Yesterday I had an assessment – part of my own professional development. I began to get the collywobbles two nights before.

Following my own advice and that which I hold to be true, I acknowledged the feelings, allowed them to settle…….and then panicked a bit more!

I usually enjoy (yes, enjoy) the challenge and pressure brought about by being assessed. Interviews and written tests are my favourite.

Here though, added to the mix is my client. I cannot possibly pre-empt or control what she will say –Thought Gremlin #1 – Uncertainty

I know I have the skills and knowledge because it’s something I do regularly and I also know my client who has always been a delight to work with.

But proving this to an external assessor, and within the 30-minute time frame is nerve-wracking. Thought Gremlin #2  – Doubt (I’d like to big up my teacher friends here in recognition of your observation schedule!)

My nerves are getting the better of me. My heart is pounding and my stomach is churning.

I know my thoughts dictate what I feel.

Here are the thoughts:

  • What if it goes wrong?
  • What if my client throws me a curve ball?
  • What if I miss something vital?
  • What if they tell me I’m no good?
  • What if I can’t think what to say next?
    Thought Gremlin #3 – Fear

Let me apologise here to all those people who think that being a coach means I have a perfect life and deal with everything that comes my way in a serene fashion – sorry to disappoint folks – I’m human too.

So the time arrives and the assessment call is in train: my nerves a little more settled. Two thirds of the way through, the Skype gremlins come out to play and the audio connection goes awry!

My client cannot hear what I’m saying. I repeat my wonderfully challenging question. Nothing. I can hear her say she can’t hear me. It seems to go on forever. I say that I’m not sure what to do – hoping in vain that the assessor will give me some kind of a tip! No. Still nothing. I move location realising I don’t have my paperwork with me….. aaarghh.

I decide to terminate the call and try again. Phew, the connection is better – not perfect but good enough to get us through to the end of the call.

I’m sure I’ve blown it…..big time. Thought Gremlin #4 – Focus on the problem

Now it’s time for feedback. After I’ve given my self-evaluation, the assessor gives me her feedback.

Oh dear – it doesn’t sound promising.  Thought Gremlin #5 – Storytelling

In answer to some of the feedback, I explain that my nerves got in the way and I’m normally more ‘me’ and more natural (this sounds feeble and cringingly desperate to my own ears. Thought Gremlin #6 – Judgement)

More feedback follows and I’m sure all is lost – my worst fears are manifesting themselves. Thought Gremlin #7 – Over reacting

This is a classic of example of how our own thought gremlins can snarl and gnash their way into our psyche. They invade and disturb. They crash and they thrash. They multiply and amplify. They shatter and scatter all those wonderfully bright and light positive thoughts that usually inhabit that space in our minds.

Thankfully, I didn’t allow those gremlins to linger for too long and I wish I hadn’t allowed them in to start with. There’s work to be done here before my next assessment.

So, do you recognise this as something that happens to you too? Do your thought gremlins hijack you and hold you hostage? When do they do it? How do you deal with your thought gremlins?

Let me know,  I’d love to hear your experience of these pesky gremlins.

Jane x


The thought gremlins have been sent packing and I’ve had time to reflect. Here’s what actually happened.

The assessment call went well. I demonstrated that I can use the techniques to help clients achieve their outcome. I dealt with the curveball (from the Skype gremlins). I evaluated myself accurately. I received a merit!



I’m pleased to report that I experience these things – it means I’m more able to help my lovely clients.


Please share if you’ve enjoyed reading this post and think that someone you know will enjoy it too.  Thank you xx