‘If you believe, clap your hands’

In JM Barrie’s Peter Pan, we’re told that every time a child says he doesn’t believe in fairies, a fairy drops down dead. When Tinkerbell is ailing, Peter Pan exhorts us to clap our hands if we believe – we do and Tinkerbell is restored. Our belief is obviously very powerful!

Believing in ourselves can be hard: believing in others can be even trickier. The leadership expert, John Maxwell, writes –

“Believing in people before they have proved themselves is the key to motivating people to reach their potential.”

We all need someone to believe in us. Whether it’s when we’re first learning to ride a bike or setting off to our first day at a new job, knowing that we have someone standing behind us cheering us on makes all the difference.

Communicating my belief in my clients is a key part of my coaching practice: I also believe it’s essential to our relationships both in and outside our workplaces. What prevents us from expressing our belief in others? Could it be we’re scared they’ll mess up and then we’ll look bad? Perhaps the first step to believing in others is trusting our own judgment.

Here are some of the ideas my clients and I have discussed for showing others that we believe in them:

  1. Find out who they really are, what makes them tick, what they’d like to achieve
  2. Give them specific, constructive feedback
  3. Create opportunities for them to try out new things
  4. Review those activities with them – if it didn’t go well, what would they do differently next time? If it was a success, what’s the next step?
  5. Let them be themselves – don’t try to make them into a ‘mini-me’
  6. Be clear with them about how much authority they have to take action without consulting you
  7. Encourage them to find their own solutions whilst providing a supportive presence
  8. Let them get on with it – don’t micro-manage
  9. Help them find other sources to aid their development – a mentor in another part of the business or buddy them up with a peer
  10. Give them great PR – make sure everyone relevant knows how well they are doing

Today’s pebble for you: how will you show your colleagues/family/friends that you believe in them this week?

If you think it would be helpful for you to work with a coach who believes in you, why not get in touch with me?


Turning over pebbles is the blog of Thinking Space Coaching. 

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