There is nothing to fear…

There is nothing to fear…


...but fear itself."


These powerful words, now iconized as part of the American vernacular and spirit, were delivered by President Franklin D. Roosevelt during his first inaugural address on March 4, 1933.

FDR's wife, Eleanor Roosevelt, was an equally powerful orator... inspiring generations with her timeless wisdom and insight.  Like FDR, the First Lady also spoke about fear:

"You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face."

So... let me see if I have this straight:  do we stop to look at fear itself, so as to overcome our fear of fear?  Or, do we stop to look at that which we fear?

Perhaps both have value.

And... perhaps both are relevant to an obstacle (or opportunity?) that all of us who choose to become ICF-certified coaches will face:

Mentor Coaching

What makes mentor coaching challenging – even fear-inducing – for many of us?

Well... thinking back on my own experience, I remember different aspects of mentor coaching that scared me, and which caused me ‘anticipatory angst’:

- Coaching in a virtual classroom setting, knowing that everything I said was being listened to (and scrutinized) by the rest of the class, and by the instructor -- who would provide me with feedback, some of it negative (talk about scary!).

- Recording several coaching sessions and sending them to my mentor coach for review... again, knowing (once again) that I would be provided with feedback, some of it negative.

- Waiting (and waiting) for that feedback, and...

- Having a candid conversation with my mentor coach about that feedback.

At each and every step, I wondered... was I good enough?  Would I embarrass myself?  Would I "bomb"? 

Pretty scary stuff, since I really wanted to earn an ICF credential.

As I went through these recorded and live coaching sessions, I chose to keep going -- even when I realized I had "done something wrong":

  • Oops, I interrupted.
  • Oops, I missed an opportunity to acknowledge the client.
  • Oops, I offered advice.
  • Oops, I told too many stories about myself and didn't ask permission to do so beforehand.

So, what happened?

I did make mistakes.

I did receive negative feedback.

I did (really) embarrass myself once (mistakenly thinking that someone had broken into my home during a practice coaching session, I debated aloud between 'fight, flight or freeze’).

And.  But.  And.

I also learned.

I learned not to interrupt (ok, mostly) so as to ensure that my clients felt heard and to ensure that I fully understood what they were telling me.

I learned to pause and to identify moments when I could meaningfully and authentically acknowledge my clients – instead of rushing to solutions.

I learned not to offer advice - ever.

In short, I learned what I was doing well, and what I needed to do differently.  

I learned to identify the specific gaps between where I was as a coach, and where I needed to be in order to earn ICF certification.

To my surprise, the feedback that I feared would be ‘negative’ was actually ‘constructive.’ 

Imagine that... that which I had feared was precisely what I needed in order to grow…

…and to earn my ACC.

And, four years after that, to earn my PCC.

With a nod to FDR, I did not let my fear paralyze me or derail me from my journey to becoming an ICF-certified coach.

With a nod to Eleanor, I gained strength, courage, and confidence from mentor coaching.

Eleanor also said this about fear:

“Do something that scares you every day."

Let today be the day you decide to face any fear you might have around mentor coaching.

Let today be the day you make a commitment to yourself by partnering with one of Ferrymaster's mentor coaches to claim the gifts of strength, courage, and confidence that await you on the other side of fear.


Ferrymaster Cathy 




50% Complete

Two Step

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua.