The Impostor Syndrome-Informed Coach

Elevate your credibility, confidence, and expertise with a proven framework based on four decades of work by the world’s foremost thought leader.

Millions of people around the world — regardless of gender — secretly worry they’re not as smart or talented or qualified as other people “think” they are.

Interest in impostor “syndrome” in online and traditional media, corporate settings, at universities, and elsewhere is soaring across the globe.

With that comes the growing need to more clearly understand the contextual factors driving this form of needless self-doubt as well as how to overcome impostor syndrome.

As a coach, counselor, mentor, or external* HR or DEI consultant you wonder how to help your clients:

Accurately identify impostor syndrome
Know the difference between impostor syndrome, low self-esteem, and self-doubt
Understand the source(s) of impostor syndrome
Recognize behaviors associated with impostor syndrome
Become more resilient to failure, setbacks, and constructive criticism
Coach and support others who suffer from impostor syndrome
Understand and apply concrete, immediately usable tools that help them overcome impostor syndrome so they can feel as bright and capable as they really are
Achieve their goals with less stress

The term impostor phenomenon (more commonly referred to as impostor syndrome) was first coined in 1978 by clinical psychologists Pauline Clance and Suzanne Imes.

It describes a pattern of negating evidence of one’s skills, talents, and accomplishments and experiencing a persistent habitual fear of being exposed as a fraud. Left unaddressed, this fear can lead to needless self-doubt and for some, overwhelming anxiety and depression.

Impostor syndrome isn’t just an “interesting self-help topic.”

Impostor feelings lead to behaviors. Chronic procrastination, underperforming, overworking, self-sabotage and other behaviors associated with impostor syndrome come at a high cost — personally and professionally.

What’s more, it prevents individuals from realizing their ideal selves.

The Solution

Impostor syndrome is a multi-faceted and often highly nuanced experience.

Our transformational Impostor Syndrome-Informed Coach™ program offers coaches, mentors, counselors, and external HR and/or DEI consultants a proven methodology to help others to overcome impostor syndrome.

The methodology consists of a blend of evidence-based research, practical, immediately-actionable tools, and a coaching framework to help your clients (and you!) close the confidence gap.

Led by Dr. Young and Denise McClennen, this training provides an in-depth understanding of impostor syndrome as well as the tools that have been used with a broad cross-section of people working in a wide range of occupations and levels.

This 100% virtual, 22-hour course has been designed to meet Continuing Coaching education (CCE) accreditation standards of the International Coaching Federation.

Course Format

This eight (8) module blended learning program includes:


Four (4) LIVE ONLINE synchronous sessions. We meet live for four (4), 3-hour sessions. Recordings are available for participants who are unable to join us live.

LIVE DATES are Tuesdays from 10 am-1 pm Eastern Daylight Time (GMT-4) as follows:






Four (4) ON DEMAND asynchronous learning modules. You’ll also have 11 hours of ON DEMAND asynchronous pre-and post-session self-study and peer practice with scheduled deadlines

September 26


Deeply Understand Impostor Syndrome

You get to spend three hours with the world’s foremost impostor syndrome thought leader, Dr. Valerie Young.

Gain accurate information regarding the originators of the term “impostor phenomenon” as well as the researchers of color who preceded them
Key findings from this heavily researched topic including those based on age, gender, race, profession, and other variables
Situational, familial, occupational, societal/DEI, and organizational/workplace sources of impostor feelings
Deep dive into the core source of impostor syndrome including Young’s pioneering discovery of the 5 Types of Imposter Syndrome

October 3


The Impostor Syndrome-Informed Coach™ Foundations

Explore your own relationship with Impostor Syndrome
Listening for Impostor Syndrome with your clients
Introduction to tools and strategies to help clients normalize impostor syndrome

October 10


Coaching Tools and Practices

Introduction to tools and strategies for coaching
Practice and feedback
Application to clients

October 17


Integrate into Your Practice

Coaching Leaders
Rethinking Impostor Syndrome™ as a developmental strategy
Q&A with Dr. Valerie Young

Obviously we’re just scratching the surface here.

The bottom line is as an Impostor Syndrome-Informed Coach™ you gain the confidence, expertise, and credibility to not only be highly effective in your coaching practice but to become the “go-to” person on this topic.

Participants who complete this entire training will receive an Impostor Syndrome Institute™ Impostor Syndrome-Informed Coach™ digital badge and letter of completion.

