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My Imposter Syndrome Days & My Undoing

Having graduated with a certificate in Executive and Professional Coaching in Aug 2018 and launching ‘Minds In Transition’ in December of the same year, I was a bit excited and a lot into the Imposter Syndrome when it came to coaching.

Coaching was already prevalent and in demand in North America, where I went through this education and student experience. In India, barring some progressive organisations and countable few individuals, this intervention was yet to gain momentum. It is common to see corporates and private clients signing up for coaching to be ‘fixed’ by the Coach.

Now, given the dharma of Coaching not to fix anybody; instead, to support them in their discovery of themselves, I found myself at crossroads when requested-for-proposal by clients.

For one such Leadership Coaching assignment that I bagged in 2020, I assumed, the leaders may not have the time to engage with their body-mind-soul in a seemingly simple, yet profound process such as coaching. Again, they, nor their sponsor told me this; I assumed!

Feeling threatened during moments of silence in not knowing answers weighed by the uncertainty of ‘what’s next’ in the conversation, I tried to fill the sessions with big chunks of training thinking, I at least saved the sessions by giving them a takeaway or two. At every step, I was confused about the hat I had to wear – coach's or trainer's.

End of the programme, I wasn’t surprised to receive feedback such as “She was too theoretical” and “I have not experienced such horrible coaching in my life” (yup! I dug my face in the pillow and cried myself to sleep that night).

Ever since, these remain my Lessons Learnt:

1. Stay true to the dharma of your profession

2. Upskill yourself, study, revise, research, listen to podcasts, watch Ted Talks and practice - to combat the Imposter Syndrome.

3. Do not tweak the process completely just to show value or to attract clients

4. As Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa once said, “When the flower blooms, the bees come uninvited”.


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