If You Enjoyed This Please Share


Understanding the difference between self-esteem and self-confidence will help your transformation

A fair few of my clients come to coaching because they want to improve their self-confidence. Once we start scratching the surface of this subject quite often it turns out that the challenge they have is not with confidence. Rather it is their self-esteem that hasn’t been built on solid ground.

Understanding whether it is your self-esteem or your self-confidence that is holding you back from reaching your full potential makes a difference in which steps you take to make changes that help you succeed.

I have thrown in self-efficacy for good measure as self-efficacy is an important piece in the transformation jigsaw.

I have used a tree to illustrate how there three work together.


Self-esteem is the roots of the tree. Self-esteem is about Being.

A person with solid self-esteem:

  • Is stable
  • Appreciates and loves herself
  • Is OK about failing or making mistakes. Failing = what she did, NOT who she is
  • Is comfortable admitting to mistakes she has made
  • Has healthy boundaries
  • Is not particularly affected by what other people think or say about her
  • Knows that she is good enough
  • Feels empowered and in charge of her own life and decisions

You carry your self-esteem with you in every situation and every day. It is deeply rooted within you.


Self-efficacy is the tree trunk. Self-efficacy is about Ability.

Self-efficacy is your perceived ability to complete a task or take on a task and how realistic you are about what is needed for that completion. Self-efficacy will determine if you will choose to take on a challenging task or think of it as impossible. It also determines how high you set your goals.

We carry self-efficacy with us in every situation and every day.


Self-confidence is the branches of a tree. Self-confidence is about Doing.

Your level of self-confidence determines how you feel about your capabilities for a certain task, situation, people. Your self-confidence varies from situation to situation and it can also vary with age.

So, you can be very confident giving a presentation and not very confident about cooking a meal for 10 people. Your self-confidence is usually tied in with experience of and interest in a task, activity etc.

You can be very confident and still have a shaky self-esteem. This can often mean that you put your self-worth into what you do, and doing what you do very successfully. You are very dependent on other people’s approval of your performance. Therefore, failure and mistakes can cause high levels of anxiety, because you make these mean that there is something wrong with you. Constantly striving for others approval will give the control of your own life and well-being to other people, which ultimately can leave you feeling very vulnerable.

I hope this has helped you gain valuable insight into these three concepts.

Listen to the recording to get some more information about why I have likened the three to a tree…


About the Author Tiina Mokvist

Leave a Comment: