In this episode of the “Women in the Coaching Arena” podcast, host Jo Lott discusses the common feelings of imposter syndrome that many coaches experience and provides four steps to overcome it. She emphasises that these feelings are universal and can come up for anyone, especially when doing something out of their comfort zone. Jo shares the results of a poll she conducted at a conference and reassures listeners that they are not alone in feeling this way. The four steps to overcome imposter syndrome are: uncover the roots of the imposter syndrome, know your imposter syndrome script, rewrite your imposter syndrome story, and reprioritise your authentic self.

**Four Steps to Tackling Imposter Syndrome [00:00:27]**

Introduction to imposter syndrome and its common symptoms. Poll results showing how prevalent imposter syndrome is. Personal experience with imposter syndrome as a coach.

**Uncover the Roots of Imposter Syndrome [00:08:58]**

Exploring the origins of imposter syndrome, often stemming from childhood experiences. Reflecting on personal behaviours and their benefits. Identifying the impact of imposter syndrome on personal and professional life.

**Challenge Your Inner Critic [00:11:50]**

Recognising and challenging negative self-talk. Reframing thoughts and beliefs. Practising self-compassion and self-care.

**Celebrate Your Successes [00:16:00]**

Acknowledging and celebrating personal achievements. Keeping a success journal. Recognizing the value of personal growth and learning.

**Imposter Syndrome Script [00:10:57]**

How childhood labels can hold us back and how to challenge negative thoughts.

**Rewriting Your Story [00:17:26]**

How to question and reframe negative thoughts through journaling and reflection.

**Prioritizing Your Authentic Self [00:20:51]**

Identifying and declaring your unique abilities to build a sense of self and take action.

**Gratitude and Affirmations [00:13:06]**

The importance of acknowledging successes and using affirmations to reprogram your mind.

Note: The section also includes tips on challenging negative thoughts and the importance of writing things down.

**Overcoming Imposter Syndrome [00:22:41]**

Tips on how to overcome imposter syndrome as a coach, including the importance of gratitude journaling and the need to reframe negative thoughts.

**Four Steps to Tackling Imposter Syndrome [00:23:36]**

A summary of the four steps to tackle imposter syndrome: uncover the roots, know your script, rewrite your story, and reprioritize your authentic self.

**Believing in Yourself [00:24:40]**

Encouragement to trust and believe in yourself, and to pursue your dreams.

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Transcript

[00:00:00] Hello and welcome to Women in the Coaching Arena podcast. I'm so glad you are here. I'm Jo Lott, a business mentor and ICF accredited coach, and I'm on a mission to help brilliant coaches build brilliant coaching businesses. In this podcast, I'll be sharing honest, not hype, practical and emotional tools to support you to make the difference that you are here for.

Hello and welcome to episode six of [00:00:30] Women in the Coaching Arena. Today I'm going to talk about four steps to tackling imposter syndrome as a coach.

So do you feel plagued by feelings of self-doubt? Worry that you are judged as not good enough if people don't sign up after a discovery call, or if people do sign up for your coaching? Have the feeling that you don't know what you're doing despite the fact you've done it before? Maybe you feel like everyone [00:01:00] else is better than you? Or you might feel like someone else will find out that you are not as good as they think you are and expose you as a fraud?

If you are nodding along to any of this, then you may have the feelings of imposter syndrome. It's a collection of feelings or emotions that stop us living life to its fullest, and it's very common, especially when you're doing something out of your comfort zone like training to become a coach or launch[00:01:30] ing and growing your coaching business, but it cleverly fools us into thinking that we are the only ones feeling this way. I ran a poll of women at the Women of Silicon Roundabout conference in London, so I was standing in a room running this workshop of over a hundred talented women from huge, huge companies, and everyone looked amazing. Everyone looked confident in control.

And it [00:02:00] looked like they were having the time of their lives. And then I ran this poll. So here are the results.

83% of those in the room believe that others are more intelligent than them.

83% said they seek external validation, yet don't fully believe it when it comes.

80% said they're afraid that others will discover how little they know.[00:02:30]

75% say that when people praise them, that they fear that they won't live up to expectations.

55% said that when they succeed, they have doubts about whether they can do it again, and

49% said that they feel that their success is down to luck.

So if you feel any of those feelings, just know that you are not alone. It's a [00:03:00] universal feeling that comes up for most people at certain times in their life. Some of the greatest people of all time have openly shared that they also have these feelings.

Adele, the amazing singer, openly shared that she experiences the feelings of imposter syndrome whenever she's about to perform.

Maya Angelou said each time I write a book, every time I face that yellow pad, the challenge is so great. I have written [00:03:30] 11 books, but each time I think Uhoh, they're gonna find out. Now I've run a game on everyone and they're gonna find me out.

