Can A Mentor Teach You Confidence?

“No one teaches you this stuff,” the young professional sitting next to me said. We were having a conversation about women’s careers and the need for confidence, as well as competence, before the speaker addressed a businesswomen’s breakfast.

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The young woman, one of only two in her male dominated workplace, went on to say that how to build confidence wasn’t mentioned in any of the university studies she did.

So how do you acquire confidence? Is it possible to learn? Can a mentor teach you?

I’ve been pondering this question as I’ve researched topics related to women and leadership for my next book. Studies show that confidence is equal to, or even more important than competence, to career progress.

I do think you can develop confidence but it can’t be taught in a class. What can be learned are strategies and techniques to build confidence. Observing role models and your own experience are probably the best teachers, especially when enhanced by reflective discussion with a mentor.

However, when you don’t have confidence there is something else that will get you through. Courage is the prerequisite that allows you to build confidence and courage serves you even if confidence deserts you.

Nelson Mandela said: “ … courage is not the absence of fear but the triumph over it.”

I don’t recommend taking unnecessary risks but sometimes you can step up to a challenge even though you may be quaking inside. When you do, and you get a good outcome, the positive reinforcement will build confidence. If the result is not a happy one, you may consider it one of those “anything that doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” experiences that can also build confidence.

There will have been many times in your life when you have tried something new and you weren’t sure of success, when you stretched yourself and came through, or failed but survived. Conversations with a mentor will help you remember these and figure out what works for you. A mentor may share their own experiences so that you can learn from them too. They can help you plan, prepare and even practice techniques that build confidence. You’ll still need your courage to apply them and afterwards your mentor will support you as you review the outcomes and continue your development. That’s how mentoring works.

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About Ann Rolfe

Ann Rolfe is internationally recognised as Australia's leading specialist in mentoring, and is available for speaking, training and consulting. Here Ann shares her knowledge and allows you to ask your most pressing questions about mentoring.

3 Responses to “Can A Mentor Teach You Confidence?”

  1. Jariatou Jallow January 9, 2019 11:04 am #

    Great article. I will definitely share the words in this article.

  2. Tania Singer August 7, 2018 1:38 am #

    Great article as I have worked and are still working in a male dominated field. Well written

  3. Faridah Jahori June 20, 2016 12:56 am #

    Good article..

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