Quite a number of leaders I work with portray a positive air of confidence. They would describe themselves as self-confident and would be described by those around them as confident. The areas they wish to focus on during the coaching process are often areas they haven’t shared with others before. Some of the common focus areas are;

  • Better able to influence across and upward in the organisation.
  • Having a ‘louder’ voice at the table.
  • Thinking ‘am I good as other people think I am’.
  • Comparing myself with others.
  • A sense of ‘faking it’ or imposter syndrome.
  • Getting better at saying no, and setting reasonable boundaries.
  • Being more strategic in their thinking.

Providing a new perspective as a coach

As we talk through some of the scenarios where these challenges show up, I often find myself asking the individual to consider the difference between self-confidence and self-esteem. This is where the magic starts to happen.


Self-confidence refers to the confidence that we have in specific areas of life. Self-confidence is outward facing and is often easier to build than self-esteem. Confidence comes from knowledge and practice; therefore, the more experience we have in something, the more confident we become. The problem is most people lean on self-confidence for happiness rather than working on self-esteem The problem with this is that our success is often short-lived, only occurring when we excel at a new challenge and receive outward recognition. (Toronto Psychologist, 2020)


Self-Esteem refers to how we feel about ourselves as individuals. It helps to guide our thoughts, feelings, and behaviours. Self-esteem is inward facing and reflects how we interact and engage with others. Esteem means “to appraise, value, rate, or estimate” (Burton, 2015) and is thus our own appraisal of our worth. Individuals with high self-esteem do not need to prop themselves up using others appraisal of them, income or status and do not fear failure or rejection. Additionally, they are open to experiences, tolerant of risk, and are accepting of themselves and others. (Toronto Psychologist, 2020)

What got you here wont get you there.

Many leaders have built their success on ‘self-confidence’. Outward facing they achieved organisational goals throughout their career and have emulated the behaviours their managers expected of them. This approach is great until you reach more senior level positions where you are expected to bring your individual expertise, opinions and create strategies. It’s no longer just about execution.

I worked with a leader recently, we’ll call him John. John had built a great reputation in his career. He was a doer, he achieved the hard tasks that others could not. He said yes to everything he was asked to do and always delivered. Now the leader of a function, he was struggling to say no, struggling to think strategically and influence others.

John had never considered the self confidence vs. self esteem scenario. Upon reflection, he realised he did struggle with the value he placed on himself. As a result of working on his self-esteem and improving the value he placed on himself, John learned the importance of saying no to work that didn’t add real value. This provided him time to think and plan more strategically and most importantly he became far less hesitant to use his voice and his ideas to influence others.

John benefited from this in his home life and at work, seeing his own worth as important as that of others completely changed his outlook. The organisation provided John with great feedback, he was really stepping into what was required as a senior leader in their organisation.

Hindrance of low self-esteem

Low self esteem hinders us from achieving our highest performance. We don’t value our opinions enough to ‘go after’ influencing others. We start to believe we are doing a great job of ‘faking it’ when others see our self worth where we don’t. We find it hard to say no and set personal boundaries as we value others needs over our own.

Moxy  – Call To Action:

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Do the common leadership challenges listed above sound familiar to you?
  • Have you ever thought about your self-esteem before?
  • On a scale of 1-10 how would you rate your self-esteem?
  • Could higher self-esteem benefit you?
  • Could coaching help you do this?

Here are some ways Moxy Coaching helps leaders and professionals increase performance by increasing their self-esteem;


According to research from Dr. Joe Rubino, it is estimated that 85% of Americans suffer from low self-esteem.  Understanding the difference between self-confidencee and self-esteem can be game changing. A real ‘aha’ moment for most individuals I’ve worked with.

What do you love about yourself

A bit of a ‘squirmy’ question I know, but if you can’t answer what you like about yourself, how can you feel worth anything? One leader I worked with laughed when I asked her this, ‘How can I answer this‘ she said, ‘I’d have to ask my family or friends that question’! Hmm, why would you ask your family and friends what you love about yourself?

Establish your purpose

There are many different kinds of purposes of life/career to pursue, but it’s essential to find something that brings joy and fulfillment to your life. To visualise and actualise your future goals, consider writing a life purpose statement.

Identify your strengths and develop them

Knowing what your strenghts are and working to further enhance them allows you to develop your own unique skills.

The definition of Moxy is: vigor, self-confidence, self-assurance, strength of character, heart, grit, gut, fearless, firmness of purpose and most importantly for us…real. Building self-esteem is the foundation required to get you on the path to find your moxy.