So let's start with you are not an imposter. You are having big feelings because being a brilliant coach means a lot to you.

And here are some of the ways that it may show up in your life. So maybe you feel like a fraud. Always feel like you're not good enough. You are plagued with feelings of self-doubt. [00:04:00] You think things should be easier for you to learn. I know. I definitely feel that one. You disregard positive comments thinking that they are just being nice.

You have higher expectations of yourself and put things off until they are perfect. You feel like you don't know what you're doing, even though you've done it before. You procrastinate feeling like you'll be ready when you finish that next training course. Oh, yes, I've seen that one a [00:04:30] lot. And maybe you are always comparing yourself with others, even though they are at a different starting point to you.

So I have felt imposter syndrome at several times in my life, but most predominantly when I began my coaching journey. I was surrounded on my coach training by a group of senior, clever, talented, seemingly natural coaches. There was nowhere to hide and [00:05:00] comparisonitus was rife. So my previous roles were in HR. They involved a lot of black and white thinking, so everything was either right or wrong.

There were legal requirements and policies to adhere to, and I was very good at it. I have always been really, really good at doing things right, you know, the whole good girl syndrome. I know the rules and I know how to play them, and I will play [00:05:30] by the book every single time. And when I started coaching, I was lost in all of the grey, all of this it emerges. You build on the previous response, you dance in the moment, I was completely out of my depth. I wanted to know what was right and wrong, but all of a sudden I had absolutely no idea of the right thing to do. There was nothing I could do to plan for this perfect coaching session because. [00:06:00] It emerges as my coach constantly told me. All of this reflecting what could have been better? What did I learn?

It was all new to me, and all I knew was it needed to be much, much better. And so I put off submitting my audio and assignments for months because I feared they wouldn't be good enough and would fail. I genuinely felt that in the body life or death threat [00:06:30] at just submitting this stuff. So the pure survival mode kicked in. It was such a hard moment but of course, I somehow managed it and passed, which was amazing first time. So I didn't have to face that terrible fear of not being good enough. But now I know why I felt all of these things. It was just because it was something new.

I was starting as a beginner for the first time in 20 [00:07:00] years, all of this reflection, and I realized I just could not complete the column. What went well? I was so out of touch with ever giving myself any praise or compliments that I just couldn't bear to think anything good about me. But of course, I could complete the what could be better column very, very easily. So all of this being visible and being judged [00:07:30] just felt really, really awful to me.

And it multiplied when I started out in business and I had to tell people I know what I was doing and then show up on social media. So all of that worry about previously having a really good job that everyone thought that's great, and then suddenly everyone was like, what is this weird thing you are doing?

Like, I don't know why anyone would show up and, and ask their friends and family for help [00:08:00] and do all this weird stuff on social media. I would never do that. So there was all of this judgment and over the years I collected several strategies and tips that have worked for me and I've worked extensively on with my clients too. So let's start with the four ways to overcome imposter syndrome. So do you work through the following with a notebook, pen, and open mind. If you really, really want to go [00:08:30] deep on this episode.

So let's start with the first point, which is uncover the roots of the imposter syndrome.

So start from why it's there and how it shows up in your life. From my personal and coaching experience, the roots of imposter syndrome often stem from childhood when we are criticised and we can internalise that feeling. It ends up defining who we are. And this doesn't mean that we [00:09:00] can't move forward. And the amount of times I've said to my coach, oh, it's just pointless then, then if only I'd had a good childhood, then everything would be great. And maybe I just can't move on from this. And it doesn't mean that at all. It means that we are stuck at a point in our development path and we need to uncover our authentic self so that path becomes more obvious.

So the emotional rather than the rational part of the [00:09:30] brain usually wins the argument, and we can end up treating ourselves in a way that we would never treat anyone else because we are not good enough and should be better.

So, reflect on the following questions.

Why do the needs of others come before me?

Why do you let the feelings of imposter syndrome get in the way?

So every behavior we have has its benefits. So what's in it for you? On [00:10:00] some level, it's working for you. So for example, if you are not showing up on social media, you don't have the threat of anyone saying anything horrible about you.

What's the impact of this imposter syndrome feeling on your personal and professional life? So what's it holding you back from?

And choose three of the ways that we discussed earlier that imposter syndrome shows up in your life to work on. So which would have the biggest [00:10:30] impact if they were shifted? So would you make speedier decisions because you weren't worrying about the perfectionist tendencies? Would you do that thing you're really scared of and pitch to an organization , or do your first social media post, what would you do if this feeling wasn't taking over your life? Have a moment to think about that.

Let's move on to the second step now. So knowing your imposter syndrome [00:11:00] script. So we need to acknowledge where we are today, where we have got stuck in our development journey and grow from that point. So during our childhood, we're often told things about ourselves, which lead us to decide the way that we need to be in the world.

