Barnsley life coach and ‘people’s cheerleader’ Lisa Walker is on a mission to stop ‘outwardly brilliant’ women in the workplace ‘self-sabotaging’.

To all who meet them, they are women at the top of their game, ‘supremely self-assured’.

But Barnsley life coach Lisa Walker has discovered something is preventing a high number of successful career women and female entrepreneurs from reaching their true potential – a high number are ‘self-sabotaging’.

Her business, White Apple Thinking, has a growing following of career women from across the region who want to tackle the hidden confidence issues which have filled them with self-doubt for years.

“The women who come to me are the last people you would expect to be in need of a confidence-boost,” says Lisa, (47). “They are outwardly brilliant – most are professional women or have their own successful businesses. Some are very high profile. Most are juggling a colossal amount of roles across their personal and professional lives and are well-liked by all who know them.”

Today Lisa is a Master Practitioner of Coaching and Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), running workshops and one-to-one ‘talking therapy’ sessions to help clients identify why they lack confidence and teach them ways of dealing with it.

A high proportion of clients find the monthly meetings so valuable they build them into their personal development plans, sometimes for years.

“They come to see me because they are feeling overwhelmed and frazzled, or stuck in a rut. It’s usually to do with a relationship, or money, or parenting. Many want better time management,” mother of one Lisa explains.

“There is a confidence problem preventing them tackling what is bothering them. I’ve seen this in women at the top of their game, even those who are supremely self-assured.

“Two or three sessions in, they have this epiphany and realise something they didn’t think was in their control or reach actually is, and that has a huge effect on their working life. They go for that promotion, ask for that pay rise and know they deserve it.”

Lisa found her forte for forging stronger business women at the first ever workshop on the effects of low confidence she delivered in 2014. After the session, women came up to her and said: “It felt like you were inside my head.”

Sheffield-born Lisa knew exactly how they felt, because she was once plagued by the same inner voice of doubt.

Her world changed dramatically when she was made redundant from her 15-year HR career in 2012. She licked her wounds, then launched her own business, White Apple HR, choosing HR “because I thought that was all I could do.”

Within eight months, she realised her confidence was at rock bottom, finding self-employment and hating pitching to potential clients.

Embarking on a path of personal development, she discovered the benefits of Neuro Linguistic Programming – an approach to communication and personal development that teaches you how to understand the language of the mind – and became a Master Practitioner in 2014.

“I finally learned how to tackle my self-limiting beliefs with NLP. It helped me so much I wanted to share it with other women.”

Out went White Apple HR. In came White Apple Thinking.

“I help people to get to where they need to go. It’s a bit like being someone’s cheerleader,” says Lisa, who also works with companies, looking at the business culture and identifying what needs to change to help people grow.

She says: “Men suffer from lack of confidence too, but it often presents itself in different ways. Women strive to have it all – we wear different hats throughout any given day. We are the carers, the doers, the problem-solvers, the bread-winners, other people’s cheerleaders.

“We struggle to ask for help for fear of not being good enough, while trying to live up to unrealistic and often out-dated ideals. And most importantly of all, we often don’t realise that things can be different.”

Lisa sees women who deal with the fears denting their confidence do something even more remarkable afterwards, too.

“They don’t stay quiet about their past failings. They willingly tell their story of self-discovery to help other women.”