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Impostor Syndrome

What is impostor syndrome and can coaching help?

Do you suffer from impostor syndrome?

A number of clients that I work with say they feel like a fake, an impostor at work.  They dread the moment when they will be found out and everyone realises they shouldn’t be there.  These feelings, beliefs and behaviours have been identified as Impostor Syndrome or Impostor Phenomenon and awareness has grown substantially over recent years, with many more people identifying this as one of their challenges. The term was first used in an article written by clinical psychologists, Pauline R. Clance and Suzanne A. Imes in 1978.  It is present in many leaders and senior executives who have achieved a great deal and are respected by their peers – no matter how successful they are, or how many times they’ve been promoted, they still feel deep down they are there by chance.

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confidence tips

Self confidence – how to build it

Confidence is something that pretty much everyone struggles with. Some people are very good at hiding it and coming across as confident, accomplished people.  I can guarantee you that when you get them to a safe space where they can talk freely, you’ll hear all sorts of self doubt and worries.  But they’ve learnt that to achieve what they want, they’ve had to work hard to overcome these and dive in regardless.

When I discuss confidence with coaching clients, some will say they don’t want to be too confident as that means they’d be arrogant.  I think this thought holds people back too. It’s as if suddenly, they’d go from quiet, self doubting and humble person to super arrogant, shouty one. It’s really important to challenge this belief as the likelihood of this happening overnight is pretty low.  They are still in control and still able to decide how they come across.  Having self belief makes it all a lot easier.

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