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As a learning professional, there is no more satisfying feeling than the knowledge that you have helped a person to grow in credence. Those of us who are parents will have experienced this feeling as we supported our children in taking their first hesitant steps. Similarly, as teachers, trainers, coaches, and facilitators, we have the privilege to play a role as a reluctant public speaker makes their first appearance in front of an audience, a learner manages to fix a fault single-handed or a project manager sees their first project in on schedule. Great moments.


Confidence is the key to success. If a person believes they will be successful, they probably will be. Because they take on challenges that others would not, confident people are more likely to fulfill their potential and lead a happier, more fulfilling life as a result.



As a learning professional, you have the power to build a person up or knock them down. Here’s how you achieve the former:

     1 Aim high
  1. Set stretching but achievable challenges
  2. Show faith in the learner’s ability to reach them
  3. Don’t overwhelm the learner with information
  4. Recognize genuine success
  5. Treat mistakes as a normal part of the learning process
  6. Be patient
  7. Continue to support the learner as long as it takes for them to achieve competence
  8. And then back off

As learning professionals we should expect the same support as we face the challenges brought about by change:

  1. The requirement for us to act as trusted advisers and not mere order takers
  2. The expectation that the solutions that we recommend have a demonstrable impact on performance
  3. A population of learners that is increasingly self-confident and independent
  4. The relentless march of technology.


Across the world and across all sectors, the story is the same. Learning professionals recognize the need for change but lack confidence in their ability to respond. They are human beings, like everyone else, and need support in their quest for confidence. It’s simply not OK for the cobbler’s children to have no shoes – we have to look after our own.
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