Have you ever wondered what coaching was all about? ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ The funny thing is, there was once a time where my opinion of coaching was slightly unsavoury. Conditioned by others with comments thrown at me, like the shady words of ‘those that can’t do, coach.’ And then there was the unknown mindset of ‘isn’t coaching just people paying other people, to be told what to do?’⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ How wrong were they! ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ICF defines coaching as partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Coaching is:⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ✔ Working collaboratively at the same pace. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ✔ Conversations with purpose.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ✔ Breaking new ground which can be challenging yet encourages a deeper conversation (& outcome). ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Coaching can:⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ 💡 Go deep. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ 💡 Identify possibilities.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ 💡 Change the way you think (e.g. remove limiting beliefs that could be holding you back). ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Coaching will guide, challenge and encourage you. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Coaching IS NOT:⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ❌Mentoring, Counselling, Training, Management and Consulting. These are very different things. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Coaching is confidential, safe and has been proven to work. 99% of people who invested in a form of coaching found that they achieved the results they were after and more. Now that is a great ROI (return of investment). ⠀⠀⠀
It was hard a decision to make. but once I had decided it was time to go from a job & Company that I fell for, to follow my own path that was more suitable for me and my career aspirations – I felt lighter, happier and energised.
The truth is, how you leave a company is just, actually, if not more important than how you enter the organisation. Yes, first impressions count but what about that lasting impression.
When you watch a film or TV programme you are gripped to how the story ended. Not necessarily how it began. Crappy endings mean bad reviews, no season renewals, no sequel and worst of all, placed in the crap pile! By the show of hands: Who wants to be in the crap pile? – that’s right, NO ONE!
My Partner, who is self-employed, has a bit of a motto: “You are only as good as your last job” and it is something that is not only quite fitting for this post, but actually rather a nice mantra to live by.
Here I tell my story of what I did in my final working days. If you are currently working your notice period, I hope this can help shape your exit strategy.
My last few weeks were tough, my brain had started to empty, I had even started to forget people’s names (OK, in my defence, they themselves had already left and I hadn’t seen them for a good few months) and I was getting excited about my new adventure…
The plan was simple. Align expectations with my line manager, deliver on the items that were deemed critical and although tough, DO NOT get involved with the office politics!
I kept my line manager in the loop, offered any assistance with reviewing CVs or being part of the recruitment process (which wasn’t accepted or in fact really my place, but the offer was there) and made sure I was available for any handovers. The management role I held, meant that I was a resource on multiple projects that were at all different stages within a project life-cycle. Knowing this I did the following:
Two group drop-in sessions for Project Managers to come along to ensure that they had the up to date version of the process and had an opportunity to bring up any critical actions
1-2-1 sessions with the individual Project Managers which gave them the opportunity to go into more specific detail and complete any relevant documentation
And finally, on this point – Each session was followed up with an email, copying in my team, my line manager and the managers of Project Managers.
Aside from the project work I was responsible for, I also had ownership with processes and some general administration. I made sure all artefacts I created were accessible and followed this up with an email. I also produced a basic handover document, which could be used as a base for a new starter – the document included the repository location, reporting details and conference ID. Although it seems simple, not everyone uses their initiative or bothers to spend the time.
As my last few days sailed by, I made sure the I’s are dotted and the T’s crossed. I made sure I swapped contact details with colleagues that I built great relationship with. I wasn’t very forthcoming with my next steps after I leave; some people like to announce their success however, it is also just fine to keep your cards close to your chest.
Departure day arrived, I sent a few emails then cleared my laptop down. After a farewell lunch, I did my rounds of goodbye, wishing people luck and success. I handed my equipment and building pass back to a trustworthy individual (my manager wasn’t in).
I gracefully stepped out the front door, where it only felt like the day before where the excitement all began.
Imposter Syndrome, something we are all too familiar with.
Have you ever felt inadequate? Suffered from self-doubt? Feared a question in meeting? Felt like you shouldn’t be in the room? Questioned why you even stepped on the career path you are on?
Then you’re not alone.
Many women (and men) experience the constant, nagging feeling they’re going to be unmasked as a fraud at any minute. Despite overwhelming evidence saying otherwise. It’s a phenomenon that blights most people – and it’s called Imposter Syndrome.
