3 Ways to Help Fakers Come Clean

She ended up saying, “I don’t really think I need anything.”

She didn’t need to develop, others did.

She was already functioning at maximum potential. She didn’t need to explore options, gain new perspective, or more fully utilize her strengths.

I thanked her for her calling and wished her well.

falling apart

When you pretend you have it all together you end up falling apart.


  1. Avoid tough issues and pretend everything’s under control. Elephants-in-the-room thrive where fakers live.
  2. Don’t dare say no.
  3. Have all the answers but none of the questions.
  4. Point to others when things go wrong.
  5. Never have meaningful weaknesses.

You don’t improve when you pretend you have it all together.

Encouragement to fake:

Traditional management monitors, controls, and corrects. Heaven forbid you don’t know the answers or can’t do everything perfectly the first time.

Traditional management invites distrust – distrust invites faking – fakers don’t grow.

Coaching-leaders replace correction and punishment with development.

3 ways to help fakers come clean:

Controlling-leaders invite skepticism and distrust.

People dare stop faking when bosses have their best interests at heart.

  1. Treat people like humans not tools.
    1. Learn about and affirm their aspirations.
    2. Follow up on conversations. “How’s that going?”
    3. Celebrate their wins.
  2. Share your journey.
    1. Lessons learned from failure.
    2. Things you’re learning now. When you share something you’re learning let others know you haven’t arrived.
    3. Personal aspirations for yourself and the organization.
  3. Engage them in the process.
    1. If you’re learning to be a coach, invite feedback.
    2. Ask for input and options. How would you solve this issue?
    3. Maintain a forward-facing approach. What’s next?

How might leaders create environments of trust?

*The original idea for this post hit me while reading, “Coaching for Engagement,” by Bob Hancox, Russell Hunter, and Kristann Boudreau.

I’m excited to partner with Clarity Development Consulting to offer the proven “Coaching for Engagement” program. Drop me an email if you’d like to explore Bob Hancox and me coming to your organization to begin developing a coaching culture in your organization.