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Global Leadership Network UK & Ireland

WCA UK & Ireland

Life and Leadership – Roger Fairhead – 10

Roger Fairhead

Interview series with leadership specialist, Roger Fairhead

At the GLS in the UK and Ireland last year, delegates were asked to select from 11 key competencies where they needed to grow in the area of ‘Leading Yourself.’ Out of the 11 competencies, ‘Confidence’ came out as the top training development need. What do you make of that? Where would you as a coach start with someone lacking in confidence? What can an organisation do to cultivate a confidence building culture?

‘The most difficult person to lead is yourself.’ I know that many great leaders would acknowledge this and it is certainly something that resonates with my experience.  John Maxwell dedicates a chapter to the subject in ‘Leadership Gold,’ a book about the lessons that John has learned from a lifetime of leading.

Envision your future self and articulate that vision in three aspirational words. This is what Brendan Burchard encourages us to do in his book, ‘High Performance Habits.’ Mine are competent, confident and valued.  As a professional speaker, trainer and coach, I want to feel that I am competent in what I do according to my own standards and the standards of other professionals in my industry. I also want to deliver with confidence.

The people closest to me know that one of the biggest challenges I have had to address has been one of personal confidence.  I want to have confidence in my training material and in my delivery.  I also want people to find it beneficial – I want to add value to the room.

My journey towards becoming competent, confident and valued has involved being prepared to fail.  From a professional speaking perspective it has meant entering speaking competitions in a supportive environment.  I didn’t win a competition but then I didn’t expect to! To my surprise and delight, I did make it to the final round.  However, the most valuable thing I learned was the process of working on the content of my talks in such a way that they would become memorable and meaningful. I learned to remember what I wanted to say without losing my way and to deliver with more confidence.  I learned to push through to ever higher standards and not to be satisfied with less than my best.

I have learned what it feels like to stand in front of a room filled with other professional speakers and dry up! I have learned to push through to the other side even when I have frozen after 30 seconds into a talk without the slightest clue of what I was going to say next.  I have learned how much preparation it takes me to deliver with confidence and that it is irrelevant how much time it takes someone else – there is no point in comparing.  I now know how to deliver a competent and valued message with confidence.

I have also learned to confront the negative self talk that we seem so eager to engage in to sabotage ourselves. A few years ago I was one of several John Maxwell Team coaches who were due to chat with John Maxwell on stage at the JMT Conference in Orlando. On the first day, a friend asked me what I was looking forward to the most about the event and I replied, ‘I am looking forward to not screwing up on Tuesday!’  Later, I recognised the negative self-talk and corrected myself to say, ‘I’m looking to hit it out of the park on Tuesday!’ When Tuesday came, ten of us lined up to chat with John on stage. We had all screwed up at least once in practice. I had practiced what I was going to say hundreds of times. I was last in line. Each of my friends went up in turn and gave a fabulous performance.  I found myself thinking, ‘you’re the last in line, and you’ll be the first to screw up.’ However, I was able to capture that negative thought and turn it around. I said to myself, ‘you’re the last in line and you’re going to be the best of the lot.’ Whether I was or not is for others to decide but I know that I didn’t screw up!

I have found that my confidence comes from two things.  It comes from knowing that I am good at what I do and that it has value for the intended audience. I have found this out by being prepared to fail.

To build your confidence, determine what you want and find people you trust. This is an approach I adopt with clients, finding out what they want enough that they are prepared to fail along the way.  I then make sure that they have a safe, well informed place to fail. For me that has been the Public Speaking Association and the John Maxwell Team. It has also been a Mastermind Group that I attend on a monthly basis for feedback, personal growth commitments and accountability. It is in groups like these that we can test new ideas and explore whether our ‘thing’ has value to others. We can also obtain honest, frank feedback from people we know, like and trust.


About Roger

Roger is a leadership specialist delivering Leadership for Business Achievement through Speaking, Training and Coaching to business leaders and entrepreneurs.

“He is articulate, tracks complex issues with ease and has an incredible gift for raising pearls of wisdom out of the murky depths of people and process.” His passion is to help people to learn effective leadership skills to lead their teams to capitalize on their strengths and passions to realize their dreams.

Leadership for Business also invests into the dreams of families in the world’s underserved communities to offer them small loans that empower them to invest in their future, to provide for their families and give back to their communities.

Visit Roger’s website


GLS Mastermind Groups

Roger is developing Mastermind Groups for GLN Members and GLS attenders. Contact us for more details.


Life and Leadership

– is an interview series with leaders involved in the Global Leadership Network and the Global Leadership Summit. It takes inspiration primarily from The Guardian’s, ‘This Much I know,’ as well as interviews in Alpha Life, New Wine Magazine and others.
Interview by Will Salmon.