Do Many People Suffer From Impostor Syndrome?

In my 14 years of coaching the lack of time management and confidence are the two most common aspects that aspiring team leaders/managers/Directors have had to work on

So, focusing on lack of confidence, it might just be because their new role is so different, instead of it being functional, the new manager needs to deal with people as well as their previous technical role. Confidence in such situations can be worked on quite easily.

It can be more difficult however if managers have had these feelings for years and have a fear that they won’t be able to hold on to their role. This fear is called Imposter Syndrome and can be explained as follows

Impostor syndrome (also known as impostor phenomenon, fraud syndrome or the impostor experience) is a concept describing individuals who are marked by an inability to internalize their accomplishments and a persistent fear of being exposed as a "fraud".

As this is not logical you might think it is quite rare but in actual fact it is very common with both males and females alike.

So many people feel they have been lucky to achieve the level they have within their organisation and have a deep-seated fear that sooner or later they will be found out for the fraud that they believe themselves to be. Although from a coach’s perspective, this is not a reality, within the coachees unconscious mind it is their reality and is always in the back of their mind.

This mindset of not really believing in themselves is like an anchor holding them back and causes a lot of internal stress at the same time. So, what do I do when I see signs of Impostor Syndrome? I hear the phrase “I was lucky to get this job”. I ask them how lucky and get to explain to me how many hours they have spent educating themselves and all the different steps they have taken to get to where they are today. I have also noticed many of these same people don’t accept compliments and therefore, in my terms, don’t top up their confidence fuel tank. By just starting to thank people when they are given compliments is a good starting place. 

Coincidently whilst writing this article I have read a piece from a CEO Helen Morrisey who has written a book called “A Good Time to be a Girl”. Helen says she is just an ordinary girl from an ordinary background …All I have really done is stretch myself” Morrisey rows against the cultural tide by arguing that men and women do on average have different inherent strengths. She believes that men are more noisy, competitive and risk taking, while women are more diligent, doubtful and empathetic.

Particular profiles are more prone to the imposter syndrome.

Perfectionist– Do you feel your work has to be 100%, 100% of the time 

Superwoman/Superman– Do you feel like you haven’t truly earned your title, so you work harder and harder to prove your worth 

Natural Genius– a track record of straight As and gold stars 

Rugged Individualists– I don’t need anybody’s help 

The Expert– Even if you have been in your role for some time – you still don’t feel as if you know enough 

No matter what your profile is, if you struggle with confidence, you are not on your own. 70% of people suffer from Imposter Syndrome at some point in their career. Coaching can be ideal for ironing out confidence issues and Imposter Syndrome. How many people go to their boss and say they lack confidence? Not many, but in a confidential environment, with a coach, they can attack the issue through a common-sense approach. Get in touch with if you need any support at any time.