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How to Become A Life Coach Part Three - Imposter Syndrome

Dec 14, 2022

Imposter Syndrome


I have never taught anyone to become a life coach that hasn’t felt like an imposter.  In fact I hate that we have even decided to call it a “syndrome”.


In fact, when I teach Inquiry Method I try to get even experienced coaches to feel like an imposter.  You could also call it innocence, beginner's mind, curiosity.  When I get coached I find it really irritating when someone thinks they are an expert on me.  


I see myself like a scientist discovering a new species with my clients.  I am so curious about what it is like to be them.  What thoughts do they have?  What does it feel like to be in their body?  What are their relationships like?  What has worked for them?  What spiritual experiences have they had?  What did they want to talk to me about?  What bothers them about that?  When have they experienced that before?  Would they like to let that go?  What is stopping them?

It is amazing what can happen when you are just curious.  What can open up.  How, with the right kind of attention people can discover for themselves everything they need.  That they are the source of their own change.  They are often amazed that they actually have the power to make the changes they desire, that they are able to learn to inquire in themselves, that they have their own answers even if it is with the support of a witness.


Scientific studies have shown that most therapies get about the same result, coaches, psychologists, social workers, healers, etc.  In the studies they hypothesize that the most potent aspect of therapy is in being listened to.  If this is true, wouldn’t the best listener get the best result?


The biggest problem with “imposter syndrome” in my opinion is that it actually spawns the opposite.  Because none of us really know how to help someone else I find that many coaches have to amplify their authority and superiority to their clients, being experts and taking an egoistic stance with their clients, and I have seen this actually do damage to their clients.  It has happened to me with teachers and coaches I have hired.  Even if this kind of coaching comes up with the right answer, what does it fundamentally teach us about ourselves when we receive it?


Coaching is meant to empower, meaning give power to the client.  Doesn’t that mean teaching them that they are the authority on themselves.  Great listening, inquiry does this automatically.  Treating each client as the highest authority on themselves.


When I look at a client I see every possibility for them, I see the beauty and uniqueness of them.  Then I am simply curious of why and how they are carrying things that don’t support that.  We are not here to change people, just help them be more like themselves.

I am not saying that experience isn’t valuable but every student I have trained has had amazing results straight out of the gates, but a lot of that comes from not  trying to change anyone or convince them of anything.  Coaches that aren’t trying to prove they aren’t an imposter.  They realize the power of safety, the power of just lovingly, with no agenda, being with another person.


You can actually try it out today, every relationship can be improved with inquiry.  Just sit down with someone and without an agenda get curious about someone.  Especially someone that is unhappy with you.  Try to deeply understand what their experience is, what they want, how they would like it to be, how they see it happening.  You don’t need to become responsible for what they want, just listen and be curious.  In my experience the only real limitation to these conversations is the listener, inquirist (my term).


It is our own prejudices, agendas, and assumptions that get in the way.  When we really get curious with people we see we all basically want the same things and have the same challenges.  This is just as much true with coaching, I always say that I learn as much as my client in every coaching session, learning about what it means to be human.

To be a great coach is to do your own work, I call that leadership.  Breaking down your own prejudices, agendas, and assumptions is the most important work to being a coach.  Learning to be a great coach is just as much for you as your clients, it should be a personally transformational journey.  Find the best coaches you can find and get coached, get coached on your coaching.


If you can be with someone and create safety, really deeply listen, and have some idea about the process of healing and changing thoughts, you can really be useful to people.  As you go out and find your clients, you will find that just the right people come to you, who need what you have.


If you have made it all the way to here, I would love to share what I know with you and support you in your journey.  I have founded Life Coaching Academy to teach Inquiry Method, which I believe is truly the best way to start your coaching career.  Not only will imposter syndrome cease to be an issue for you but this program will change your relationship with yourself and everyone around you.  Please come check it out, I would love to meet you, show you how to see yourself, and make a big difference with your clients.



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