Blog post

How coaching combats Imposter Syndrome

August 18, 2022

Imposter Syndrome is a topic brought up frequently on social media and in conversations about leveling up, starting something new, or taking on more leadership responsibilities.

Merriam-Webster defines imposter syndrome, in part, as "persistent doubt concerning one's abilities or accomplishments accompanied by the fear of being exposed as a fraud despite evidence of one's ongoing success."

A common question one might ask when experiencing imposter syndrome is "What gives me the right to be here?" because feeling doubt and anxiety leads our minds to assuming it's because we aren't really as good as we might have thought and we must be in the wrong job/role/situation.

And one place this REALLY shows up for folks is when they are learning something new and being asked to quickly become the expert in this new knowledge. We can't think of a better example than learning Salesforce (or any new CRM or technology) and then having to lead an organization in championing it's use and ensuring it's efficiency and purpose.

Enter our new cohort of Holistic Salesforce Bootcamp participants.

These folks are killing it. They are learning on their own, learning from each other, and learning with a coach. Not only have they jumped head first into the vast world of Salesforce, they are working through being new in their roles at their respective organizations and navigating new systems and cultures.

All the participants are powerhouses in their industry. They have amazing skills and talents but have found themselves with an elusive feeling that there is so much out there that they don't know, even when they are capable and actively building new skills. Many of them are experiencing Imposter Syndrome at it's finest.

So how does OpenTent as a company and thought leader in coaching and training approach this issue? We lean into what we know and coach like crazy.

One way to combat Imposter Syndrome is to be clear on priorities. When we are overwhelmed, we can lose sight of what is important right NOW and what can be added to a backlog and essentially removed from our minds in this moment. Coaching creates a space to step back and go deep into the WHY NOW and WHY ME, which leads you to these answers.

One of our favorite tools to do this is the Eisenhower Matrix. First we spend time with participants pausing, hearing their concerns, and recalibrating. Then together, we fill out the matrix, which serves is a visual representation about what's important (AKA THE priority). It's not just about what's important to the organization, but specifically what is important for each unique person to own based on their zone of genius that only they can do. Since the framework is an objective exercise, it helps create an objective, clear and valuable north star that participants can communicate to their teams.

This allows for a fresh mindset, and the ability for participants to stop spinning their wheels. Sometimes when we can't get clear on priorities, we end up feeling like we're not accomplishing anything, which just further excites Imposter Syndrome. Often that sounds like our brains telling us, "Hey look, you aren't getting anything done, so you must not be qualified/competent/good at this!" When actually there are bigger, competing forces to consider. Coaching can help lead us towards reframing and feeling in touch with our zone of genius again.

We also practice the art of saying 'NO'. Coaches work with participants on how to communicate effectively and compassionately about current priorities with others who may have a different view. We can learn to say "not right now" as we tell the story of our priorities and roadmap to achieve them toward team success for everyone.

Though we wish we could eliminate Imposter Syndrome for good, we instead take an approach of honoring the feelings underneath and getting curious. Coaching is a tool that supports this kind of growth for individuals, groups, and whole organizations. We are grateful our Holistic Salesforce Bootcamp participants have trusted us to work with them in Salesforce AND guide them through their personal growth to the place where they can stand in their power and shine.

To learn more about OpenTent's way of Working Out Loud, get in touch here!

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