QAA Articles

Coaching The Imposter Syndrome Using Transactional Analysis

“I had enormous self-image problems and very low self-esteem, which I hid behind obsessive writing and performing... I really felt so utterly inadequate.”


Hearing these words shared by a loved one, or even experiencing them ourselves, can feel like a sharp arrow piercing through our heart. Yet, what’s heartbreaking is that the words above were uttered by David Bowie, one of the most prolific artists of all time. David Bowie wasn’t alone. Despite its debilitating impact, 70% of us experience Imposter Syndrome.

It can make us feel paralysed and stuck, unable to access our full resourceful self. It can oscillate between making us play small and safe, and pushing ourselves to the brink of exhaustion trying to reach that peak of success and prove our worth. Because it’s so widespread, the Imposter Syndrome is a common challenge that people bring to the coaching space.


Coaching is a safe space to express emotions and explore these painful experiences. This is why it can be very powerful to feel seen and accepted as our full self – the good, the bad and the ugly. But how can we, as coaches, best support our clients in a heart-centred, compassionate way, while still being effective and forward-focused for them? I’ve seen questions around Imposter Syndrome come up time and again in the coaching communities that I’m part of, and this spurred me on to share my thinking around how we might use Transactional Analysis to coach issues around Imposter Syndrome.


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Beatrice Zornek

July 8 2020


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