Have you ever experienced that nagging voice inside that compares and criticises?
The voice of self doubt?
I do. I guess that people would think that as I am a coach, I have it all figured out. But I’m just like you, have my real moments of self doubt. Some days I even doubt my capability as a coach.
That voice sometimes reminds me that I don’t always set goals with clients (therefore am I even a coach?) and that I don’t always ask questions but share insights (how can I possibly be a coach?)
This was emphasised recently when I participated in an assessment for a coaching programme in a large corporate.
I’ve never been successful at an interview or an assessment so far in my life. I don’t know why I assumed that would change! In fact I spectacularly failed my first interview for Tesco when I was 18. The poor woman who was interviewing me to fill potatoes and carrots ended up telling me how I could have answered the interview questions!
Not my finest hour.
So here I was, preparing for a coaching assessment. Pages of reports spread out in front of me, feeling completely misaligned and wishing I had stuck with my original instinct to say no (see my previous post about listening to your gut).
The conversation was peculiar. The man who role-played was convincing in his anger. He seemed genuinely confused and the conversation circled around our heads like autumn leaves swirling in the wind.
At the end the three of us sat in shock.
They told me it was unlike any assessment they had done so far.
I could see their confusion…
Was it good? Was it terrible? What just happened?!
I politely eased their discomfort and deselected myself.
It’s not my kind of work these days.
Those who work with me know that I like to go deep. It’s why they come to me. I’m not a surface level coach. I’m interested in the unseen, unknown, uncharted territories. I love to free fall into each conversation with my clients. Following them wherever they are on any given day. Sometimes strategic, sometimes emotional, sometimes triumphant, sometimes despairing.
When I coach I follow you, not a process.
I help you to realign with your truth.
In my heart I knew I was misaligned that day. I knew that particular environment wasn’t good for my soul, a formula and process were needed. As a coach I know I’m unconventional. I’m different.
But it’s easy for me to turn that difference into doubt. After the assessment I had to coach myself back into alignment. Reminding myself of my truth. Finding myself as I lost myself.
It’s easy for me to believe that because I’m different I’m wrong. Do you ever notice this, perhaps in those meetings at work where your point of view is dismissed? Or in those conversations with your family where you’re standing for something different and you are sidelined? In chats with your friends where your exciting idea is shrugged off as wild and unrealistic?
I don’t know why we choose to listen to our doubts more than our truths, but I know when we do, we feel wobbly. Off-balance. Uncentered.
It takes a degree of consciousness to come back home from doubt. Back to your heart and your truth. But it is possible.
Have you experienced self doubt recently?