m results Self-esteem = 53m results Self-efficacy = 9.5m results (search carried out 27/5/14)

4 Literature review No clear definition/understanding of self-confidence – Lies at the interface of abilities and personality (Stankov & Crawford, 1997) Little found on male self-confidence specifically (except arrogance) Men & women have similar levels of self-esteem (Reitzes & Mutran, 1994) Degree of Gender Role Conflict (O’Neill, 2013) affects confidence Confident men feel competent (Reitzes & Mutran, 1994) Not clear whether & how coaching helps self-confidence issues

5 Research method Intepretivist paradigm + pre theory status of question = IPA study 6 outwardly successful men aged 40-65 All had been coached and/or mentored Semi-structured interviews Data transcribed and analysed following Smith, Flowers & Larkin (2009) process

6 Superordinate themes 3 emerged: 1.The uniqueness of the RP’s attitudes towards and experiences of self- confidence 2.Control as a factor in increasing self- confidence 3.The need for someone to talk to

7 1. The uniqueness of self-confidence What self-confidence means to the RP’sRP1RP2RP3RP4RP5RP6 Trust in my own ability, competenceXXXXXX It depends on context/the situation XXXXX Accepting myself, being comfortable in own skin, being congruent X XXX Financial security XX X An act, what I project XX X Being well-prepared, having practiced X X Something you can work on and change X X

8 What affects RP confidence?

9 2. Aspects of self-confidence Having: resources, skills, experience, power, autonomy, security, someone to talk to Doing: Education, training, research, planning, practice Being: congruence, authenticity Clear distinction between work and social or quasi-social situations: linked to control? Arrogance a means of taking control?

10 Factors influencing confidence

11 Effects of low confidence Reported effects strikingly similar: sleeplessness, physical discomfort, changes to posture, illness: RP3: So, it’s that…it’s just, it’s unsettling. So, you wake up in the middle of the night, you don’t get back to sleep. So, you go and chop a tree down at five in the morning, except the chainsaw will wake everybody up, so you can’t do that either. You just end up pacing round the house. Coping strategies: distraction, physical activity, withdrawal

12 3. Someone to talk to All considered this important – Can’t talk to their wives, keep them out of things Slightly motivational, more of a sounding board: RP4: I would say overall its nearly always been positive because its helped me deal with, for want of a better word, nagging doubts about things, and not in a massively life changing way, but in a positive reinforcing way, in a ‘there is nothing wrong with you thinking that’ kind of thing and occasionally a little bit of a gee up about ‘yeah, I do need to be…’

13 What the RP’s wanted from their coach Listen, support, teach & guide Get them through ‘stuff’ Affirm, confirm thinking and decisions Validation more than motivation Most valued a mentor rather than a coach However the coaching experience was transformational for some

14 Implications for coaching practice 1: Idiosyncrasy of self-confidence re-emphasised the importance of initial contracting. RP5 ‘That makes me think. One of my clients, a senior guy in banking, he wanted coaching on some self-confidence stuff and I never thought to find out what he meant because I thought I knew what he meant. We are going to be having a very different conversation in a few weeks.’ Does the client want coaching or mentoring?

15 Implications for coaching practice 2: Coach must find out what self-confidence means to that client & what combination of factors influences their confidence Set aside value judgements - remain client centred Focus on context and situation – Can coaching help given the context?

16 Implications for coaching practice 3: Frequent temperature-checking needed – Situation may change – Client may not raise confidence themselves Confidence warning signs: – Sleeplessness, illness, slouching – Withdrawal, reticence, avoidance of issues, arrogance (Berglas, 2006) – Focus on/concerns about decision-making

17 Implications for coaching practice 4: Suitable approaches Client-centred to address the highly individual nature of male self-confidence Skills and performance for those with strong ‘doing’ bias or in task/performance contexts Strengths-based – Known to improve confidence & self-esteem (Hodges & Clinton, 2004; Linley & Harrington, 2008) – Addresses fear of showing weakness (Brown, 2012)

18 Further research Do gender role expectations matter more for younger, less affluent men? What differences are there between how men and women recognise & deal with self- confidence Is there a developmental aspect to confidence?

19 Contact info Written and presented by Jackie Fitzgerald t: 01235 861 311 m: 07833 478 761 twitter: @jfitzbizcoach All slides © Jackie Fitzgerald 2015

20 References Berglas, S. (2006) ‘How to keep A players productive’, Harvard Business Review, Vol. 84, Issue 9, pp. 104-112. Brown, B. (2012) Daring Greatly How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead. London: Penguin Books. Kindle edition. Hodges, T.D., Clinton, D.O. (In press) Strengths Based Development in Practice In: Linley, P.A., & Joseph, S. (eds.) International Handbook of Positive Psychology in Practice: From Research to Application. New Jersey: Wiley and Sons. Available from: [Accessed 25 September 2014]. Kelly, D., Cool, C. (2002) ‘The effects of topic familiarity on information search behavior’ In: Proceedings of the 2nd ACM/IEEE-CS joint conference on Digital libraries. New York:ACM. Available from [Accessed June 9 2014]. Linley, P.A., Harrington, S. (2006) ‘Strengths Coaching: A potential-guided approach to coaching psychology’. International Coaching Psychology Review Vol. 1 No. 1, 37:46 O’Neil, J.M. (2013) ‘Gender role conflict research 30 years later: an evidence-based diagnostic schema to assess boys and men in counseling’, Journal of Counseling and Development, Vol. 91, pp. 490-498. Reitzes, D.C., Mutran, E.J. (1994) ‘Multiple roles and identities: factors influencing self-esteem among middle-aged working men and women’, Social Psychology Quarterly, Vol. 57, No.4, pp. 313-325. Shamma, D.A, Owsley,S., Bradshaw, S., Sood, S., Budzik, J., Hammond, K. (2004) Using the Web as a Measure of Familiarity and Obscurity. Available from: [Accessed June 9, 2014]. Smith, J.A., Flowers, P., Larkin, M. (2009) Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis Theory, Method and Research. London: Sage. Stankov, L., Crawford, J. (1997) ‘Self-confidence and performance on tests of cognitive abilities.’ Intelligence Vol. 25, Issue 2, pp. 93-109.

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