Coaching and performance anxiety

Eggs are scared of dead naber in a box

I’m guessing this has happened to you, as it has to me.

When you are being assessed or evaluated in an exam process, do you move from your natural flow and knowing, into letting your mind take over and being critical of yourself?


You start criticizing yourself before you even enter the assessment process. It doesn’t seem possible to get past the anxiety of knowing you’re going to be assessed. It somehow feels personal, as if the very core of you is being critiqued. It seems impossible to separate our performance from the essence of Who we Are.

When applying for the ICF ACC, PCC or MCC credential, coaches need to submit audio recordings demonstrating their coaching skills in a session with a client. Even the thought of recording coaching sessions with a client can send some coaches into performance anxiety, to the point where they can’t even get started on recording for their listening only. This affects our Coaching Presence, which is at the core of The Target Approach.

Some coaches who are applying for their certified graduate credential through their coach training school will need to coach their assessor in a live telephone coaching session, and do so while another assessor is listening. Here comes performance anxiety!

Eliminate performance anxiety

At The Mentor Coaching Group, we include Performance Anxiety as one of the dynamics we address, so you can get back to being in your own natural rhythm as a coach. We help our coaches prepare for this by regularly coaching live on our group mentoring calls, so they get all that anxiety worked out of their bones – and mostly out of their head!

We recommend and make available Core Dynamic techniques to eliminate anxiety, and we have a proven process for recording coaching sessions: both my colleague Karen Boskemper and I have done the process recently ourselves. I’ve recorded 9 coaching sessions (with permission) that are available for the exclusive listening and evaluation by our mentor coaching clients, and Karen has recorded a similar amount.

I personally don’t feel performance anxiety anymore, but it was a process to get to this point, and one I can draw on to support my mentoring clients.  Sometimes I feel excitement, which can feel very similar to anxiety (hmmmm, can you ‘re-label’ your anxiety as excitement…?).  I now embrace having my coaching skills be evaluated and assessed, and I’d be excited to coach in front of a room of 1000 coaches – wow, that would be so cool!

Mentoring Tip

It’s a fantastic learning tool to record yourself coaching clients, even if you are not preparing for the credentialing process. Listen to your recording with a copy of the ICF core competencies, and even better, the competency distinctions comparison chart. Do this with your experienced mentor coach who has competency distinctions. And don’t just record one session; record a series of sessions with the same client, so you can build rapport and demonstrate the competency of Progress and Accountability too.

Are you preparing to apply for your MCC, PCC or ACC credential?

Or renewing your ACC credential and need 10 hours of mentor coaching? We offer an awesome mentor coaching group and individual program that has many exclusive offerings for our participants. One of those offerings is a library of MCC and PCC coaching sessions for our participants to listen to, evaluate, debrief, and learn from. These are incredibly valuable learning tools, and will accelerate your understanding of competency distinctions. Here’s where you’ll find more about The Mentor Coaching Group.