Joanna Lott Coaching

4 steps to tackle imposter syndrome as a coach

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Overcome Imposter Syndrome: A Coach’s Guide to Building a Brilliant Business

Table of Contents:

  1. Introduction
  2. The Prevalence of Imposter Syndrome
  3. Imposter Syndrome Symptoms
  4. Overcoming Imposter Syndrome 4.1 Uncover the Roots 4.2 Know Your Imposter Syndrome Script 4.3 Rewrite Your Imposter Syndrome Story 4.4 Reprioritise Your Authentic Self
  5. Conclusion

Do you feel plagued by feelings of self-doubt as a coach?

Worry that you’re judged as ‘not good enough’ if people don’t sign up after a discovery call? Have the feeling you don’t know what you’re doing before a coaching session despite having done it before? Feel like everyone else is better than you? Fear someone will find out you aren’t as good as they think you are and expose you as a fraud? If you’re nodding, you may have the feelings of imposter syndrome – a collection of emotions that stop us from living life to its fullest.

Here’s the results of a live poll I ran at a conference in London of over 100 women:

  • You believe others are more intelligent than you – 83%
  • You seek external validation, yet don’t fully believe it when it comes – 83%
  • When people praise you, you fear you won’t live up to their expectations – 75%
  • You feel your success is due to luck – 49%
  • You’re afraid others will discover how little you know – 80%
  • When you succeed you have doubts about whether you can do it again – 55%

The Prevalence of Imposter Syndrome:

Imposter syndrome is more common than you might think, especially when you’re doing something out of your comfort zone like training to become a coach or launching your business. It cleverly fools us into thinking we are the only ones feeling this way. However, even the greatest people of all time have openly shared that they experience these feelings. Adele, the brilliant singer, admitted to experiencing imposter syndrome before every performance. Maya Angelou, the renowned author, said, “Each time I write a book, every time I face that yellow pad, the challenge is so great. 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.'”

Imposter Syndrome Symptoms:

Imposter syndrome can manifest itself in various ways. Here are some common symptoms:

  • Feeling like a fraud
  • Constant self-doubt and a sense of not being good enough
  • Disregarding positive comments, thinking they’re just being ‘nice’
  • Procrastinating or putting things off until they’re perfect
  • Feeling like you don’t know what you’re doing, even if you’ve done it before
  • Comparing yourself to others at different starting points

Overcoming Imposter Syndrome:

While imposter syndrome can be challenging, it’s possible to overcome it. Here are four strategies that have worked for me and my clients:

4.1 Uncover the Roots

Start by understanding why imposter syndrome is present and how it shows up in your life. The roots often stem from childhood criticism or internalised beliefs that define who we are. Reflect on questions like:

  • Why do the needs of others come before yours?
  • Why do you let imposter syndrome symptoms get in the way?
  • What’s the impact on your personal and professional life?
  • Choose 3 ways imposter syndrome shows up in your life to work on.

4.2 Know Your Imposter Syndrome Script

We all have scripts or narratives ingrained in us from childhood that no longer serve us. Identify your script and challenge it. Ask yourself:

  • What is your inner critic saying to you?
  • Is that a helpful thought?
  • Does it move you towards your potential?
  • What would your wisest friend/family member say?

Use affirmations, journaling, and post-it-note prompts to build new neural pathways and conscious awareness.

4.3 Rewrite Your Imposter Syndrome Story

Question your current story and rewrite it. You are not your stories. Take time to understand your negative thoughts through journaling and reflection. Ask yourself:

  • What is the story you want to create – your desired vision for the future?
  • What affirmations can replace limiting beliefs?
  • Use journaling to measure your progress.

4.4 Reprioritise Your Authentic Self

Build your sense of self and work through the resistance to fulfil your potential. You have unique abilities that differentiate you from everyone else. To reprioritise your authentic self:

  • What energises you and makes you feel strong?
  • What are you naturally good at? Ask others for their perspective.
  • Create a scrapbook of achievements and positive feedback.
  • Start a nightly gratitude journal.

As you work through these strategies, you’ll learn to identify and reframe thoughts holding you back, and see the brilliance you bring to the world.


Imposter syndrome is a common challenge, but it doesn’t have to hold you back. By uncovering the roots, knowing your script, rewriting your story, and reprioritising your authentic self, you can overcome self-doubt and build a brilliant coaching business. Remember, the question is not “Who am I to do this work?” but “Who am I not to?” Embrace your worth and make a difference while making a living.

Prefer Audio?

You can also listen to all my new content on my podcast Women in the Coaching Arena

Whenever you’re ready, here’s how I can help you grow your coaching business:

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Interested to know more about my ‘Business of Coaching’ program? Click here to learn more.

Hi, I’m Jo, and I’d love to help you on your coaching journey. I spent 20 years in corporate HR but faced challenges balancing work and family. Refusing to settle, I ventured into coaching, seeking financial success aligned with my values. Overcoming limiting beliefs, I developed strategies to attract clients, leading to the creation of my Reliable Results Path. Now, I support coaches in achieving their goals through my Business of Coaching program. My values of honesty, personalization, and courage guide me, fostering a community of impactful coaches who believe in inclusivity and making a difference. More about me




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Hello and welcome! I’m Joanna Lott, and I’m passionate about empowering qualified coaches like you to build brilliant businesses.