Joanne Cook Coaching Confident leader at work

How to improve confidence and self esteem

by | Apr 26, 2023 | Free resources

Imagine a day where… You walk into a room with a sense of purpose, your head held high and your stride strong. You feel your heart beating strongly in your chest, a physical reminder of your inner strength and conviction. As you smile and greet the people in the room. Your speech and mind are focused and clear. You know that you have something valuable to contribute. Only moments earlier you used positive self-talk to reinforce your confidence and conviction. You reminded yourself of your past successes and praised yourself for your hard work and dedication. With each passing moment, you feel your adrenaline level rise, the surge of energy fuelling your passion and enthusiasm. You are in your element and choosing a positive mindset helps you to stay focused and on task.

Your unwavering confidence and sense of high self-esteem has a tangible impact on your body as well. You are standing tall and straight yet relaxed and poised, your posture reflecting your inner confidence and resolve. Your breathing is steady and calm, your mouth moist and your voice clear and strong, allowing you to speak with conviction and authority.

As the conversation continues you feel a growing sense of empowerment and calm. You navigate the conversation with ease, listening to the comments and remarks, drawing on your experience and knowledge to respond and make valuable contributions. You feel a sense of excitement and engagement throughout the exchange. Your brain is firing on all cylinders, and you effortlessly think quickly and creatively. You feel a sense of inner pride and accomplishment as you share your ideas and thoughts whilst sensing that the room is responding positively with keen interest and curiosity.

As the meeting draws to a close, you can feel your body relaxing, the build-up of natural tension and anticipation melting away. You feel a deeper sense of calm and contentment, knowing that you had contributed to something important and meaningful.

You get up and walk out of the room. Your body is flooded with feelings of satisfaction and accomplishment. Your confidence has helped you to overcome any doubts or fears. You know no matter the outcome, you gave it your best, and that is all that matters at the end of the day.

Your unshakable confidence and high self-esteem had a profound impact on how you showed up, your physiological responses. Your mind and body were in unison able to respond positively to the challenges of the meeting, and you were able to tap into your inner strength and wisdom to overcome any obstacles that came your way.

How much of the above do you recognise in yourself?

“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”- Eleanor Roosevelt, US First Lady

Confidence and self-esteem are closely related yet whilst they are distinct, they are deeply intertwined and can significantly impact each other. Often, when you are feeling stuck, your confidence and self-esteem can be affected. 

How are your confidence levels and self-esteem at the moment?

Do you feel like you are under-appreciated and unsure as to how to ask for a promotion or a salary increase in your work because you’re not sure you are worth it? This could be low self-esteem.

Or perhaps it’s more on a personal level. You may be feeling unmotivated, unable to dive into that couch to 5k running programme (or even downloading the app can feel too overwhelming) because you’re worried you’ll not be able to do it and will fail. This could be low confidence in yourself holding you back.

During my Coaching and Hypnotherapy remit, I have helped many individuals improve their view of themselves, unlock positive feelings and enhance their personal and professional life. In this blog, I will share some of the strategies and tools that in my experience have been helpful to so many clients.

So, what is confidence and self-esteem?


Confidence is the belief in ourselves and our own abilities. It is the ability to trust yourself and feel capable of achieving our goals. Confidence is not something that is inherent, but it is something that can be developed through experience, practice, and self-awareness.

Self-esteem is the perception we have of ourselves and our worth. It is a critical component of mental health and can significantly impact our relationships, career success and overall well-being. Self-esteem is influenced by various factors such as upbringing, experiences and our own internal dialogue.

How are confidence and self-esteem linked?