We can hit a point where it no longer serves. So, for example, my parents constantly branded me as shy. So, oh, [00:11:30] Joanna's so shy. I was so sick of hearing it to every family member we came across. And perhaps it was true because I maybe was hiding behind their back, but I think that label ended up sticking with me for such a long time, and it became part of my identity. It held me back from training, speaking, showing up in my coaching business, let alone what it might have done in my career in the 20 years previous to [00:12:00] that. And finally the myth was debunked. When I had a conversation with three friends over a glass of wine one evening, my N C T girls, I told them that I can't do training because I'm shy.

They laughed out loud and said, Jo, you are not shy and now I train wonderful, clever, talented coaches to build brilliant businesses so you can move from that point that you [00:12:30] may be stuck in your development path and do the thing that you thought you could never, never do and find out, it's literally your idea of absolute heaven. So I've since presented at large scale events in person, like the one I mentioned earlier for the Women of Silicon Roundabout, and I've loved it. I've hosted trainings to 500 plus coaches in one go, and enjoyed every moment. Things that [00:13:00] I just never thought I could do.

And I finally discovered that it was actually my thing. So what a shame. It took me till I was age 40 to discover that actually this is a thing I was born to do, but that label of being shy had robbed me. So have a think about what your script is robbing from you. Like, what would you do [00:13:30] if this thought wasn't going round in your head?

And these limiting beliefs were not holding you back from fulfilling your absolute potential.

So, as I'm sure you know as a coach, our brains think around 20,000 to 60,000 thoughts a day, and around 80% of those thoughts are the same thoughts we thought yesterday and are negative. So, what you think today, you are gonna think again tomorrow because [00:14:00] those pathways become entrenched into our brains and it helps to become more aware of those automatic thoughts.

So know it, acknowledge it, and challenge it.

So have a think about these questions. What is your inner critic saying to you? Is that a helpful thought? Is that gonna move you to a potential or is it gonna limit you?

And if it [00:14:30] doesn't move you to your potential? How about challenging it? Is it true or is it an automatic script which you've outgrown and this is really, really hard to do in your head. So I would challenge you to write it down because like what happened to me, I would never be able to logically think my way out of, I'm shy.

I'd been told it and I'd told myself it for 40 years. So it's not something that my head could [00:15:00] manage because it was such an ingrained thought. So do write it out and in a rational way, look for the evidence for and against. Then think about what your wisest friend or family member would say to you if they heard the script that you're telling to yourself.

Reflect on what successes you've had and take time to enjoy those successes.

Our brain takes around 60 seconds for a positive thought [00:15:30] to embed, and sadly, most of us never get to 60 seconds because as Brene Brown discovered in her research, within six seconds of feeling joy, we will sabotage those thoughts.

So we may think, yay, I've launched a bestselling book, or I've got my first paying client, and then within a few seconds we'll think, but that was lucky, or that will never happen again. So really do acknowledge that that is what your [00:16:00] brain does. So think about ways of getting to over 60 seconds of positive feelings.

I've really found a gratitude journal helps because. You're writing it down so you can stay in that thought a lot longer than you can in your own head.

And use affirmations. So affirmations work to reprogram your mind, helping you to belive come up that you have already achieved your goal. So affirmations start with I [00:16:30] am so, I am valuable. I am enough, I am successful, I am influential. Whatever it is for you, have a think about what you really, really want to be saying to yourself that is gonna move you to your potential and think about how does it feel when you say this? So name the feeling. So you might be thinking, It's just really awkward or it doesn't feel right, but keep saying the [00:17:00] affirmation anyway, several times a day. Stick it on post-it notes all around your house. I certainly did this when I first started coaching and my husband thought I was crazy because all over the mirror and the fridge and when people came round, I had to quickly take these post-it notes down, or they'd think I was crazy, but it really genuinely did help, so I would highly, highly recommend it.

So let's move on to step three, Rewrite [00:17:30] your Imposter Syndrome story. So question that current script that you've got going on in your head and rewrite it. So we are not our stories. Take time to clearly understand your story and become aware of those negative thoughts through journaling and reflection.

Your identity plays a huge part in your personal and professional success. So if you have the identity of a [00:18:00] person who is valuable and worthy of receiving, you'll make different choices than if you wont come up that no one wants to hear what you have to say. And this is not to say that those thoughts won't come up. They most definitely will, and I believe it's a life's work because our biology is constantly working to keep us safe and small. And away from those tigers that we fear as human beings are [00:18:30] trying to eat us up. And this definitely comes up when you launch your coaching business and become visible because that is a threat and you can genuinely feel that threat in your body until you start to practice doing it and realize that it's not actually a real threat to your safety.

