How to Help Clients With Low Self-Esteem

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As a Life Coach, you will be faced with the challenge of helping clients with low self-esteem. This might even be the reason that they hired you.

How do you help them?

First, you must have a deep understanding of what self-esteem means. More often than not, having high self-esteem is confused with narcissism.

Self-esteem can also be termed self-assessment. It is the beliefs about one’s self that have been developed since early childhood and can be either negative or positive. It is linked to self-worth, confidence, decision making, creativity, mental health, and will power.

Narcissism is the admiration of one’s self and physical appearance. It involves selfishness, lack of empathy, a sense of entitlement, and a need for admiration.

While both high self-esteem and narcissism can be described as a powerful belief in one’s self, holding the self in high regard, and being confident in one’s self, the difference is that narcissism can actually inhibit performance.

How can you tell if someone is narcissistic or has high self-esteem?

Those who are narcissistic do not hold themselves accountable when they make mistakes. They struggle with admitting that they are not always perfect and will not do what it takes to self-improve. This can affect their performance because their denial of failure can blind them from the lesson they need to learn in order to succeed the next time around.

Those with high self-esteem are confident enough to admit their mistakes and learn from them without beating themselves up over it. They see the lesson in the failure and are willing to try again. They believe in themselves enough to know that they can handle failure and constructive criticism without downward spiraling – as narcissists tend to do.

Having high self-esteem is important for those who are looking for ways to better their life. According to this study by the American Psychology Association, it may not be the exact key to overall happiness, but it can help those clients who have low self worth and no confidence.

What does low self-esteem look like in clients?

There are a few traits of low self-esteem that you can look for during your sessions with clients. Here are some:

  • The words I can’t. This indicates having low self-confidence and a disbelief that they are capable of achieving their goals. Have a look here for a highly effective NLP technique that can be used to help these clients.
  • Feeling shame or guilt after failure.
  • Negative feelings about themselves.
  • Irritation or hostility.
  • Being highly sensitive to critique.
  • Feelings of unworthiness or not feeling like they deserve better.

How to help.

As a coach, trainer, or mentor, it your responsibility to help clients overcome low-self esteem. Here are some ways to do so:

  • “Comparison is the thief of joy” – Theodore Roosevelt.

Once your client stops comparing their mistakes, accomplishments, physical appearance, etc – they will learn how to accept them. We often compare our unfinished rough draft of Chapter One, with someone else’s draft five, professionally edited, completed and published hardcover book. We don’t see other person’s struggles, failures, and pitfalls that they undoubtedly faced along the way. We are left feeling inadequate and incapable when in reality, that person we long to be has been exactly where we are at now. The difference is that they never gave up.

  • “I AM ENOUGH.”

Celebrity therapist Marisa Peer attributes her success in helping thousands of clients overcome some of the most extreme mental health issues by boiling everything down to one root cause: feeling like we aren’t enough. Does your client feel like they are enough as they are? If they have low self-esteem, then chances are, they do not. Marisa’s advice is to have the client write “I am enough” on their bathroom mirror, rearview mirror, or any other mirror they regularly look in. It serves as a constant reminder that they are enough, no matter where they are, what they are doing, or who they are with. You can have your client do this, or you can come up with your own unique way to have this reminder available to them whenever they need it. The truth is, we are all enough just as we are. Some of us just need to be reminded of it.

  • Gratitude.

Practicing gratitude daily might seem like a simple solution. However, it is far more complex and effective than you might expect. If you have your client write a list of 20 things about their life and about their self that they are grateful for, for 21 days, it rewires the brain to always look for what they can appreciate about life and about themselves. This leads to feelings of confidence, high self worth, and a higher self-esteem.


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