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NLP and Confidence Building

by Frances Coombes(more info)

listed in nlp, originally published in issue 166 - January 2010

NLP has some very powerful confidence building techniques for challenging undermining beliefs that may hold us back from becoming the truly confident person we want to be. We can all recall and associate into bad feelings at will. And with practice, we can also become proficient at tapping into our most resourceful states. So why not install some habitual thinking that is linked to successful outcomes?

Most people would not allow another person to constantly undermine their best friend without substantiating facts. Yet often we allow our internal critic to make negative statements about us without being challenged to support its facts? (Negative beliefs are those that prevent us from doing/ being/ having what we want in the future.).

Research in America on promoting children's self-esteem indicates that 80 percent enter school with high self-esteem, yet by the time they leave only five percent still value themselves. Why should this be the case?

Abraham Maslow's model of a hierarchy of needs, indicates one of our basic human needs is to belong to 'tribe', after that comes recognition, someone to tell us: "Well done! You did that really well!" Unfortunately, part of our socialization process, often done with the best of intentions for us by parents, teachers, cultures and the groups we belong to - can take away part of our self-esteem.

In courses I run on NLP and Confidence Building, we first explore our own experience of high and low self-esteem, then put some structure and meaning to our experiences that we can apply to rebuilding confidence.

A powerful NLP technique is to anchor a state of confidence, by recalling a time when we performed a task superbly, and recounting what we were seeing, hearing, feeling. Anchors fire associations or memories, and can put us in resourceful or unresourceful states. We practise imagining the feeling good state several times, and at the height of the experience we anchor that feeling so that we can recall it at will whenever we want confidence. 

Elvis Presley anchored resourceful states before performances. One of his roadies recalls: "Nightly, for ten years, I watched Elvis come out of his dressing room; at that point he looked like an ordinary person." As he walked towards the stage his body seemed to grow in stature and presence. By the time he walked onto the stage his presence had grown to deity. Elvis had anchored his positive state.

Anchor a Positive State

Create an urgency and excitement about the things you want to achieve. Imagine a future desired state or experience so vividly, clearly, and powerfully that it has a compelling effect on you in the present and you are drawn to do it. 
  • 'See' yourself clinching that deal, receiving and wearing the medal, being in the position you've wanted to be;
  • You could listen to music that makes you feel good and anchor that positive state. As you walk into a meeting where you want to get your points heard, hear the music, lift you state, feel good, imagine yourself as the conductor orchestrating the rest of the group. Use the technique to increase your feel-good factor.
Imagine a future, one that is so compelling that it already exists for you now. This will focus your mind and shape your behaviour and motivation to achieve.

You already create compelling futures

  • When you get the brochures and imagine your next holiday;
  • When you imagine how you will feel when you've mastered a new skill;
  • When you rehearse how well you will give your next performance at something you love doing.

How to Anchor a Good Feeling

Think of a time when you did something really well, go back in time and step into your body, 'see' what you see, 'feel' what you feel, 'hear' what you hear.
  • At the peak of that experience anchor the state with a small movement or gesture you can replicate with ease;
  • Recall that good feeling often, and carry it with you wherever you go;
  • Think of compelling futures when you want to motivate yourself to strive for something you really want.
We can all create negative states with ease and end up feeling miserable and unresourceful. All it requires is someone to say: "Remember that awful day when that terrible thing happened?"......  and we can enter a hypnotic state and fill in the blanks at will. So why not spend a little time practising creating positive anchors and ensuring the images you recall most easily are ones that make you feel good, and confident and support you in your aims and desires.


  1. NLP Training said..

    Hello Frances! I like your article and this statement: "NLP has some very powerful confidence building techniques for challenging undermining beliefs that may hold us back from becoming the truly confident person we want to be. "

    If you want to know more about NLP, visit now.
    Keep it up! Looking forward to your blog.

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About Frances Coombes

Frances Coombes Advanced Dip CBT/REBT Dip CBT offers one-to-one therapeutic coaching in North West London and on Zoom.  She is a is a CBT/REBT psychotherapist in North West London, a NLP Master Practitioner and Rational Emotional Behaviour Therapist and runs life coaching groups in London and on Zoom.  She teaches NLP at The City Lit in Central London and tutors at the City Lit and Mary Ward Centre in central London on Using REBT for Managing Stress and NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming). She runs goal setting and REBT coaching groups for vulnerable people for inner London authorities and charities.  

Her most recent book is Motivate Yourself and Reach Your Goals, pub, November 2013, Hodder Headline. Available on and  For extract visit To inquire or book personal development courses contact Frances on Tel: 07818 896 795; 


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