All by Myself? Executives’ Impostor Phenomenon and Loneliness as Catalysts for Executive Coaching With Management Consultants

Shani Kuna

Executives are just ordinary people who were put in charge of enormous projects worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Do you have any idea what kind of responsibility that is, and the kind of stomachaches it gives me? Sometimes I felt that I just couldn’t fill this executive role anymore. I invested unbelievable efforts in denying my self-doubts and pretending to be a great manager, so I was constantly anxious. This anxiety was wearing me out.

The executives reported learning to grasp recurring difficulties as inherent to senior positions and not as a sign of managerial inadequacy. With the encouragement of their management consultants, the executives had also realized that managerial knowledge and skills, important as they may be, cannot substitute for their cultivation of an emotional capacity to contend with role distress, which is nowadays part and parcel of executive roles.