The Leadership Question – by Nick Roud

by | Feb 23, 2021

Kia ora, I hope you and your family are safe and healthy.

Welcome to today’s leadership coaching blog.

If you are reading this blog chances are you are a leader or you are looking to step into a leadership position. Wherever you are in your professional leadership journey, welcome in to my blog. Each Tuesday I write a blog and my hope is that it inspires you and gives you useful things to think about and above all it helps you improve!

leadership is not who has the loudest voice in the room!
— Nick Roud – Executive Coach

Over the last couple of weeks I have been recovering from my 7th knee surgery. Yep number 7…….

As I approached the surgery I was scared. So many things rush through my mind, from

  • what if I lose my leg to how,

  • is it going to be fixed,

  • how long will I need to rehab,

  • how am I going to play with the kids,

  • will I be able to see my coaching clients,

  • will I be able to compete in an event I want to do,

  • what if it doesn’t work,

    • the list goes on but you get the gist.

In 3 years time (2024 Feb/Mar) I am going to complete an ultra endurance event.

What is this?

Well simply put 5 ironman races to be completed in 5 days……I call my event,


If you want to follow Rehab2Ultraman, the past, the current and the future, the ups and downs, Ive set up a page on my website where nothing will be left off the table!! I’d love you to be part of this with me……..

So why today’s blog,

The Leadership Question. and to be specific.

Self Doubt

The last couple of weeks post my surgery I have been meeting a number of ‘gurus / experts’ in their fields. Surgeons, physio’s health professionals, sponsors etc.

For those who are regular readers of my leadership and career blog or those who listen to my podcast The Nick Roud Podcast you will know I really enjoy and appreciate going deep on topics, topics that interest me as an executive coach as a human and as a person who at 46 has finally worked out that it is really fun to learn……as a kid growing up with dyslexia I was bullied and teased for being thick…….always at the very bottom of the class….but that’s another blog.

Today I want to get behind the mask of Self Doubt. Their are so many wonderful research papers, books, videos on this topic but like always I bring to you my experience, taste and personal insights……enjoy

As I headed into the weekend over here in New Zealand the bug of The Leadership Question kept me awake……The specific question being – Self Doubt?

During my conversations with those gurus/experts I got to realise they each of them continue to face and grapple with self doubt. So, I am not alone in that…….

How many of us reading this blog today can relate to that. How many of us woke up this morning with a little bit of Self-doubt. Having personally experienced this on many occasions it can be extremely debilitating. More on this personal experience at the back end of the blog.

I recall walking into a Board room some years back to meet and potentially coach a CEO of one of our large listed business’s. He and his board had agreed that hiring an external coach could support his growth. I was one of 3 executive coaches ‘pitching’ our services ‘our approch’.

The night before I was finalising my thoughts (note to all I never do a slide show when it comes to pitching my coaching work……) something hit me from nowhere.

  • Why me?

  • Who am I to coach this amazing guy?

  • Am I good enough?

  • What if I fail or more importantly what if he fails?

  • Am I ready……….

The meeting itself went really well and all though the board and I did not see eye to eye on certain things I was asked to be his coach and for the next 14 months I partnered him as his executive coach.

So why the self doubt inn the lead up to the meeting……!

How many times a day might these thoughts come into your mind. You may be heading into an important meeting, a one-on-one with a team member, meting a customer, heading to a networking event, about to step infront of investors or the media.

I’d encourage you to think about that for a few mins.

Do you ever have self-doubt thoughts and if so what are your steps / workings to move on from that place? As a coach many of my high potential / future leaders and CEOs they share with me their own self doubt. I would be really interested to hear from you on your own self doubt experiences email I would really be interested. Self doubt comes in so many shapes and sizes that I do not believe their is one silver bullet that fixes it……..

We all get nervous, and many people have said to me that nerves are a ‘good thing’ I liken being nervous to the deep overacting fact that you do actually care………….and this is why we get nervous.

Speaking recently to some elite sports people I asked them do you get nervous……the resorbing answer was yes but……… I trust the process…I look at what has supported me to get to this position and then I visualise that…..A good lesson for us all don’t you think.

When I was speaking with my gurus/experts they shared with me that over their career they have suffered from self-doubt but what has helped them is to recall their training, to recall the positive impact that they have made on so many people, to recall their mistakes and learnings, and ultimately to remember first and foremost ‘why’ they do what they do.

It’s a great question to ask yourself, why do you do what you do?

Maybe grab journal book and if you haven’t ever done that kind of work give it a go….write down on a piece of paper in that journal book this question.