Students who are pursuing an Impostor Syndrome Institute™ Impostor Syndrome-Informed Coach™ letter of completion and badge will be required by November 17, 2023 to:

watch any missed live session recordings
complete all outside assignments such as journal assignments and quizzes

participate in one (1) 1 hour, 30 minute and one (1) 2 hour, 15 minute peer imposter syndrome coaching practice sessions (details below) outside of live training

Self-Directed Peer Coaching Practice

Self-directed peer coaching practice groups will be assigned at the start of the course out of the cohort of participants.

Each group will meet independently two (2) times for a total of three (3) hours and forty-five (45) minutes, to practice imposter syndrome coaching outside of class to increase the transfer of learning.

Groups will self-organize to meet as follows:


1 practice session x 1 hour, 15 minutes between LIVE Sessions One and Two


1 practice sessions x 2 hours, 15 minutes between LIVE Sessions Three and Four

Participants will receive a guide for their peer coaching practice group to follow for each of the two (2) independent practice sessions.

Participants will also submit a reflective journal of their learning experience, at the completion of each.

How will peer coaching practice groups be assigned? At the start of the training program, participants will be surveyed for their best time of day to meet outside of class and will be matched with peers based on similar times of availability.

Is peer coaching practice required? Participation in the self-directed peer coaching practice is only a requirement of the training course if you want The Impostor Syndrome-Informed Coach™ badge and/or ICF Letter of Completion. Each participant’s commitment to meeting with their assigned peer group is important to each person’s development journey.

As a result of this training you will:


Develop a critical lens to understand this highly nuanced topic on a deeper level


Understand when a client is externalizing their successes and help reframe the legitimate role things like luck, timing, connections, and personality play in your clients’ success


Know how impostor syndrome is influenced by family messaging, situational, occupational, and organizational dynamics


Understand factors related to diversity, equity, and belonging


Evoke client awareness with a realistic understanding of competence, healthy response to failure, mistakes, setbacks, and constructive criticism


Identify other factors that can easily be confused (by you or your client) with impostor syndrome


Better understand your client’s context and lived experience


Discern themes and patterns related to impostor syndrome


Facilitate greater client insight into the sources of their impostor feelings and a way forward to close their confidence gap


Have a proven way to close the confidence gap with your clients


Expand your practice reach with an additional level of credibility and confidence around a high-demand area of growth


Respond to two widely circulated and concerning narratives about impostor syndrome and their potential impact for your clients


Become an indispensable resource to clients who need to overcome imposter syndrome.

What Other Students Say About Impostor Syndrome Institute™ Training Programs

Our mission at Impostor Syndrome Institute™ is to address the (avoidable) impact of impostor syndrome on individuals and organizations via Humble Realist™ thinking.

Not only has our solution been shared over 40 years with over 500,000 people worldwide, we’ve licensed speakers to deliver our Rethinking Impostor Syndrome™ presentations and workshops, and taught coaches how to be more impostor syndrome-informed in their work with coaching clients.

Here’s a sample of what previous trainees have said about their experience with our range of training programs:

“It completely transformed the way I approach my coaching practice, giving me practical tools and strategies to help my clients overcome Impostor Syndrome and become more confident in their abilities. Not only has this course enhanced my coaching practice, but it has also had a significant impact on my personal life. Prior to the course, I struggled with feeling like a fraud and often doubted my abilities as a coach. I now approach challenges with a newfound sense of confidence and am better equipped to navigate difficult situations. I highly recommend this training to anyone who wants to improve their coaching practice and better understand this complex issue.”

“Learning about Imposter Syndrome from the world’s leading authority, Dr. Valerie Young, was both an honor and privilege. I now have new possibilities for my current and future clients in supporting them in becoming the best version of themselves.”

“World class content.”

Save yourself time and speed up the credibility building process.

“You’ll hear firsthand from Valerie the thought process and philosophy she used to develop the content.”

“In a matter of days, you gain the ability to bring a transformational and proven program to address impostor syndrome in the workplace and equip professionals so they’re no longer held back by those impostor syndrome feelings.”

“Spending time with Valerie and being able to draw on her amazing knowledge and expertise was amazing.”

“Really embedded the key concepts of Imposter Syndrome which can be convoluted out there on the internet.”

Engage with an authority in the field and access 30+ years of research and experience.”

This is a must if you want to take the lead in normalizing impostor syndrome.”

The wealth of Valerie’s experience is in every facet of the training.”

“You’ll get everything you need to share this important information with others.”


JUST six (6) monthly payments of $577
or $2997 when you pre-pay in full

Tuesdays, June 4-21

Wednesdays, Sept 18-Oct 9

Your Instructors

Dr. Valerie Young, award-winning author and co-founder of Impostor Syndrome Institute™ and Denise McClennen, Executive Coach, Learning Designer and Rethinking Impostor Syndrome™ Senior Associate will expertly guide your understanding of how to coach on what is a highly nuanced topic.

