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A few years ago I read a Harvard Business Review article that said something like 30% of US CEO’s were suffering from ’ “Imposter syndrome”, that is they were waiting for the tap on the shoulder that says, “you’ve been found out!”. My guess is that it’s probably even higher in the music business.
My coaching over the last 20 years has been focused mainly on UK/Europe and I would say approximately 20% of the people I coached presented with this issue. In most cases these were highly capable and impressive individuals on the outside and most people would never believe there was an issue.
We have all heard of actors, comedians and music artists who need an audience of thousands to feed them and enable them to function and feel good about themselves. This is a form of ‘external referencing’ where a person looks outside themselves for affirmation, recognition and approval. They gain their confidence through a sense that others are approving of them, their choices and behaviour. Clearly the disadvantage to this way of operating is the need to constantly ‘perform’ and please the multitude of different audiences and people encountered in life and work.
The underlying issue is of course, confidence. So, if coaching is about achieving some form of change, then I believe that to achieve permanent change it is necessary to work from the Inside- Out, not the other way around. I challenge and support my clients to understand the attitudes, values, beliefs, assumptions, blind spots, personal history, culture etc that impacts how they make meaning from their experience and the drivers to their choices and behaviour.
This process enables the individual to reconnect to their inner resources through a process of heightened awareness. By understanding themselves and their internal processes they have a greater sense of choice and control leading to increased confidence. They are able to ‘internally reference’ in order to assess whether their choices and behaviours are ok, to give self-praise and gain an authentic sense of who they are, what their needs are and how to assertively express these in the world.
Interestingly when I review the coaching testimonials I’ve collected over the years, the single biggest outcome reported is increased confidence. Clients refer to ‘unlocking of previously unrecognised abilities’, ‘inner strength’, ‘self-belief’ and ‘removal of blocks to confidence’.
Confidence comes from becoming fully aware of and accepting the totality of who you are and choosing to live a life that honours your authentic self. This results in a greater sense of confidence on the inside and enhanced presence and impact in the individual’s external world. Authentic people create trust and stability in those around them and also gain in confidence themselves. When this happens Imposter syndrome fades and is updated by ‘Here and Now’ positive experience. A true Win-Win and music to the ears!
Stephen Daltrey Founder www.musicindustrycoaching.com