Doubt is a common emotion for many people, especially when it comes to their passions. Coaches are no exception – in fact, they may deal with doubt more than most because their livelihood often depends on their ability to inspire and motivate others.
We’ve all been there. That nagging feeling in the back of our minds that tells us we’re not good enough, smart enough, or talented enough. For some of us, that voice is louder than others. But no matter how big or small the doubt might be, it’s always there, lurking in the shadows waiting for its moment to be heard.
So how do we deal with it? We asked eight coaches how they manage to keep their doubts at bay. They shared real stories about how they face doubt in their coaching businesses and the lessons they’ve earned from each instance.
The answers we received were both surprising and enlightening. Read on to learn how these inspiring coaches manage this tricky emotion.
Table of Contents
8 Things To Remember When You’re Dealing With Doubt
- 1. Doubt is just your perception of your ability to improve.
- 2. You can acknowledge your doubts and deal with them objectively.
- 3. When in doubt, center yourself and focus only on what is true.
- 4. You don’t need anyone else’s approval to do what you love.
- 5. Doubt can be a mind game that you are playing to win.
- 6. Doubt will always be there, you might as well learn to lean into it.
- 7. You can always put on your coaching hat and guide yourself through the doubt.
- 8. You’re not alone. Even the biggest coaches have doubts.
- Final Thoughts – Dealing With Doubt As A Coach
8 Things To Remember When You’re Dealing With Doubt
Here are 8 stories from 8 coaches who shared their tried & true methods for dealing with doubt.
1. Doubt is just your perception of your ability to improve.
“The best way to handle self-doubt is to realize that the keyword here is not ‘doubt’ but ‘self’, and therefore the best way to deal with yourself is to take ownership of the issue, and responsibility for it. If you feel (it’s a perception, right?) like you are not at the right level, you can assess the situation and figure out what’s missing to make you feel confident.
More experience? Training? If you fear (another perception) that your client might not be receptive, then wonder what the client is looking for, and give it to them. If they want a mirror, be a mirror. If they want a sounding board, then give them a space where they can think out loud. If they want to be challenged, then challenge them.
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And if you fear that maybe a coaching session wasn’t what the client wanted, then instead of worrying, just ask for a debrief in a what was the takeaway format. You will be surprised by the result. In every case, it’s about them, not you, so there is nothing to self-doubt about.”
– Dr. Antoine Martin, Impactified.com
2. You can acknowledge your doubts and deal with them objectively.
“As an influencer coach, I deal with self-doubt and doubt from others on a regular basis. The best way to conquer self-doubt is to have confidence in your abilities and to trust your instincts. When doubt from outside sources comes up, I take a step back and look at the situation objectively.
If I can see that the other person’s doubts are valid, I take their concerns into consideration. However, if I know that their doubts are unfounded, I politely tell them that I disagree and continue with my original plan. These moments have taught me to be confident in myself and to trust my gut.
Acknowledge your self-doubt. It’s normal to feel insecure or unsure of yourself at times. The important thing is to recognize when you’re feeling this way and why. Once you identify the root cause of your self-doubt, you can start to address it.”
– Chris Grayson, Influencer Made
3. When in doubt, center yourself and focus only on what is true.
“I deal with self-doubt and doubt from others by 1. centering myself, 2. identifying the source of my doubt, and 3. focusing on what is true. When I decided to start my author coaching business, my head swirled with questions such as what qualified me to consult others? What if I did not know enough to teach the level of success clients desired? What if my business failed?
I identified the source of my doubt, which was my family’s limiting belief that entrepreneurship was “risky” and should be avoided. The truth was there was a reason why people came to me for author coaching. I was not only enough but more than enough for the people who requested my coaching services.
Never taking risks and living a life of regret is a failure. I didn’t fear failure: I feared success and the associated opinions and judgment of others along the journey.”
– Alesha Brown, Fruition Publishing
4. You don’t need anyone else’s approval to do what you love.
“Self-doubt is a normal part of growing a business because you’re doing things that you’ve never done before. Your brain doesn’t discern between doing something new in business and a real threat to your safety, like walking down a dark street.