About Dr. Valerie Young

Widely considered the world’s foremost expert on impostor syndrome, Dr. Valerie Young is uniquely qualified to help organizations, workshop facilitators, coaches, and individuals to stamp out impostor syndrome.

Since 1982, she has delivered her Rethinking Impostor Syndrome™ program to hundreds of major corporations and universities around the world.

Research Coupled With Extensive Real-World Experience

Valerie earned her doctoral degree in education from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst in 1982. Her research sought to understand why so many bright, capable women (including herself) felt like frauds.

Then (as now), most impostor phenomenon research is done with university students. 

Instead, Valerie chose as her subjects professional women — a majority women of color. (Notably, the core solutions from these original findings have since proved useful for anyone experiencing impostor feelings.) 

And unlike psychologists and academics who offer largely therapeutic solutions to impostor feelings, Valerie used her training as well as her findings to create educational solutions to impostor syndrome. 

Taking impostor feelings out of the realm of therapy and creating educational solutions has proved tremendously effective.


Women reported asking for— and getting – raises

Corporate execs who had participated in a workshop as students told of being so transformed that years later they asked Valerie to address their employees
Writers who had played small for years became prolific
People who had lacked the confidence to start or grow a business suddenly found the courage to go for it

One physician who practices in a heavily male-dominated specialty even reported taking on more complicated surgeries

Since then, Valerie’s proven approach to tackling impostor syndrome have come from many sources. These include her:

7 years working in Fortune 200 company — five in management

25 years as the founder and “dreamer in residence” of an online business  helping people take the leap from having a boss to being their own boss

extensive experience speaking to students, faculty, and staff at over 100 colleges and universities including Harvard, MIT, Yale, Stanford, Oxford, and Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology

insight into how impostor feelings show up in audiences as diverse as NASA, McDonald’s, the National Cancer Institute, and Valerie’s personal favorite the highly diverse and stereotype-shattering, Romance Writers of America

in-the-trenches experience leading workshops for over half a million executives, managers, and professionals in a wide range of sectors and occupations including:






Pro Sports














Financial services




Food & Beverage







Early Pioneer of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion TRAINING

Valerie admits it took her a long time to finish her dissertation. 

One reason (besides the chronic procrastination plaguing most all grad students) was the five years (1979 to 1984) she spent as the Founding Coordinator of what was then known as the Social Issues in Education program (now Social Justice Education/UMass, Amherst). 

The program was largely driven by Founding Director and professor Bailey Jackson’s work on racial group identity and oppression theory and informed by Judith Katz, Jim Edler, Bob Moore and others groundbreaking work on racism awareness training for whites. 

Working with Dr. Jackson, Valerie and fellow doctoral candidates designed and delivered 1 credit workskops on sexism, racism, anti-semitism, classism, homophobia/heterosexism, and ablism.

Being on the forefront of helping create what only decades later would become the early forerunner of today’s diversity training, made Valerie a mapmaker.

But it is her continued commitment to addressing the intersection between impostor syndrome and DE&I that continues to set Valerie and her solutions apart today.

First to Recognize Organizational Causes — and Costs of Impostor Syndrome

Psychology professor Pauline Clance and clinical psychologist Suzanne Imes were the first to name the impostor phenomenon.

That was 1978. 

Since then researchers — most of whom are themselves psychologists — have framed the phenomenon primarily in individual terms.

Here again, Valerie broke new ground with her 1986 cover Executive Female magazine cover article on the organizational causes — and costs — of impostor syndrome.

Literally Wrote the Book on Women and Impostor Syndrome

Valerie’s groundbreaking book, The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women: Why Capable People Suffer from Impostor Syndrome has been reprinted in six languages.

Valerie is a mapmaker. Providing guidelines for discovering our individual penchants for making unsound judgments about our competence and for dealing with inevitable failures, mistakes, and criticisms. I recommend her book to all my clients and students who suffer with impostor feelings.

– Suzanne Imes, PHD, Co-Discoverer of Impostor Phenomenon

About Denise mcclennen

Denise believes people are the foremost experts on themselves. Every person has the potential to solve their own dilemmas, create a roadmap for their own lives and make a unique contribution to the world in some amazing way. Whether it’s in a coaching session or a workshop, she loves facilitating people toward that magical ah-ha! moment of insight.

Her professional career titles have ranged from Executive Coach, Chief Learning Officer in the financial services industry, Author and Facilitation Lead, and Professor.

