They might not admit it, but deep down most coaches feel like imposters.
If you're second-guessing your coaching ability, it's probably because you don't have tangible evidence of the value that you've created.
When you're uncertain about your value, it comes across in all of your interactions. You end up holding back in your marketing and self-sabotaging in your sales calls. As you can imagine, this makes it very hard to get clients.
In this article, you're going to learn how to address this self-doubt head on. But first, let's talk about imposter syndrome.
The Thing No One Mentions About Imposter Syndrome
"Imposter syndrome" is the very common fear of being exposed as a fraud.
Imposter syndrome is a natural consequence of entrepreneurship. Most personal development gurus will just tell you to ignore it.
And most of the time...you should.
But here's the thing: it's entirely possible that your coaching isn't that valuable. Someone's got to be an imposter, right? Why can't that person be you?
Ironically, it's often the coaches with the most integrity who struggle with imposter syndrome because they really want to do a good job for their clients.
And those are usually the same coaches who have nothing to worry about.
But in order to avoid becoming a snake oil salesperson, I recommend looking for actual proof that your coaching provides value.
4 Signs That You Can Provide REal Value AS A Coach
In order from most to least relevant:
1. Results. If you've worked with clients before, go back to those people and send them an email or schedule a quick call to get their feedback. Specifically, you are looking for what they hoped to get out of the coaching, what they actually got out of it, and whether that was worth the investment.
Based on their feedback, you'll start to see what "value" actually means for your potential clients. Hint: it's about what they want, not what you think they need. This is why I'm such a big fan of speaking to a specific, tangible metric in your marketing - you can clearly see whether you've succeeded or not.
For example, I help coaches get clients. That's very specific and it's trackable. If the people who join my programs are getting clients, then I'm providing value.
2. Repeat business. This is another great indicator. People don't continue to pay for things that aren't making their life better. So if a percentage of your clients continue signing on with you, you're providing value.
3. Referrals. If you've had people refer you clients, you're providing value. This is another example of the cream rising to the top in business.
4. Testimonials. If clients are shouting you out on social media, sending you thank you notes, or writing you formal testimonials, you're providing value.
Keep this praise in an email folder as proof. That way you can look back at it when you start to doubt yourself as a coach. It's also great to use in your marketing.
"But What If I Haven't Worked With Clients Yet?"
When you're still in the early stages, you have to pick yourself. There's no boss to tell you that you're "good enough," so you have to do your best and trust that you will improve over time. The only way to know if you can provide real value is to start coaching people.
One way to bolster your confidence here is to think about the results you've gotten in your own life. Would a past version of you have paid future you to be their coach? What have you done that other people want to achieve? Go help with that.
Of course, client results are not entirely up to you since they still have to do the work. And you won't be perfect at first (or ever, really). You may even have some difficult clients that are impossible to please no matter what you do.
But if people are getting results, signing back on with you, referring others, or giving you great testimonials, you're definitely on the right track.
You'll also notice that I didn't include training and certifications in the above list. A lot of coaches feel like the only way to get confidence as a coach is to pay a ton of money for a piece of paper that doesn't actually help you get clients. And for some coaches, this does help them become more confident. But for most coaches, confidence comes from getting in the game. They need the experience of being paid for their work and getting results for real clients in order to feel legit.
Use Your Self-Doubt As Fuel For Growth
Imposter syndrome is trying to point you in the right direction. Instead of letting it keep you stuck, start asking questions like: "What do my clients value? How can I provide more of that? How can I do a better job tracking outcomes? How can I get more clients so that I have a chance to provide value?"
The world needs more great coaches. Stop focusing on your own doubt and start helping people.