Over the last 12 months, I’ve spoken in front of thousands of people at dozens of companies about coaching the Inner Critic. Many of these gatherings have been hosted by corporate affiliate groups designed to bring together women managers and leaders. While not all women have appetites to think or talk about their Inner Critic, (I’ve even had women tell me they don’t have one) we now have evidence that most women WANT to work on this aspect of themselves – and they especially need to do so at work. When we at Linkage ask women managers and leaders what they wish to learn more about for their professional development, “Coaching the Inner Critic” is always at the top of the list. Organizations have appetites and real business needs to advance female talent, and we women are just starting to admit that we might be part of the problem. In fact, I believe being able to coach ourselves just might be the secret ingredient to the recipe for developing women leaders.
The imposter syndrome, the confidence gap, the need to “do it all,” the pursuit of perfection, and how we manage (or not) our own inner dialogue MUST be addressed before we can expect women to “Lean In” at work. In addition, research also tells us that we women don’t think enough about what we want, are unlikely to put ourselves “out there” for a growth opportunity unless we’re pretty darn sure we have everything it takes to succeed, and once we DO decide we want to “go for it” we do a pretty poor job negotiating on our own behalf. Phew. The conclusion? We women have work to do.
And this is why I wrote The 30-Second Guide to Coaching Your Inner Critic. The book is for men too, but my premise is this: If we women don’t stop the madness of 1) feeling like we are not good enough; or perhaps even more destructive, 2) believing that those around us at work and at home aren’t doing it right (leaving us with no choice but to step in to control it all or step back and critique, or BOTH) then we will see little progress in the efforts organizations today are making in our advancement.
While women seem to have a deeper interest in understanding how to tame their own Inner Critic, before I dive in further I want to set the record straight now about men. Simply put, men have Inner Critics too – critical inner dialogue about others and themselves that often impacts how they manage and lead and ultimately, how successful they are in doing so.
Coaching Your Inner Critic is a moment-to-moment practice and gives us all the chance to stop the madness and the harshness so we can step in, up, and out.
So what does your Inner Critic say to you? Please share your comments below. And tune in next week to learn more about how your Inner Critic works.