Confidence and InfluenceW. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne recently published Blue Ocean Shift, a follow up of their 2005 bestseller Blue Ocean Strategy. I’m a fan, so with coffee in tow, I got on a 6am conference call to hear Renée talk about the new book last week at the World Business Executive Coaching Summit (WBECS). After another 10-year study of how organizations succeeded or didn’t at creating blue oceans, this book is a play by play of how to do it. One of their most important findings is how important it is to acknowledge that humans are vulnerable, and even the most energetic and resilient among us has doubts when it comes to embracing change of this magnitude. Their process and tools now incorporate mechanisms to inspire and build Confidence as well as creative competency in leaders and employees at each stage to help them embrace the change.


Confidence is a measure of the faith people have in themselves and their abilities. Those who score high in the Confidence trait (Keller et al, 2014):

  • Know themselves well and stay true to who they are.
  • Have an internal locus of control. They never make excuses.
  • Do not give up. Period.
  • Draw their self-worth from within. Never compare themselves to others.
  • Embrace change and new opportunities.

Areas for growth in Confidence:

  • Be aware of negative self-talk. Talk back to it and put it in its rightful place.
  • Recognize controlling or perfectionist tendencies for what they are and avoid them.
  • Don’t criticize. Praise instead.

It isn’t surprising that leader and employee Confidence is a necessary ingredient for change to be successful at all levels of an organization. The challenge is how to recognize when an individual may be lacking in Confidence. It is not something people readily admit, especially to leaders who evaluate their performance. Once identified, how would you address it in a manner that does not put the individual on the defensive but rather provides them with supportive strategies to build their Confidence? How would you have that conversation? What questions would you ask?

About Jeannie Phillips

Jeannie Phillips, PhD, ACC, is a Senior Affiliate Coach for Core Impact Coaching specializing in leadership development with over twenty years of corporate experience leading projects, people and the development and execution of strategy. She is also owner of J. R. Phillips Leadership Coaching focusing on transforming technical experts into influential leaders.

She’s also a coach for Women for Change Coaching Community (W4C3), a nonprofit organization with a mission to make coaching accessible to all women.