How to NOT Let Imposter Syndrome Cripple Your Growth as a Coach

Categorized as Coaching Business
How to NOT Let Imposter Syndrome Cripple Your Growth as a Coach (1)

I remember when I did my first business coaching session with an executive coach with CEO clients at some of the biggest companies in America. 

I remember staring at myself on the webcam, waiting for the Zoom meeting to start, with a look of sheer TERROR because I actually thought I could coach someone with those credentials. 

But the truth?

I was qualified. For the past 16 years, I’ve launched too many websites to count and I’ve done more 1-hour brand coaching calls than you can imagine, and even with my proven experience, and certified credentials, and testimonials, and a resume that commands respect…

Even with all of that under my belt, that day I thought, who are you to try and tell this amazing high-performance executive coach what to do with her coaching business to increase brand awareness? 

You see… I was going from doing the work for my clients to telling them what to do. Guiding them.

And that freaked me out. 

Another truth?

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I am probably one of the most qualified business coaches out there; my fear around transitioning from service-based to coaching made absolutely no sense. 

I thought to myself, what’s wrong with you? Girl, slay this opportunity. You are a fierce, qualified, and successful coach. 

But my inner pep talks, and quoting of Beyonce lyrics, did little to calm that inner voice.

I made it through that coaching call, but I knew that my confidence was lacking and I needed to face this head-on.

Out of curiosity, I put my feelings out there on LinkedIn. Looking back, I realize I was looking for some type of validation from those around me.

I’ll never forget all the comments. They changed my perspective on everything: 

“Join the club. It’s a rite of passage.”

“This is an everyday thing for me.”

“It means you are on the right track.”

“Congrats! You are officially out of your comfort zone.”

After a bit of Googling (okay a lot of Googling), I realized imposter syndrome was a phenomenon experienced by just about every entrepreneur that follows their dreams. 

According to Wikipedia:

 Impostor syndrome (also known as impostor phenomenon or fraud syndrome) is a concept describing high-achieving individuals who are marked by an inability to internalize their accomplishments and a persistent fear of being exposed as a “fraud”.

The term was coined in 1978 by clinical psychologists Dr. Pauline R. Clance and Suzanne A. Imes. Despite external evidence of their competence, those exhibiting the syndrome remain convinced that they are frauds and do not deserve the success they have achieved. Proof of success is dismissed as luck, timing, or as a result of deceiving others into thinking they are more intelligent and competent than they believe themselves to be.

Even more surprising, impostor syndrome is VERY common among high-achieving women.

Ask Hillary Clinton,  Meryl Streep, Arianna Huffington, Oprah, and even the Queens of confidence, Beyonce and Rhianna, and they all have stories of feeling like frauds, fakes and thinking they are not worthy of their success.

I was determined to understand more about imposter syndrome, and more importantly, how to kick that feeling of inadequacy. 

That journey has led me to some truths, but before I go further, know this: 

Imposter syndrome will continue to rear its ugly head from time to time, but there are ways not to let it consume you. 

How to NOT Let Imposter Syndrome Cripple Your Growth as a Coach

#1. Take comfort in knowing that you are in good company.

Think of it as a rite of passage to living in your truth as a coach. That thought alone helps you push through. 

Here are some famous ladies who have voiced their opinions on this subject: 

“I have written eleven books, but each time I think, ‘Uh oh, they’re going to find out now. I’ve run a game on everybody, and they’re going to find me out.'” – Maya Angelou, Author

“There are an awful lot of people out there who think I’m an expert. How do these people believe all this about me? I’m so much aware of all the things I don’t know.” –  Dr. Margaret Chan, Former Chief of the World Health Organisation

“The beauty of the impostor syndrome is you vacillate between extreme egomania and a complete feeling of: ‘I’m a fraud! Oh God, they’re on to me! I’m a fraud!'” – Tina Fey, Comedian

“[It was] the same way when I walked on the campus at Yale. I thought everybody would find out, and they’d take the Oscar back. They’d come to my house, knocking on the door, ‘Excuse me, we meant to give that to someone else. That was going to Meryl Streep.'” – Jodie Foster, Actress, on receiving her Oscar

“Even though I had sold 70 million albums, there I was feeling like “I’m no good at this.” – Jennifer Lopez, Actress, Singer

“There are still days when I wake up feeling like a fraud, not sure I should be where I am.” – Sheryl Sandberg, Author, Facebook Executive

#2. Journal, write, and doodle.

Writing down your accomplishments, achievements, ideas, strategies, and feelings each day is a legitimate form of therapy. 

Keep a notebook with you, and anytime those feelings arise write down where you were and what you were doing. You might find that your negative thoughts occur during stressful situations, launching something new, when you procrastinate, etc.

Knowing these patterns can help you recognize and dismiss any insecurities. 

Still struggling? Read back over your achievements to ground yourself. 

You deserve this.

You deserve these coaching opportunities.

You deserve your success as a coach. 

3. Try and minimize coaching overwhelm.

Procrastination, being unorganized, not planning out your days, weeks, and quarters, can lead you to overwhelm.

Overwhelm leads to feelings of inadequacy and being in over your head.

Staying organized in your coaching business can minimize feelings of imposter syndrome.

4. Make it a point to surround yourself with other coaches and high achievers.

Us coaches have a bad habit of locking ourselves away, getting caught up in our methodologies, and creating these lonely bubbles of seclusion.

Making a conscious effort to network with other coaches has been empowering and therapeutic.

Try to interact daily on LinkedIn and in Facebook groups, find local co-working opportunities, and attend conferences and seminars in your field.

5. Don’t ever try to coach like someone else. Put your personality into everything you do and be proud to be you.

Trying to mimic someone else’s design, branding, tone, web design, and coaching techniques will only lead to frustration.

Believe that you have something unique to offer the world.

6. Finally, believe in yourself as a coach.

I know it’s cliche, but you really are your biggest fan. Own your success and your awesomeness

I want to hear from you! 

What advice would give to coaches who are struggling with feelings of inadequacy and imposter syndrome?

About The Author

Hey! I’m Tee, a brand and marketing coach and the Co-Founder & CMO at Lovely Impact, a website template shop for coaches. I help coaches grow their coaching businesses digitally. Here on our blog, my content focuses on web design, marketing, business, and social media strategy.

By Tee

Hey! I’m Tee, a brand and marketing coach and the Co-Founder & CMO at Lovely Impact, a website template shop for coaches. I help coaches grow their coaching businesses digitally. Here on our blog, my content focuses on web design, marketing, business, and social media strategy.

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