Hold responsibilities Food for Thought2

Coaches: How to hold Imposter Syndrome more lightly

Something that comes up often in coach supervision sessions is the weight of responsibility that we can carry as a coach. This can look like: 

  • The need to deliver the stated outcomes that we’re being paid for. 
  • The level and job scope of the coachee, especially if they hold a senior position in a large corporate.
  • The importance of the coachee in the buyer decision making process and how that might determine your future in the organization. 
  • The first client in an organization where the potential for future assignments depend on the success of this one.
  • The short time frames that we sometimes have to work our magic.
  • The need to demonstrate added value and the pressure that our ego puts on us to ‘make a difference’. 
  • The first couple of sessions with a new client, where the coaching looks like it could go either way. 

It’s not unusual to sometimes get lost in feelings of insecurity, which we can often call imposter syndrome. Luckily, most of the time, these feelings dissipate but they can still sometimes cloud our mind and prevent us from doing the very thing that we are there to do. 

The ‘weight’ has nothing to do with the outcomes, or the power/expertise of the client, nor even the short time frame. In those moments when we feel blighted by Imposter Syndrome, it’s because we have forgotten our own OK ness. We’ve forgotten that we know what we’re doing. We’ve forgotten that we can trust in the power and process of being present and doing what we have spent many years being trained for. 

When we remember who we are underneath our insecure thinking, we can hold these responsibilities lightly. They become an aspect that we hold in the space without them dominating the conversation.

When a coach reflects on their coaching in the safe space of supervision, they can often see how the weight of responsibility has contaminated their thinking and influenced their coaching interventions outside of their awareness in the moment. 

When we shine a light on these moments the coach can ponder who they would be without the burden and can often see immediately an alternate way forward with their client. 

Seeing how this unconscious thinking plays out in your coaching, liberates you to be the best coach that you can be regardless of the status of your client or the responsibility placed on you when you take on the coaching assignment. 

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