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The One Thing You Need to Close the Deal on Change

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The One Thing You Need to Close the Deal on Change

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    You know what you want. You know what to do. So why is nothing happening?

    There are thousands of texts and approaches in the productivity & success universe. Many of them are good, some are great. Some, like the writings of Marcus Buckingham approach genius in their rich simplicity.

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    So why, if there are so many great ways to become more productive and more successful, are so many of us still struggling to make real change happen in our businesses and lives?

    I believe we consistently miss one key element is undertaking a change process: the coaching relationship.

    Change is an abstract idea until it is made real in three ways: what you are committing to must appear on your schedule, have a line in your budget, and be supported by a coaching relationship. I have seen no evidence that it is possible to successfully conclude a change process without commitment through these three constants.

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    Of the three constants that must be brought to bear on a change process, the most important is the coaching relationship. I want to be clear that I am not talking only about professional business or personal coaches, but any person or group that meets certain criteria in order to play a coaching role in your process.

    Coaching relationships are distinct from others in your life. A coaching relationship is one that fits the following criteria:

    • Coaching requires fearless honesty. Not brutal, not abrasive, just consistent, unflinching honest feedback about your goals and your progress.
    • Coaching has a mentoring component. While it is possible to be in a coaching relationship with an individual or group that is not an expert in the area you are working on changing (health, finances, employee relations, etc.), the risk of making errors that may derail you will increase.
    • Look for commitment. The coaching relationship is a formal one, with a clear commitment to a particular process. If you have hired a professional coach like a personal trainer, a business coach, a re-designer, a financial advisor, etc. the commitment on their part is built in. The commitment is that you will work with them for a specified period of time to reach a specified goal. That same commitment can be made between friends, collegues, mentors at work, or other team members. The more clearly the nature of the coaching relationship is spelled out (preferably in writing) the greater the chance of success.
    • Look for ease and openness. A great coaching relationship has one additional hallmark: an inter-personal ease that encourages openness, honesty, and trust. Keep this in mind when seeking or establishing a coaching relationship. Mentoring is possible between people who do not share that ease that is also found in great friendships, but coaching is made more difficult without it.

    When you have established a coaching relationship, what role will it play in your change process?

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    • Outside perspective. We all have blind spots. The best coaching relationships allow the perceptions and voice of another person to help us avoid old patterns or see things in ways defined by our existing prejudices. Great coaching relationships allow us to break truly new ground in our journeys.
    • Scaffolding. A good coach will provide a manageable approach to the change process by creating a structure to follow, and by breaking down a huge task into small, daily or weekly pieces. This is the mentoring component of most coaching relationships, and why they should be knowledgeable in the area they are coaching you in. They erect the scaffold for you based on what they know about what needs to be done. You do the building.
    • Accountability. A coach will help you be accountable for your commitments. A coach will monitor your progress and encourage you to complete the tasks you have committed to.
    • Unconditional support. Change is hard. Sometimes change is deeply disruptive in unpredictable ways. There are always moments where everything feels like it is going backwards, and things are worse than they ever were. In those moments, coaching provides support, encouragement, comfort, and the confidence that you need to refocus on your journey. Coaching support is unconditional. It is without judgement, without expectations other than your success, and is unshakeable within the timeframe you have committed to.

    As you can see from this list, sustained success without coaching support is almost impossible. Without the outside perspective, scaffolding, formal accountability, and unconditional support, the likelihood that a change process will stall or go off the rails is unacceptably high.

    Without a coach, a plan is only a possibility. Without a coach, a budget and a timeline only signal good intentions.

    When you rely entirely on your own perspectives and habits there is a good chance that, like someone lost in the woods, you will find yourself where you started again, after months of hard work. When you work without a scaffold assembled by a knowledgeable mentor, the task becomes overwhelming, its foundations weakened by flaws right at the start. When you have not made yourself accountable to someone, in the darkest moments it is too easy to walk away, because no one will know. When you hit those those deeply disruptive setbacks that come out of nowhere, there are few of us who can keep moving forward without someone providing that steadying hand on our shoulder.