  • Confidence boosts self-esteem: When we feel confident in our abilities and trust ourselves, we are more likely to have positive self-esteem.
  • Confidence enables us to view ourselves in a positive light and appreciate our own worth.
  • Low self-esteem can undermine confidence: When we have low self-esteem, we may struggle with negative self-talk and self-doubt. This can significantly impact our confidence levels and make us hesitant to take risks or try new things.
  • Confidence and self-esteem are mutually reinforcing: When we have high confidence levels, we tend to have positive self-esteem, and vice versa. This creates a positive feedback loop, where confidence and self-esteem reinforce each other.
  • Lack of confidence can perpetuate low self-esteem: When we lack confidence in ourselves, we may struggle to achieve our goals and feel a sense of accomplishment. This can perpetuate low self-esteem and make it difficult to break the cycle.
  • Confidence and self-esteem also interact with each other in various ways.

Ways confidence and self-esteem can interplay

  • Self-awareness: Developing self-awareness can help you understand the relationship between your confidence and self-esteem. By understanding your unique strengths and weaknesses, you can build your confidence and self-esteem simultaneously.
  • Positive feedback loop: Emotional regulation involves the ability to manage one’s own emotions and respond effectively to the emotions of others. Leaders with strong emotional regulation skills are more resilient, better able to cope with stress, maintain positive relationships and lead teams through change and adversity.
  • Negative feedback loop: Problem-solving involves the ability to identify, analyse, and solve complex problems. Leaders with strong problem-solving skills are better equipped to navigate challenges and find innovative solutions.
  • Importance of practice: Developing confidence and self-esteem is not something that can happen overnight. It requires practice, persistence, and a willingness to step outside of your comfort zone.

But the good news is, there are ways you can build these concepts for yourself or with the help of a coach or therapist.

“Joanne has helped me to be more confident by highlighting where my fears lay and breaking them down into something that is manageable rather than insurmountable.  Through the conversations and sessions I have had with Joanne, when these feelings of self-doubt arise now, I am now able to rationalise these thoughts and talk myself down from feeling like an imposter!  I’ve felt safe to be myself with Joanne and open up to the challenges and fears I felt have stopped me from progressing.  Sometimes we think we know ourselves better than anyone else, but it has been truly eye-opening having Joanne’s insight and it’s also been positively career changing.” – Tammy W | Communications Manager

Where we are on the scales of confidence and self esteem can significantly impact our behaviours and attitudes. We’ve all met those individuals with high confidence levels who tend to exude self-assurance, assertiveness and resilience and on the other hand, perhaps you can picture someone – maybe even yourself, with low confidence, who displays the behaviours associated with self-doubt and hesitancy.

It is important to note that confidence levels can vary and may be impacted by various factors such as our experiences, upbringing, and mental health. It is also important to note that both confidence and low self esteem can be developed and improved over time through practice and self-awareness. By understanding how confidence appears in our behaviour, we can work towards improving our own confidence levels and achieving greater success and happiness in our lives.

Recognising when you have high self esteem

When we have high self-esteem we tend to display certain behaviours that are easily noticeable by others. We exude a sense of confidence and self-worth and are typically happier and more successful in our own personal and professional lives. Here are some behaviours commonly associated with having high self-esteem:


  • Positive self-talk: When we have high self esteem we tend to have a positive internal dialogue and can be our own biggest cheerleaders. We speak kindly to ourselves and focus on our strengths rather than weaknesses.
  • Confidence: We are confident in our abilities and trust our abilities and judgement. We are comfortable taking risks and stepping outside of our comfort zone.
  • Self-care: Having high self esteem allows us to prioritise self-care and take care of our physical, emotional, and mental well-being. We see value in and understand the importance of taking care of ourselves.
  • Assertiveness: When we have high self esteem we can be assertive and are not afraid to express our opinions or advocate for themselves. We know our worth and are willing to assert our opinions without being aggressive or confrontational.
  • Strong boundaries: Having high self esteem helps us have strong boundaries meaning we are not afraid to say no when something does not align with our values or goals. We value ourselves and our time and are able to prioritise our needs.
Joanne Cook Coaching Unhappy Man with low self esteem on bed

How to recognise when you are suffering from low self esteem

When we are suffering from low self esteem, we often struggle with negative self-talk and may feel insecure or unworthy. Here are some behaviours commonly associated with low self-esteem:

Negative self-talk

When we have low self esteem, we tend to have a negative internal dialogue and may be our own worst critic. We dwell on weaknesses rather than our strengths and struggle to see our own value.


