Over the last 12 months, I have led peer coaching sessions for hundreds of Headteachers. The sessions, intended to reconnect school leaders with their core purpose and empower them to be more intentional about their wellbeing, give me an insight into what is not talked about openly in the education profession.

The isolation, the toxic accountability, the competition, the impact on personal relationships. And, you’ve guessed it, Imposter Syndrome.

In a HeadsUp4HTs poll to school leaders in 2021, 98% of Headteachers anonymously told us they have imposter syndrome. So if the majority of us are living with it, why aren’t we talking about, confronting it and owning it!?

Let’s unpick where it stems from, what it feels like, and what we can do to combat it, so that we are not spending our precious energy on convincing ourselves and others that we are worthy and capable! Let’s be intentional about working through it, owning our authenticity and re awakening our leadership presence, whatever the sector we lead in.

What does imposter syndrome feel like to you?

Worried someone is going to call you out on being an incompetent leader?

Convinced yourself that you don’t know enough to do your job?

Overachieving, in case someone thinks you’re incapable?

Trying to be the perfect ‘super woman’ and be the best to everyone else around you?

Where is this coming from?

Why do we find ourselves feeding these narratives? Is it because we believe ourselves to be imposters? Do we really, really think we aren’t good enough to do our jobs?

Women are conditioned to be everything to everyone. We are conditioned to be tethered to the opinions of others through social media, through past experiences, through education, society, our upbringing… all these external factors are influencing our ability to own our authenticity and self efficacy and to keep the imposter saboteurs at bay.

I don’t want you to spend one precious moment diminishing your own feminine power by doubting yourself! We need to stop sabotaging our own authenticity! We need to give ourselves permission TO BE and not wait for ANYONE to do this for us.

We need to start the inner work. Here’s a question for you:

Who are we for others versus who are we for ourselves?

This is the internal conflict. If the opinions of others didn’t impact upon us, would we still suffer with feeling like an imposter?

As part of our work as Resilient Leadership Coaches, we help women reconnect with their authentic leadership presence and give them the tools and support to understand themselves deeply. Through compassionate coaching, we arm leaders with the strategies to challenge their self limiting beliefs, their behaviours, their assumptions and importantly, we start to slay that inner critic that feeds our imposter syndrome.

There is inner work to do here ladies! Strategies to practice, affirmations to reinforce, impact to evaluate and new self-belief systems to create. It takes work to slay an imposter. Intentional work. But it can be done.