web counter
This blog has been designed most for the benefits of my students. I am interested in spiritual intelligence because I believe it leads to happiness and resilience. If you want copies of my published research (conference papers or articles in journals), feel free to contact me.

Ridhwan (

My other blog is:

Saturday, January 15, 2011


Over the last few weeks, I have re-discovered the importance of self-efficacy. Self-efficacy is the belief that you can do something specific. It should not be confused with self-confidence, which is more general. For example,

1. I can be a very self-confident person but I may have a low self-efficacy when it comes to public presentations. As such, I will avoid making public presentations.

2. As an individual, I may lack self-confidence but I may have self-efficacy in making public presentations. So, if I need to make a public presentation, I will be okay with it.

The key to self-efficacy is to recognize that is entirely a matter of perception. Self-efficacy can be improved by shaping. Let's say that I am coaching somebody who lacks self-efficacy in giving public presentations. That is probably because he or she imagine talking to a large room with 100 strangers for 1 hour or so. So you make the task less frightening by simplifying it:

a) You train the person to give 5 minute talks to a group of 5 people. They may take 6 months to develop that self-efficacy. Once that person feels okay with doing that, you go to the next stage

b) You train the person to give 10 minutes talks to a group of 10 people. That may take another 6 months to develop that (or one month, or a year - you can only move at the pace of the person you are coaching). Once that person has developed that self-efficacy, you go to the next stage.

c) You train the person to give 20 minute talks to a group of 20 people. Here it gets interesting because 20 minutes is the ideal length for a talk. You should train people to NEVER talk for more than 20 minutes.

The first key to develop people is to understand that self-efficacy is a matter of perception and that by making the task less scary, you can use a shaping strategy to improve people's skills. The second key is to recognize that perception is never logical. You need to move at the pace of the person you are coaching, not at a pace you think is logical. That requires patience and sincere appreciation of the facts that everybody is unique.

Another soft skills session