Within my coaching practice, I have heard recurring patterns in the language that is used by coachees who enter the room. Here is a question to the reader have you heard yourself ever saying or thinking “it was an easy task” or discounting praise when it has been given to you, saying something like “just doing my job”.  It is so interesting hearing or thinking “I feel like a phoney or am I good enough to do this job”? I have heard comments like this from barristers, surgeons to healthcare assistants and individuals of all ranks in the armed forces with different skill sets from pilots to the regiment. Amazing how many of us carry this, quite fascinating.

Lots of people feel this; they think they are hiding something. They feel they are not capable of being in the position they find themselves in, a feeling of are they good enough to be doing the task. The imposter syndrome is what it is called, and it is everywhere, in fact through life 70% of us will feel this at some point, some more than others. It may come when you compare yourself to someone else, maybe when you have started a new job for example? A feeling where you feel inadequate. Sometimes this will be unbalanced because you may not like to recognise your accomplishments, the fact you are even there. We all compare ourselves, but we don’t always compare ourselves in a balanced way, usually failing to also look at the positives.

Sadly, this can be exasperated by the ‘be perfect’ driver (Kahler’s drivers) or if you have low self-esteem. But why? Where does this come from? In some of us, it may be because when we were young someone from authority saying something like, “you’re not good enough to do that job” or “that is not for people like us”, Fascinating to consider this from your own personal level. The coaching room which is a safe place to discuss this is perfect. It is away from peers, family and friends, someone who is objective and ready to listen to your feelings and thoughts and look at your behaviours.

If you wish to change any part of your imposter syndrome the key is to focus on the positives. Look at your comments through the day and reflect on the language you use. Do you have the imposter syndrome, how much and why? Great reflection in YOU can create massive changes, a very powerful tool for change when it is done properly, sadly not many know how to reflect correctly and the unbalanced thinking hurts confidence and stops personal progress.

Claire Moody is our head coach at Target Training and you can read more about her here.  She delivers training on coaching for managers courses, and you can read more about these courses here and see dates here