Can a Life Coach Teach Self-Efficacy?

Firstly, what is self-efficacy? Self-efficacy is the belief in one’s own capacity to successfully execute performance-specific behaviours to attain their goal which has a proactive effect on their performance. Albert Bandura, the father of self-efficacious philosophy said it best when he claimed, “perceived self-efficacy is concerned not with the number of skills you have, but with what you believe you can do with what you have under a variety of circumstances” (Bandura, 1997 :37 as cited in Palmer & Whybrow, 2019). Bandura saw people as ready agents of change that could contribute to the well-being of their lives and influence their circumstances with positive action to guide and motivate their efforts (Bandura 1982, 2005 as cited in Palmer & Whybrow, 2019).

One of the main roles of a life coach is to encourage their client to enhance their beliefs about what they think they can achieve. One’s belief will have a direct effect on their motivation and how they feel, which will then influence how they approach, tackle, and perform a task. Bandura, like many life coaches, attributes a positive belief in one’s abilities to enhanced human accomplishments and personal well-being.  Life coaches strive to encourage their client’s achievement motivation which then assists them to accomplish tasks, even if they are challenging.  This has a positive effect on the individual’s self-esteem, and they begin to improve their abilities and develop mastery orientation (Louw & Louw, 2014).

An individual’s beliefs about their efficacy can be developed by four main sources: 1) mastery experiences/successful past performance (which serve as capacity indicators); 2) vicarious experiences provided by social models; 3) verbal persuasion (and other social influences that inform the individual about the perception that others have of their abilities); and 4) psycho-physiological and emotional states (from which one infers his/her ability, strength and vulnerability to failure) (Palmer & Whybrow, 2019). Mastery experiences tend to provide the individual with the most benefits as they provide authentic evidence of the individual’s ability to perform, which becomes the basis for future success (Palmer & Whybrow, 2019).

One must learn to face challenging tasks with an open mind, a flexible attitude, and an appreciation for their own inner motivation and perseverance to see them through the assigned task. Setting goals and self-efficacy go together as the goal provides the vision and guideline for the future, while self-efficacy directs one’s focus and behaviour over long periods of time to achieve the desired outcome, even in the absence of external incentives along the way (Palmer & Whybrow, 2019).


Louw, D. A., & Louw, A. E. (2014). Early childhood. Child and adolescent development (2nd ed., pp. 152-222). Bloemfontein: Psychology publications.

Palmer, S., & Whybrow, A. (2019). Self-efficacy within coaching and coaching psychology. In S. Palmer (Eds),
Handbook of Coaching Psychology : A Guide for Practitioners (2nd ed.). Routledge.

What Exactly is Life Coaching?

Sir John Whitmore was one of the pioneering and influential figures in the life coaching industry. In his seminal book, Coaching for performance, Whitmore drew on Timothy Gallwey’s inner game model that recognises that the internal state of an individual plays a significant factor in performance. Whitmore states in his book that coaching is about “unlocking a person’s potential to maximise their own performance. It is helping them to learn instead of teaching them – a facilitation approach” (Whitmore, 1992, p. 8 as cited in Passmore & Tee, 2020). Reflecting on one’s own life, consider the impact of self-talk on performance, decision-making, and problem-solving. How crucial do self-awareness and personal responsibility become when considering such matters?

When an individual enters into a life coaching engagement, they will experience a transformational process created by a unique relationship based on collaboration, trust, confidentiality, and conversations that are meant to develop self-awareness, inspire change and create action (Passmore & Tee, 2020; Van Zyl et al., 2016). The role of the life coach is to facilitate and support the client as they move towards reaching their goals and enhancing their well-being, in a collaborative solution-focused, result-orientated way (Passmore & Tee, 2020).

While the life coaching process is focused on goal attainment, it also allows room for self-reflection so the client can make sense of their situation. This is designed to help the client link their personal identity with specific action perspectives. The reflective process that the coaching client experiences is often a joint experience by the life coach, as together they reflect on the challenges the client is enduring. This meaning-making dialogue opens up awareness of how actions, limited thinking patterns, and self-sabotaging behaviours affect one’s life. As the coaching conversation progresses over time a new narrative unfolds in the developmental process. Van Zyl et al. (2016) state that the art of life coaching is to alter the client’s past history in a collaborative way by incorporating new events and persons and by creating and challenging the story’s plot.

By providing a safe and collaborative space for the client to explore the deeper aspects of their lives and their presenting issues, the life coach gives the client permission to delve into the potential of what change means to them. Defined as goals, these changes play a key role in transitions from existing states to desired states or outcomes (Van Zyl et al., 2016).


Passmore, J. & Tee, D. (2020). Defining coaching. Passmore, J. & Tee, D. (Eds.), Coaching researched – A coaching psychology reader for practitioners and researchers. Wiley-Blackwell

Van Zyl, L. E., Stander, M. W., & Odendaal, A. (2016). Coach as a fellow human companion. Van Zyl, L. E., Stander, M. W., & Odendaal, A. (Eds.), Coaching Psychology: Meta-theoretical perspectives and applications in multicultural contexts. Springer international publishing

Life Coaching Advise – The Big 5 Goal Achieving Rules [Step-by-step guide]

As a Life Coach I often notice how many goals end up resembling something closer a failed new years resolution than a focused, action-oriented goal. This leaves the individual with a feeling of dissatisfaction about the goal-making process. However, what the individual fails to understand is how important the big 5 personal responsibility keys are to the goal-making process to the overall success of the undertaking.
This article will highlight the crucial role these 5 keys play in the mindset of the individual and how best to align one’s mindset with their goals so they can get on with achieving them.

