Health & Medical Self-Improvement

Assertiveness Versus Aggressiveness

In my many years of experience as a coach, I observed one interesting thing.
9 out of 10 clients have issues with their self-esteem and self-confidence.
Some of them display signs of the fact early on in the process.
Others manage (with years of practice!) to hide their insecurities so deep, that only a very thorough and deliberate process can bring it out.
However, once it has been established that indeed work on building self confidence needs to be done, the coach's work can begin.
Again, some clients are aware of their situation; they have been studying, reading and basically trying to fix what they consider their "shortcomings".
Those clients are generally very open to a coach-coachee dialogue, profit from it immensely and make fast and steady progress.
On the other hand, those, who have been denying their "weakness" to themselves and to the world around them, might go through various phases of reaching that "confident and balanced" individual they so want to become.
Phase number one might be applying a "victim mentality".
Clients feel sorry for themselves, bringing up all the past injustices and re-opening old wounds.
Once this phase is over, they might swing to the other end of the pendulum and become aggressive, believing that this behavior will surely earn them respect.
Unfortunately, arrogance rarely brings the results people expect and in most cases show their insecurities loud and clear.
It is therefore the coach's job to navigate such clients towards a healthy level of assertiveness.
Assertive people are not afraid to show their true feelings and share an honest opinion.
At the same time, such people demonstrate that them, not their emotion (or another person), are the ones who hold the power over their decisions.
My advice to those who struggle with being naturally assertive would be to handle all the situations fairly.
Instead of the approach of "I wish everybody would like me", it would be "No matter what, I will try to be fair".
This is a good beginning; the rest will come with a bit of practice and some coaching work.

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