Welcome to Imposter Syndrome – the data
The term Imposter Syndrome came into my vocabulary over the last few years. Perhaps unsurprisingly since I started to progress up the career ladder. I started seeing articles in magazines and recommended reads on Linkedin. Then this year at the Best You Expo, people offering coaching for Imposter Syndrome and most recently a podcast/instagram page called The Imposters Club (find them on insta @theimpostersclub).
Psychologists Pauline Clance and Suzanne Imes coined the “imposter syndrome” in 1978 when they were studying successful women who believed they were not worthy of their achievements. Their definition:
A feeling of “phoniness in people who believe that they are not intelligent, capable or creative despite evidence of high achievement.” These people also “live in fear of being ‘found out’ or exposed as frauds.”
The Independent study stated it found a third of millennials experience self-doubt at work, with 40% of women saying they felt intimidated by senior people, compared to 22% of men asked.
According to HR news ‘Imposter Syndrome has impacted a whopping 62% of people at work, according to a report by Access Commercial Finance. The survey of over 3000 adults in the UK shows over two-thirds of women (66%) have suffered from imposter syndrome compared to over half of men (56%) within the last 12 months’.
The Telegraph reported that research showed that 28% of working women feel like imposter syndrome has stopped them speaking in a meeting. It also found 21% have been prevented from suggesting a new or alternative idea at work, and 26% have failed to change career or role.
In a WITI article, it stated that research eventually showed a majority of people (70%) will experience imposter syndrome at some point in life, often during transitional times.
In 2011, a study published in Human Relations questioned 60,000 full-time workers on their attitudes toward male versus female bosses. 72% of those who expressed a bias towards gender, wanted a male manager. (That was back in 2011!).
In one of my most recent articles Please mind the (gender pay) gap I explored the well documented topic, of men being paid more than women. I refer to this, because I see a similar pattern. There does not seem to be an equal balance to the feelings towards Imposter Syndrome. With Women showing 10-20% higher results in feeling like a fraud then compared to men. Perhaps Human Relations has a point! Companies are very bias towards one gender, which could be impacting the behaviours and progression of women.
‘It is crucial to remember that women are not born feeling less-than. But if you are continually treated as though you are, you eventually internalise it. And this is not merely a synonym for low confidence – imposter syndrome is the logical outcome of a world that was never designed for women to be successful. It is time we stopped seeing the problem as being women’s refusal to believe in themselves and rather a world that actively refuses to believe in women’. *The Guardian Yomi Adegoke.
With the facts and figures of Imposter Syndrome explored, as a career coach I wanted to provide you with a some useful suggestions to help combat that feeling. That feeling of being a fraud.
6 Imposter Syndrome Hacks
Capture all your achievements and remember the positive results. A degree, a career change and/or running a 5K. Whether a photo around your house or on your desktop – make sure they are visible so you can see them.
Ask for feedback. Don’t be afraid to either. I like to ask for 360 feedback. It is a process where your manager, your peers and direct reports and sometimes even customers can evaluate you. Ask 3 simple questions – What should I start doing? (This will capture what you need to do) What should I stop doing? (This will give you something to work on) and What should I continue to do? (This is your positive feedback that you can save in your brag list).
Remember it is more than OK to ask questions, put your hand up and say ‘I don’t know’ – you are not expected to know everything.
Find ways to manage the Imposter Monster when it takes centre stage in your head. When you start hearing ‘You can’t’ find a way to turn that into a ‘CAN’.
Find allies both in work and in your friendship circles. When you start using self-doubting language ask your allies to use a code word like ‘pineapple’ 🍍 to bring you back in the room and capture the moment you started to doubt yourself? Perhaps at this point you may want to keep a diary so you can start to build any patterns and recognise any triggers.
Listen to podcasts, speak to friends, colleagues and family members about Imposter Syndrome. You will be surprised in how many people are willing to share their stories and you will truly realise you are not alone.
Do you have story of Imposter Syndrome? Have you been in combat with the fear of being found out? Or maybe you have suggestion on improving self doubt. Comment below your thoughts.