1. Focus

It is easy to have an idea of what is needed, but it is another thing to identify the initial desire underneath the many masks that may present themselves as “the need”. This is where working with a life coach can be a vital asset. Often people say they want a better job, more money, a happy relationship, new possessions etc. However, what their deeper needs are looking for may rather be the need to feel appreciated, to have greater self-worth, to be understood or to be a part of something bigger than themselves. People want their needs to be fulfilled. If one can locate the exact need that they hope the goal will provide, then they can have a greater understanding what why that goal is important for them. It is worth considering if the focus is aimed in the right direction. If, upon some further investigation it is found that the initial goal is lacking in substance and seems too vague then the actual desired need should be re-evaluated to see if the attainment of the goal will result in the need being met or if the goal itself should be adjusted or simply scrapped. If one can come to understand the true value of the goal, they will gain greater focus toward achieving it.

2. Attitude

This strongly applies to the perceptions an individual has toward themselves and the world around them. The perceptions can either nurture opportunity in the mind or diminish it. Opportunity is often cleverly disguised as hardship, failure, upheaval & change because within every problem lies its own solution. It is up to the observer to recognise the possibility for opportunity during or after such unfolding events. The same, however, can be said about seemingly positive events. Sometimes the event can paint such a positive picture of the future that it completely prevents the observer from looking at or anticipating any obstacles, pitfalls or blind spots.

Life Coaching will help an individual to create an empowering attitude understands that they are the ultimate creators in their life and have the ability to control how they think and feel about life’s many events. Therefore an individual’s mindset is a key component to manage when considering the worthiness of pursuing a goal. Are they standing in their own way? Are they failing to acknowledge how much effort and dedication it may take? Do they believe in their own capabilities? Are they willing to strive for success in spite of the possible difficulties they may experience along the way?

3. Skills & Resources

Having the adequate skills and resources is an extremely practical and necessary element to have when considering the efficacy of a goal. This does not mean that a proposed goal has no foundation if the required skills and resources aren’t immediately obvious or available. It does however mean that should the initiative for the goal to go ahead be placed, then it is crucial to either attain the needed skills, find the right resources or delegate various aspects of the goal to people or organisations that can get it done effectively. If the need to accomplish a goal is strong enough, then all that is required for it to be completed will no doubt be found and used.

4. Habits, Routines & Patterns

This is an area in an individual’s life that will prove to be a great asset and hindering liabilities on the journey toward goal completion. Humans are creatures of predictable habits, routines and patterns. Once a thought, feeling or action achieves the desired outcome, the brain will store the pattern that led to the outcome for future use. This prevents unnecessary processing time and energy for similar moments that should produce similar outcomes. This efficiency is like a double-edged sword as it can work against the possibility of the need to change. Habits, routines & patterns may have been learnt a long time ago when the individual may have been less mature, had different beliefs or wanted different things from life.

This is a key area to become aware of in one’s life as it will play out in unconscious levels in the background with one hardly ever noticing it at all. Self-awareness is a vital aspect of personal growth, as it is able to begin pinpointing self-defeating behaviours. It is never easy to face one’s self in the mirror and be truly honest with how one’s very own thoughts, feelings and actions may be ruining one’s chances of success. However, when an undesirable behaviour is consciously acknowledged, then steps can be taken to change or discard such behaviour. Blame, criticism and judgement of self are unacceptable, even if it feels suitable in the moment. The crucial question should rather be considered, “What positive value did this thought/feeling/action pattern have in my life that I chose to keep it for so long?”

5. Grit

Grit means courage and resolve; strength of character.

Grit is what is going to keep moving you forward when all you want to do it give up. It will help you solve difficult problems because it will make you persevere until you find the solution. Many times goals that are not met are due to the fact that the individual lacked the grit to do what it takes to achieve success. A worthy goal is and should be challenging. It helps one realise their inner strength, potential, tenacity and personal integrity. Goals often come with many challenges, but should the individual find their inner strength to see the goal through to completion, they will be well rewarded with a great step toward self-actualisation. Aka. The realisation of one’s true nature.

Every person has the capacity to be the creators, architects and designers of their life. Sometimes it is necessary to work with a Life Coach in your area to help demonstrate this. However, it is often assumed that the dream life should be handed down on a silver platter to anyone who thinks they want a slice of the pie. Nothing can be further from the truth. The difficulty of unforeseen issues and setbacks are a natural consequence of life. No one said it was supposed to be easy. Each person is given the gift of life, the ability to learn & grow, and unbounded potential. The rest is up to you!
You have what you need. Now get on your pony and make your dreams come true.

Thanks for reading,
Donovan – Life Coach