So write your thoughts down for 20 minutes a day for a week and reframe them. So is it true [00:19:00] or is it an automatic emotional response?

What is the story that you want to create? So what is the desired vision for your future?

And your story about yourself is grounded in your script. So those things that go round in your head again and again and again, and we use that script to keep small and stay safe, and you can break out of survival mode when you have a [00:19:30] vision that is bigger than the fear. And that is something that I'm super grateful to Beth Hood, who is a coach, and I attended her Phoenix Vision workshop when I first started my coaching business, and I'm so glad I did because I still have the scribbled notes that I did on that workshop pinned to my wall, reminding me of why I'm doing this work.[00:20:00] So my goal, that I'm looking at now that I did three and a half to four years ago was making 1 million people happier, and I've also written down world peace.

So it sounds a bit grand, but it has genuinely kept me going through the ups and downs of building a business.

So let's move on to step four. Reprioritize your [00:20:30] authentic self. So build your sense of self and work through the resistance to fulfill your potential. So we came into this world with unique abilities, which differentiate us from everyone else. So no one else has the same experiences, innate talents, and the various gifts, knowledge and skills that you have acquired throughout your life.

And often these superpowers come so naturally to you that you might not realize that they are actually something special. This is something I [00:21:00] prioritize in my program, the business of coaching, because I want every single coach I work with to know what they are brilliant at.

Because if they feel good, if they feel needed, then they will take action. And action is what it takes to build a brilliant coaching business.

In the Gallup strengths finder, individualization is one of my top strengths. I cannot help but to see so clearly that person's unique qualities and remind them often. So let's reflect on [00:21:30] yours.

So what energizes you and makes you feel strong? Keep a track of how you spend the next couple of days.

If you're not sure about this. What are you always doing or thinking about? Reflect upon what you are naturally good at and write it down. Again, writing down, it's really helpful because if it's in your head, you can just think it's a normal thing. Ask five people to tell you what they see as your unique abilities, because things are so easy for you that you're brilliant at it's really easy [00:22:00] not to see them. So this is a really fantastic step to try out and then do a combined reflection and declare it and say it out loud. You can define your identity by your words. So again, back to those affirmations. You get to consciously decide who you want to be. And create a scrapbook, recording all of the achievements you've made and all of the positive things that people have said to you.

This one is brilliant to pull [00:22:30] out prior to a discovery call or any time you are feeling nervous or disheartened in your business. And finally start a nightly gratitude journal. This genuinely trains your brains to look for the positive rather than negative thoughts. I have done mine for about three years now, and I send a welcome gift to anyone who works with me, and it always includes a gratitude journal.

And I know it's had a huge impact for the coaches that I have sent it to because like Brene Brown says, [00:23:00] Within six seconds of feeling joy, we sabotage that feeling. So you might be thinking, yay, I've got a client. And then you'll think, but where's the next one coming?

So writing down is a really great way to stay in that good feeling for longer. And as you worked through the reflections in this podcast, you'll identify the thoughts which are holding you back and get clear on how to reframe them. It does take practice. You have probably been saying all of these unhelpful thoughts for a really, really long [00:23:30] time, but you can, with practice, truly start to see yourself and the brilliance that you bring to the world.

So let me summarize today's episode. Firstly, you are not an imposter. You are having big feelings because you are pushing out of your comfort zone and your work matters. Plus you are actually self-reflective enough to notice these thoughts, and as my coach always tells me, emotional intelligence is one of the greatest indicators of success.

So [00:24:00] congratulations for being self-aware enough to notice. So our four steps to overcome imposter syndrome were firstly uncover the roots of the imposter syndrome. Start from why it's there, and how it shows up in your life. Second, know your imposter syndrome script. We need to acknowledge where we are today, where you've got stuck in your development journey and grow from that point.

Third rewrite your imposter syndrome story. So question your current story and [00:24:30] rewrite it. And fourthly, reprioritize your authentic self. So build that sense of self and work through the resistance to fulfill your potential. We came into this world with unique abilities and nobody else is the same as you.

And the question is not Who am I to do this work? It's actually, Who am I not to?

I have genuinely worked through these four steps to find my authentic self and to build my business, and I truly [00:25:00] wish the same for you.

And like I say at the end of every episode, trust yourself. Believe in yourself and be the wise gardener who keeps on sowing the seed.

Thank you so much for listening to this episode of Women in the Coaching Arena. Please come and say hi to me on LinkedIn or Instagram and let me know how you are getting on in your coaching business and how you are gonna go for your dreams this year. My name on LinkedIn is Joanna Lott and [00:25:30] on Instagram is at Joanna Lott Coaching, and I'll also put links in the show notes.

Let me know if you found this episode useful. Share it with a friend and leave me a review, and I will personally thank you for that. Thank you so much for listening. Speak soon.

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