Would you like to explore more ways of beating the Imposter Syndrome dragon?
Working with me, as your career coach, we can build successful resilience methods to slay that dragon! I get it, I have encountered so many challenges within my career from lack of support or access to coaching, to bad company cultures with glass ceilings and, of course, the gender pay gap. All leading, to me, once experiencing and suffering imposter syndrome with self-doubt… Yet have found and grasped opportunities to slay, shine and progress.
Book your free 30 minute Discovery Call with me to find out more:
International Women’s Day is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women.
The day also marks a call to action for accelerating women’s equality.
International Women’s Day (IWD) has occurred for well over a century, with the first IWD gathering in 1911 supported by over a million people. Today, IWD belongs to all groups collectively everywhere. IWD is not country, group or organization specific.
“The IWD 2020 campaign theme is drawn from a notion of ‘Collective Individualism.’ We are all parts of a whole. Our individual actions, conversations, behaviours and mindsets can have an impact on our larger society. Collectively, we can make change happen. Collectively, we can each help to create a gender equal world. ”
The subject of equality isn’t something that was invented last week, there is a long line of history of women like the founder of the National Women’s Party, Alice Paul who first introduced the Equal Rights Amendment toCongress in 1923 and let’s look back to 1800’s where The London Society of Women’s Suffrage formed a campaign in 1867 – all fighting for a fair gender balance and women’s rights!
So you see, equality has been on the radar for quite a while now, so don’t you find it kind of disappointing that we still need to have a theme of equality now in 2020?
I read on an Accenture report: “We are at an inflection point. When it comes to workplace culture, there is a large gap between what leaders think is going on and what employees say is happening on the ground. Two thirds of leaders (68 percent) feel they create empowering environments—in which employees can be themselves, raise concerns and innovate without fear of failure—but just one third (36 percent) of employees agree.
In addition, employees care increasingly about workplace culture and believe it’s important to help them thrive in the workplace (reported by 77 percent of women and 67 percent of men). Their voices are rising, loud and clear, while a growing number of companies recognize the importance of equality.
Yet despite growing awareness, progress just isn’t fast enough. Why aren’t companies more diverse and inclusive, when the business case in favor of a culture of equality strengthens each year? And why is the share of women in leadership positions still so low?”
We can take the Gender Pay Gap as concrete evidence of the Accenture report. Women are paid 20% less than men in the IT field, 11% less in civil engineering roles and a shocking 25% less in executive roles.
The fact is, we already know why and how this happened – the question is now: what are going to do about it?
I think it is fair to say that equality is not an issue that just women encounter and have to manage. I think you would agree, that equality should be viewed as a business problem where strategies are need to drive sustainable solutions with the goal to abolish inequality.
As a business , the top three actions a corporation can take are:
People evolve thus people can change. We have a personality foundation which starts to develop the day we are born. Our environments, education, childhood, peer groups as well as our hobbies, shape the human being that we are today.
The Psychology Today wrote: “Can we change people? It depends what we mean by change. First, can people change? Well, obviously. For example, we get older. Can we change in every respect? Obviously not. We change in some respects and not in others. “
I recognise in myself that I still have the core personality foundations that I had when I was in my teens. For example, I talk with my hands, I am fiercely independent and super ambitious… I also care a lot about people and wrongly, what they think about me.
However the way I now conduct myself has evolved. And the way I think, feel and listen is different. The way I approach an activity or situation is tailored from lessons learnt throughout my life where I have been successful and of course when I have also failed.
To understand more about changes in people, I did some research for this post and of course, that research means googling. I found that the results were more for answers for someone who is seeking some kind of clarity or explanation for behaviour that has caused them pain. Such as and mainly: cheating. It was surprising that with no clear answers. Using my platform, I wanted to start this post by addressing the leopard in the room.
Certain common phrases such as – “A leopard never changes its spots” and “Once a cheat, always a cheat” – might stick for a while, but if we decide that someone is set on their own path whether positive or negative, are we not doing so because, on some level, creating a barrier between their bad behaviour or success and the pain or jealousy they caused to protect ourselves?