I was scared to tell my sister I wanted to be a coach. I wasn’t even sure what this business would look like! When I tried to explain it to her, she looked at me and said, Why would anyone pay you for that? I was devastated. But, she knew nothing about coaching.
I focused on the fact that I didn’t need her approval to do this and I kept going. Because other people’s doubts won’t pay your bills. And when I hit my first 6-figures, she congratulated me. Fast forward to today, and she told me I inspired her to launch her own business! I smile every time she calls me for advice.”
– Kim Trathen, Kim Trathen Coaching
5. Doubt can be a mind game that you are playing to win.
“The best way I’ve found to deal with doubt? Recognizing doubt as a mindset game and playing along. When we look at it, doubt is just *fear* rearing its head to protect us (from embarrassment, judgment, etc.). The good news is we can deal with it by recognizing this and acknowledging when it’s showing up.
Simply saying ‘I am feeling fearful’ aloud helps take some of the power from it. Once it’s acknowledged, we can invite it to come along. I sometimes write or say what I am fearful of, thank my brain for trying to protect me from that, and then say the action I’m still going to take, letting my fears/doubts know they can just come along.
It’s just a simple mindset shift of allowing doubt to be present, but each time we are able to move forward despite our doubts, we create new patterns of self-trust that we can show up, and will come out okay, so the game only gets easier over time!”
– Cali Orr, Freebird Coaching
6. Doubt will always be there, you might as well learn to lean into it.
“Self-doubt is a longtime frenemy! Even as an accomplished coach and university professor, self-doubt is seemingly always there. What I’ve learned over the years is to lean into the doubt. When you are pushing your comfort zones, giving yourself growth opportunities, get comfortable with the uncomforting, and settle into that feeling. Let it be part of your journey and decide how you want to use it – if at all.
When I can’t find a way through my self-doubt, I ask others for help. A great exercise I do with my clients is to ask 3 people in your life what they like most about you, what they think you are good at, what are you known for etc. If you can’t speak kindly to yourself or encourage yourself to keep going through your doubt, ask others how they see you and use their language to gain perspective and clarity over why you are so amazing and how you show up in your life.”
– Nadia Ibrahim-Taney, Beyond Discovery Coaching
7. You can always put on your coaching hat and guide yourself through the doubt.
“I think everyone has moments of self-doubt and imposter syndrome. But then I put my coaching hat on and coach myself. And I ask myself, Do I have any proof that I can’t do the thing I want to do? Do I have hard, physical evidence of proven failure? Has someone told me I can’t? And even if I have tried and failed…how many times have you tried? (And that answer can’t be just once).
Asking myself these questions helps me calm my fears and doubts. So when self-doubt hits, put on your coaching hat and coach yourself. Trust me, it is sometimes the most bitter pill to swallow. But a worthwhile exercise.”
– Val Jones, Elite1 Productions
8. You’re not alone. Even the biggest coaches have doubts.
“Even as an experienced coach, there are definitely days when I feel that “imposter syndrome” sneaking in and I start to doubt myself, my skills, and my expertise. Instead of letting the self-doubt consume me, I have a few tricks that I use to help me move through it quickly. First, I think of someone big in my industry, like Tony Robbins, and as I contemplate his massive influence, I remind myself that even he feels self-doubt too.
I will also read through some positive reviews from people who I have impacted their lives and businesses. Then if the feelings persist, I will then remind myself of my accomplishments and my mission. After I take these steps, the self-doubt begins to subside and I can get back to work doing what I do best.”
– Chelsie Kenyon, Human Design & Marketing Coach
Final Thoughts – Dealing With Doubt As A Coach
We hope you’ve enjoyed this roundup of tips from some amazing coaches. It can be really helpful to hear how other people deal with doubt in their own lives. Hopefully, you’ve found one or two tips from the list above that resonate with you and will help you move past your doubts in a healthy way.
Coaches are human, too. We all doubt ourselves from time to time (or all the time). The difference is that successful coaches know how to deal with those doubts and keep moving forward.
So if you’re feeling down about yourself or your coaching business, remember these tips and try to put them into practice. You may be surprised at how much easier it is to move past your self-doubt when you have a few tricks up your sleeve.
Which of these techniques was your favorite? Let us know in the comments below – we’d love to hear from you!