One of the most frequent questions I get from INFJs and INFPs who are thinking about becoming a coach has to do with imposter syndrome. And this makes a lot of sense, because when we imagine what being a coach would be like, we usually see ourselves giving clients advice and acting in the role of “expert.” If you look around at mainstream coaching programs, this view is encouraged. Aspiring coaches are urged to choose an uber-specific niche and get as much training as possible in order to fulfill this “expert” role.
I understand this point of view, because when I first started out as a coach, I was doing the very same thing. I felt really insecure, about my knowledge and my abilities. I felt a strong calling to help people, and I had always been a natural counselor to my friends and family, but when it came to setting up shop as an actual coach, all the fears and doubts crept in. I thought that people would expect me to be an expert, and the closer I could get to this expert status, the more confident I would feel about being a coach.
Flash forward to now. I’ve been coaching for over seven years, I have a packed coaching schedule every week, I’m booking people three months in advance, and I’m teaching aspiring coaches how to coach.
And I’m still not an expert.
But what I’ve learned over all this time and from all this experience, is that I never needed to be an expert. Me feeling like I had to have all the answers wasn’t an indication that I was inferior in some way. It was just a symptom of me pursuing the wrong line of coaching work. In the beginning, I knew nothing, so I looked around online at how everyone else was doing it. And, by and large, the way everyone else was coaching was predominantly rooted in unbalanced masculine energy—which means that the focus was on goal-setting, achievement, getting to the finish line, and concrete results. Being impressive and being the expert.
Honestly, I’ve never been good at any of those things. I tend to do better when I can slow down and deeply examine issues, looking at them from all sides. I’m emotional, intuitive, compassionate, and patient, especially with other people. These are my strengths. But it wasn’t until I found my own style of coaching—what I call “intuitive coaching”—that I realized what beautiful gifts these strengths really are. When I let go of all my ideas of what I thought coaching should look like, and I focused instead on how I could work with a coaching style that felt good to me, that’s when I started finding clients who were an excellent match for my kind of energy.
That’s what intuitive coaching is, at the core. It’s not you trying to be an expert, or a guru, or having the right credentials, or convincing people to work with you, or hard selling people on signing up for packages, or any of that nonsense. Intuitive coaching is you showing up as YOU, as the kind, compassionate person you really are who authentically feels a calling to help people by deeply listening to them and helping them in their process as they untangle their problems for themselves.
I talk about all this and more in the video below: “I’m an INFJ/INFP Who Wants to Become a Coach. How Can I Get Over Imposter Syndrome?”
I’m launching a new video course next week on Intuitive Coaching for INFJs and INFPs and this video is one of three that I’m releasing in a video mini-series to address all the questions I’ve gotten about the new course before it’s released. If this video speaks to you and you’re feeling that nudge inside, that little intuitive whisper that says you know you would love to be a coach but you’re scared to get started, then be sure to sign up for my email list here to get the next video and all the updates on the course.
And if you’re an INFJ or INFP who is already coaching, but you’re frustrated with the process, you still don’t feel like you really know what you’re doing, or you’re not getting the quality or amount of clients you truly want, then this course is also for you. It’s designed for total newbies, and also intermediate level coaches, so it’s a good fit for those who haven’t started at all and those who have been coaching for two years or less.
If you have any questions, big or small, please send them my way using the contact form here or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love to get those questions answered!
Lauren Sapala is the author of The INFJ Writer and The INFJ Revolution. She is also currently offering a free copy of her book on creative marketing for INFJ and INFP writers to anyone who signs up for her newsletter. SIGN UP HERE to get your free copy of Firefly Magic: Heart Powered Marketing for Highly Sensitive Writers.