Whilst it can be comforting to sometimes decide someone is bad, it can also be rewarding to perhaps ask why do they behaviour in such ways? Perhaps you are the one who is inflicting pain on others, have you ever stopped and wondered why you are doing this? Perhaps it is jealously? A childhood trauma that is unresolved? Or perhaps you are just so unhappy in yourself, you are making others around you unhappy?
Everyone has the ability to behave selfishly and be disruptive. We mess up and cause unbelievable pain to one another. Often repeat certain behaviours if the root cause isn’t addressed or time is spent on healing our previous wounds.
I am not saying if your partner has cheated on you to forgive them or even give an excuse, what I am merely suggesting is perhaps start by asking why. Ask why 5 times and see what could be rebuilt from opening up. Sadly, on the flip side of the coin, you will come across those who are content with inflicting pain on others. These people are not worthy of your time, efforts and loyalty. If you have recognised that change is needed, sometime that means leaving a person, environment and/or life to create a new path.
If we are seeking some kind of change in how we exist in relation to other people in this world the real question, is how much time, work and effort we will spend on ourselves?
This brings me onto my purpose of this post. I believe in change and that people can evolve, grow and transform.
The reason I believe this, is because I have changed. (Alex, I know you laughing if you are reading this line!). The people I have met have shaped me, CBT and Counselling healed me, Coaching is evolving me and networking as well as blogging is expanding my connections.
Changing is a choice. Choice is the art of possibilities. And Possibilities are endless.
Personal development is something most people associate with their jobs. Completing objectives and smashing targets to enable them to achieve their bonuses. But what if I told that personal development isn’t just something you do in your job, that actually this can aid an individual to change as well as enrich their potential?
There are so amazing tools, forums and people out there, right at your finger tips to get you started! Here are 5 areas to start your journey:
1: Of course, there is this blog
A Platform that is focused on female empowerment with the goal to enable women to be successful, strong and sassy. I write articles across a number of pillars: Personal Branding. Wellbeing. Female Empowerment. Life Style. Career Building. And… sometimes I might go off topic, like I did in this post, but roll with me.
The blog was created to connect others, provide empowerment, share knowledge, inspire the soul and give a sense of belonging.
Coaching is a process that aims to improve personal performance and focuses on the ‘here and now’ rather than on the distant past or future.
As a career coach, I specialise in: Helping you to cultivate and implement your personal brand. Building personal & career confidence. Overcoming limited beliefs and amplifying your voice. Moreover, I also work with you to shift your fixed mindset into a growth mindset. You will finish your career coaching programme with a clear, concise career plan that will enable you to level up. Whether that is asking for more responsibility or finally applying for a leadership role.
If you are looking for Life Coaching, I work with Bright Yellow Coaching – Since working with Tracy, I have learnt skills such as how to be more resilient and understanding my values. Working with Tracy has also enabled me to find and understand myself more, without really knowing it – the sessions gave me and continue to give me great strength and empowerment.
3: Asking for professional help – CBT, Counselling and Therapy.
Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is a type of talking treatment which focuses on how your thoughts, beliefs and attitudes affect your feelings and behaviour, and teaches you coping skills for dealing with different problems.
It combines cognitive therapy (examining the things you think) and behaviour therapy (examining the things you do).
Counselling is the process by which a counsellor helps an individual understand and solve problems to help him or her cope with mental or emotional triggers. Where as Therapy usually involves talking about your situation in order to gain more understanding about issues such as mood, feelings, behaviour, and ways of thinking.
Ask your GP for advice on which treatment they would recommend.
4: Networking, attending industry related conferences/expos and connecting with others. I am part of the All Bright Academy that offer events throughout the year to attend. Women in Business Expo, Best You Expo and browsing through Meetup and Eventbrite to find local groups to attend.
5: Mentoring – Is there someone who you admire? Perhaps even aspire to follow in their footsteps! Never be afraid to reach out and offer to buy them a coffee. Mentoring is different to coaching. Mentoring is a relationship in which a more experienced or more knowledgeable person helps to guide a less experienced or less knowledgeable person. The mentor may be older or younger than the person being mentored, but he or she must have a certain area of expertise.
Working on yourself can start today…. Let it be DAY ONE, not one day.
So the question is, what are you prepared to do to grow, evolve and change?