Thought Design

With over two decades of executive leadership, consulting, training, speaking and coaching experience, Denise is a frequent keynote speaker at national conventions, corporate and academic learning events and retreats. In addition to her role as Senior Associate at Impostor Syndrome Institute™, she holds certifications with Tilt365 Positive Influence Predictor, NeuroLeadership Institute (Certified Coach), Enneagram (Train-the-Trainer), LifePlanning ™ process, Tom Paterson StratOp process, E-Learning Instructional Design (USC Irvine), DiSC, Conscious Leadership Coach, Cynefin Foundations, The Neuroscience Academy certification, Growth Edge Coaching/Growth Edge Network, and Bar-On Emotional Intelligence Assessment.

She has served on boards with Growth Edge Network, Habitat for Humanity, Kent District Library System, City of Grand Rapids Advisory Board, and Pregnancy Resource Center. Denise has been a Member at The American Society for Training and Development (ASTD) since 2001 and also with The NeuroLeadership Institute.

Denise established Thought Design in Grand Rapid, Michigan in 2013 to allow her to create and curate the physical environment for her high-performance thinking programs. Thought Design is the culmination of a lifetime of constant experimentation and discovery related to learning. Using the most current brain research to design learning experiences that can REALLY transform people and teams, she knows that organizations, teams, and the people that inhabit them can truly thrive if they are learning together as a lifestyle.

Denise and her husband split their time between their home in Rockford, Michigan, their houseboat in Douglas, Michigan, and a home in Punta Gorda, Florida, gravitating towards the best weather for each of the seasons. In addition to her professional career, she is a mother to five adults, and grandmother to seven growing-so-fast kids, who also help her decide where she spends her free time.


JUST six (6) monthly payments of $577
or $2997 when you pre-pay in full

Tuesdays, June 4-21

Wednesdays, Sept 18-Oct 9


How can I possibly coach others when I experience impostor syndrome myself?

A December 2022 Impostor Syndrome Institute™ poll found that 90% of coaches self-identified with having or previously having impostor syndrome themselves.

And 82% of those coaches wonder how they can possibly help others when they experience impostor syndrome themselves.

If this resonates with you, you’re far from alone.

We find the majority of members in our global network (including South Africa, Chile, Brazil, Uruguay, Belgium, Germany, France, Netherlands, the UK, Ukraine, Poland, Australia, Canada, and the US) have had that exact same question.

Coaches consistently tell us a variation of, “I found the coach training immensely helpful in dealing with my own impostor syndrome tendencies. And that having a personal experience with it actually makes us better coaches.”

Rather than inhibiting your effectiveness, the fact that you can identify is an advantage.

What if I can’t attend all of the live online sessions? Will there be recordings?

Yes! The live training will be recorded and added to your Coach Training portal in case you have to miss a live session — or want to refer back to the lessons.

Is this a certification?

Although it is not a certification, participants who complete the entire 12 hours of live sessions + 11 hours outside class assignments will receive The Impostor Syndrome-Informed Coach™ badge.

You may also opt to receive a letter of completion for 14.25 Core Competencies and 7.75 Resource Development Continuing Coaching Education (CCE) hours from the International Coaching Federation.

What’s involved to complete the entire training?

Students interested in receiving the The Impostor Syndrome-Informed Coach™ and/or letter of completion will be required by November 17, 2023 to:

  • watch any missed live session recordings
  • complete all outside assignments such as journal assignments and quizzes
  • participate in two (2) peer coaching practice sessions (details above) outside of live training

If receiving the badge and/or letter of completion are not important to you, you can complete as much or as little of the training as you wish.

How is this different from your Speaker Training?

The Coach Training is designed for coaches, HR managers, DEI specialists, counselors, and advisors/mentors seeking to use our approach when working directly with individuals experiencing impostor feelings. The program puts more focus on understanding recent research into impostor phenomenon, using core concepts to help coaches better understand their client’s context and lived experience, discerning themes and patterns related to impostor syndrome, and understanding and practicing various coaching frameworks known to be effective with clients.

Our Speaker Licensing program gives professional speakers, coaches, and workshop leaders license to deliver our Rethinking Impostor Syndrome™ keynote and interactive workshop. This involves an initial training fee and an annual license renewal fee.

Is there a community of other Impostor Syndrome-Informed Coaches™ we can join after the training?

Absolutely! We have a private LinkedIn group so you can continue to engage with other professionals who are also working to address impostor syndrome. #goteam

I don’t have prior coaching experience but am interested in the topic. Are you training me to be a coach?

We are experts on the topic of impostor syndrome — and this training will give you practical tools you can immediately implement around this topic. But this program is not designed to teach beginning coaches the fundamentals of coaching.  If you would first like to develop coaching skills, we recommend the International Coaching Federation or a similar organization.

Everyone loses when bright people play small

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