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5 coaching techniques to break free from limiting beliefs - by Pam Lidford

Posted 438 Days Ago in: Coaching Articles


Why do some people have more self-belief than others? Why do some people 'get on with it', while others prevaricate? Is self-belief innate within us, or is it a skill that can be learned?

As a coach, a lot of my work focuses on confidence building. My extensive work with senior managers and business leaders over the years has shown me that everyone suffers from self-doubt from time to time. The differences lie in our ability to vocalise our fears and take action to overcome negative beliefs.

Successful people tend to share a positive mindset. They set personal goals and are quick to take action. Whether it’s CEOs, small business owners or entrepreneurs; business leaders have several core traits in common: first, they are decisive and action orientated; secondly, they set clear, measurable goals; thirdly, even if they don’t always know how they are going to achieve their goal, their expectation is they will find a way.

But even those with self-belief doubt themselves sometimes. Those at the top are expected to be ‘ultra’ confident, to have all the answers – and they expect that of themselves too, so there are few people (if any) to whom they would speak about their concerns; and that can be dangerously isolating.

Our beliefs develop from a complex mix of our attitudes, values, memories, decisions, internal mind-talk – and the impact of our personal environment. We really are what we think. Without self-belief we are more likely to procrastinate, make poor choices, lack accountability, or even fall into a state of victim mentality. Those who over-prepare for action or look unrelentingly for the reasons why something may fail, also lack self-belief.

What is the solution? If self-talk is becoming negative, how can we change? The answer is to challenge our fears and take positive action; to overcome any limiting beliefs that are holding us back. Easy to say, but sometimes harder to achieve.

The great news is turning negative thoughts or attitudes into positive ones can be quick and easy. It all depends on the motivation of the individual and their willingness to give the concept a try. Much has been written about ‘acting as if’ you have already succeeded, or reciting affirmations to help change your state of mind. Sometimes my clients resist those things as they don’t feel authentic.

However, these two actions are an extremely powerful starting point for change. It’s really important to understand that often, when a limiting thought enters our head, nothing has actually changed except our point of focus. We have taken our eye off what we are looking to achieve and instead, have allowed doubt or negative self-talk to creep in. That affects not only our thoughts, but our body language, posture, what we feel, how we view the situation in that moment, the things we say to ourselves – and therefore the outcome as well.

The following are simple coaching techniques to turn negative thoughts into positive beliefs:

Stop. Take a breath. Adjust your posture. Notice how your stance has changed since a limiting belief appeared. Ask yourself, “How do I want to feel instead of worried / anxious / fearful?” – name your feeling and then stand up, walk around and sit back down in a way that reflects that mindset. 

Change your point of focus – literally. We usually look down when we are unhappy and up when we are more confident.

Identify your limiting belief (for example, “My business is going to fail”). Then ask yourself, “what’s the worst that could happen?” “How can I prevent this happening?” “If it still happens how could I handle it?” You will have other questions of your own. In looking at your core fear or problem in the face, and preparing for it you will change the way your brain perceives the problem and will literally alter your mindset in preparation for action.

Speak to someone you respect (whether a friend, a colleague, or a qualified coach). By vocalising what is going on, it becomes easier to reframe the outcome.

Take action. Action is empowering because it brings about change. It is always the main route to overcoming limiting beliefs and unhelpful habits of behaviour. The clearer you can be about what you want, the easier it will become to break the achievement of your goal into manageable chunks and start working towards it, one step at a time.

Over 90% of what we fear never actually happens. By acknowledging the ten per cent possibility and preparing for it in case it happens, it becomes easier to take practical actions towards the successful outcome you desire. By changing your self-belief, you literally change your mind.

Why not come along to one of our FREE FOUNDATION IN LIFE COACHING COURSE where you can learn the valuable tools and techniques that can help transform your belief system and reach your full potential?

Or if you would just like to know a little more about what Life Coaching is and how it can benefit you and the lives of others, please contact our Specialist Course Advisor, Jamil on 0208 996 4830 or email:



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