Self-Esteem and Skills

I’ve found that continually building skills can be undermined if one’s self-worth (reflected in self-talk) isn’t commensurately improved, and building self-worth can be dysfunctional if the requisite skills don’t accompany it.

In the chart above, you can see that strong self-esteem and strong skills lead to health and effectiveness for consultants. But no matter how strong the skills, low self-esteem will result in underutilization—due to fears of reaching out, or offering one’s talents, or capitalizing on opportunity, and so on. (I may appear to be good at this, but I’ll be “found out.”)

High self-esteem without skills creates delusion (these are often people who believe they can succeed by chanting senseless “affirmations”). Hundreds of people have told me they can help others, improve others, provide energy, resolve problems—but have no discernible, manifest skills to do so. (One guy told me he can intuit my need by talking, not listening, in my presence. My need was for him to leave as soon as possible.) Skipping over hot coals does not generate pragmatic skills, only perspiration on your feet.

With neither high self-esteem or high skills, you’re lost in space.

Keep this in mind both for your own development and for your clients’ needs. Balance your development. Skills can be taught. Esteem requires coaching.

© Alan Weiss 2013

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3 Responses to Self-Esteem and Skills

  1. Peter McLean says:

    Great conceptualisation Alan. Encouraging my coaching clients, prompting positive self-talk, promoting positive self-concept, affirming their instincts and helping them to value and utilise their underlying gifts and talents is as much a part of my work as equipping them with specific techniques, skills, insights, etc. I won’t pretend that I have been immune to esteem challenges myself and coaches and mentors have been valuable in that regard. I’ve found the “impostor syndrome” at work at all levels and in all different kinds of professions, though some appear to be more prone than others. Equally, it’s too frequent that one finds the delusional (though they don’t seem to become clients, ironically enough!:) ).

  2. Doug Devitre says:

    Thanks Alan. Very timely for me to build up my self esteem at this critical moment on my transition.

  3. Elegant, pragmatic simplicity is a thing of beauty. Thanks for sharing this.

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