Low self esteem can cause us to feel insecure in our relationships or career and may struggle to take risks or make decisions.


Suffering low self esteem can cause us to neglect our physical, emotional, and mental well-being and may struggle to prioritise self-care or even understand how necessary it is.


Low self esteem can cause us to avoid situations that make us feel uncomfortable or may struggle to assert ourselves in social or professional situations.

Weak boundaries

Lacking in self esteem can cause us to struggle to set and maintain strong boundaries and may mean we have difficulty saying no to others.

6 ways to build confidence and self esteem

Here are some tips to help you:

Celebrate your strengths

To improve your confidence and self-esteem, it is essential to identify your strengths and celebrate them. Start by making a list of your skills, talents, and achievements, no matter how small they may seem. Then, reflect on why these strengths are important and how they have helped you succeed in the past. By acknowledging your strengths, you will boost your self-confidence and feel more empowered to tackle new challenges.

Practice self-care

Self-care is an important aspect of improving confidence and self-esteem. When you take care of yourself, you feel better both physically and mentally. Self-care can include activities such as exercise, eating healthy, getting enough sleep and taking time to relax and do things you enjoy. By making self-care a priority, you will improve your mood, reduce stress and feel more confident in yourself.

Setting stretching goals and track progress

Setting stretching goals is a great way to improve confidence and self-esteem. When you have clear goals in mind, you have a sense of direction and purpose, which can increase your motivation and sense of accomplishment. However, it is not enough to just set goals; you also need to track your progress. By tracking your progress, you can see how far you have come and celebrate your achievements along the way. This can be particularly helpful when you face setbacks or challenges, as it can remind you of your progress and encourage you to keep going.

Challenge negative self-talk

Negative self-talk is a common problem for many people, particularly when it comes to self-esteem and confidence. Negative self-talk can include thoughts such as “I’m not good enough” “I’ll never succeed” or “I’m a failure”. These limiting beliefs can be self-defeating and hold you back from achieving your goals. To challenge negative self-talk, start by becoming aware of your thoughts. When you notice negative thoughts, ask yourself if they are true or if there is evidence to support them. Then, challenge these thoughts by replacing them with more positive and realistic ones. For example, if you think “I’ll never succeed,” replace it with “I have succeeded in the past, and I can do it again.”

Seek feedback

Feedback can be a valuable tool for improving confidence and self-esteem. When you receive feedback from others, you can gain insight into your strengths and weaknesses, which can help you improve and grow. However, it is important to seek feedback from people you trust and respect and also to be open to constructive criticism. When you receive feedback, focus on the positive aspects and use constructive criticism to improve. By seeking feedback, you can gain a better understanding of your abilities and improve your confidence in yourself.

Practice assertiveness

Assertiveness is an important skill for improving confidence and self-esteem. When you are assertive, you can express your needs and opinions in a clear and respectful manner, without being aggressive or passive. Assertiveness can help you establish boundaries, communicate effectively and advocate for yourself. To practice assertiveness, start by identifying situations where you need to be more assertive. Then, practice expressing your needs and opinions in a clear and respectful manner. Remember to use “I” statements and avoid blaming or attacking others.

When we are navigating difficult life and career transitions, often our confidence can feel low. It’s a great time to sit back and assess your confidence and self-esteem levels to move forward confidently.

Where do you land on the confidence and self-esteem scales?

Coaching for Confidence and Self-Esteem

If you’d like to explore this topic with me further and see how I could help you work on improving both your confidence and self-esteem and how this can positively impact your home or professional life, feel free to contact me for a free 20 minute consultation.