  • I do what I do because……………………………………

You may even want to think about another question once you have spent some time on that.

  • The last time I had self doubt was on the ……………………I felt like this………………………………what I did to overcome my self doubt was………………………………………

It’s hard to imagine a guru/expert having ‘self-doubt’ I am a big believer that allowing self-doubt to show up and then to embrace this feeling is important to our own personal growth, be you a surgeon, a physio, a CEO, an elite sports person.

Many of the individuals who I coach have spent 1,000s and 1,000 of hours crafting their skills. They are good at what they do, but they keep growing and they keep learning. They do not like to settle or rest on their lorals, they want to stay one or even three steps ahead and they will 100% embrace self doubt. I encourage you to do the very same. Embrace it, don’t try to hide from it.

From my personal experiences I can recall a few very specific times I had self-doubt, if I may I would like to share one with you!!

The birth of our first child Louie.

By all accounts a magical time for anyone, both Nicola and I had wanted kids for years and finally we were one month from the birth of our first child. November 2015.

It hit me like a bull in an alleyway. Shit I am actually going to be a dad, my face started to tingle and when I looked in the mirror across my left eye large a few spots appeared.

What is going on………I can’t be sick, we will be going to hospital soon there is no way I am not going to be in the room with Nic……I can’t get Nicola sick she is carrying our unborn child…………..what about work I have coaching clients to meet……………..what is going on…….

I recall sitting down in the global Head-quarters aka the 20ft shipping container. What’s wrong with me, why am I feeling like this. I should be on top of the world right now this is a ‘happy time’ but I was feeling anything but ‘happy’

Years later I know it was self doubt. Here were some of the thgouths going on…

Me, a dad yeh right?

Me, how am I going to look after this baby?

Me, how do I be a dad to our baby?

Me, what if I don’t connect with him/her?

Me, what if I am a crap dad?

Me, what if we lose the baby?

Me, what if something happens to Nic?

Me, what do I need to do, will I be good enough, will I be able to be the very best dad to this kid…….

I booked an appointment with my GP, for me to go to the GP something has to be pretty bad (lesson to us all – see your GP regularly…..) The spots on my face had got worse and the pain was really bad (but at the back of my mind all I could focus on was am I going to be a good day)

Shingles is what you have Nick said my GP. Shingles.

WTH is Shingles………. Emotional stress Nick. What are you worried about?

Ah – ha the light bulb moment………he obviously new we were only a couple of months away from having our first child. Being the great GP he is he asked me a few questions,

  • How’s your diet…..(good was my response)

  • How’s your exercises……(ok, not as much as I want but just getting the final things ready for baby)

  • How’s work…..(really good)

  • How you feeling about the baby??………(shit….I actually had to articulate it,,,Mr GP I am really scared…………….it all came out)

Self doubt can hit us on so many levels and it’s ok. It’s ok to doubt ourselves but I would really encourage you to reach out to someone and have a chat with a mate, a work colleague, a partner, a mentor or a coach who ever you feel connect with and have a chat. Trust me when I say, once it’s verbalised you can start to build into it.

As we wrap up our leadership blog today some things to consider if you find yourself self-doubting

1) Take a step back and allow yourself to think things through

2) Breathe

3) Don’t be in to much of a rush to get conclusions

4) Speak to someone (don’t expect answers just allow yourself to speak)

5) journal things down, what was you feeling, what was the lead up to this, what did you do etc

6) Learn and continue to grow

I really appreciate you taking the time to read today’s blog, may I take this opportunity to wish you a healthy and safe day where ever you are in the world.

Look after yourself and look after each other

Nick x

About Your Coach Nick Roud

Awarded Best Executive Coaching Consultancy New Zealand

#3 Executive Certified Executive Coach in the World on Intelligent Leadership (IL) Executive Coaching

Personally coached by the #1 Executive Coach in the World John Mattone

Nick is a service provider on ‘leadership’ with the Regional Business Partner Network

Nick coaches on the EMBA (Executive MBA) and MBA (Master of Business Administration at one of New Zealand’s most prestigious universities



For a confidential conversation about your leadership coaching needs, call Nick on +6421375630 or email him

Nick Roud

Nick Roud

Executive Leadership Coach

Nick is the Chairman of Nick Roud Coaching and a Global Award Winning Executive Coach. Nick holds the highest coaching qualification MCEC. His clients are typically Chief Executive Officers, Executives and Emerging Leaders. Nick’s office is based in Auckland, New Zealand and he travels extensively around the world to coach his clients. You can contact Nick directly on +6421375630