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    When you begin the next change in your business or in life, consider it truly started once it has a place on your schedule and budget. But most of all don’t start without identifying the one relationship that will make the difference between getting lost and getting there: the coaching relationship.

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    Last Updated on August 25, 2021

    Why Personal Branding Is Important to Your Career

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    Why Personal Branding Is Important to Your Career

    As a recruiter, I have met and interviewed hundreds of candidates who have no idea who they are.

    Without a personal brand, candidates struggle to answer the question: “tell me about yourself—who are you?” They have no idea about who they are, what their strengths are, and how they can add value to the company. They present their CV’s believing that their CV is the key to their career success. In some ways, your CV still has its use. However, in today’s job market, you need more than a CV to stand out in a crowd.

    According to Celinne Da Costa:[1]

    “Personal brand is essentially your golden ticket to networking with the right people, getting hired for a dream job, or building an influential business.” She believes that “a strong personal brand allows you to stand out in an oversaturated marketplace by exposing desired audiences to your vision, skillset, and personality in a way that is strategically aligned with your career goals.”

    A personal brand opens up your world to so many more career opportunities that you would never have been exposed to with just your CV.

    What Is Your Personal Brand?

    “Personal branding is how you distinctively market your uniqueness.” —Bernard Kelvin Clive

    Today, the job market is very competitive and tough. Having a great CV will only let you go so far because everyone has a CV, but no one else has your distinct personal brand! It is your personal brand that differentiates you from everyone else and that is what people buy—you.

    Your personal brand is your mark on the world. It is how people you interact with and the world see you. It is your legacy—it is more important than a business brand because your personal brand lasts forever.

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    I have coached people who have very successful careers, and they come to me because they have suddenly found that they are not getting the opportunities or having the conversations that would them to their next role. They are having what I call a “career meltdown,” all because they have no personal brand.

    A personal brand helps you become conscious of your differences and your uniqueness. It allows you to position yourself in a way that makes you stand out from the pack, especially among other potential job applicants.

    Don’t get me wrong, having a great CV and a great LinkedIn profile is important. However, there are a few steps that you have to take to have a CV and LinkedIn profile that is aligned to who you are, the value you offer to the market, and the personal guarantee that you deliver results.

    Building your personal brand is about strategically, creatively, and professionally presenting what makes you, you. Knowing who you are and the value you bring to the table enables you to be more informed, agile, and adaptable to the changing dynamic world of work. This is how you can avoid having a series of career meltdowns.

    Your Personal Brand Is Essential for Your Career Success

    In her article, Why Personal Branding Is More Important Than Ever, Caroline Castrillon outlines key reasons why a personal brand is essential for career success.

    According to Castrillon,[2]

    “One reason is that it is more popular for recruiters to use social media during the interview process. According to a 2018 CareerBuilder survey, 70% of employers use social media to screen candidates during the hiring process, and 43% of employers use social media to check on current employees.”

    The first thing I do as a recruiter when I want to check out a candidate or coaching client is to look them up on LinkedIn or other social media platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Your digital footprint is the window that highlights to the world who you are. When you have no control over how you want to be seen, you are making a big mistake because you are leaving it up to someone else to make a judgment for you as to who you are.

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    As Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, once said, “Your brand is what people say about you when you are not in the room.”

    In her book, Becoming, Michelle Obama writes about the importance of having a personal brand and her journey to defining her personal brand. She wrote that:

    “if you don’t get out there and define yourself, you’ll be quickly and inaccurately defined by others.”

    When you have a personal brand, you are in control. You know exactly what people will say about you when you leave the room.

    The magic of a personal brand is that gives you control over how you want to be seen in the world. Your confidence and self-belief enable you to leverage opportunities and make informed decisions about your career and your future. You no longer experience the frustrations of a career meltdown or being at a crossroads not knowing what to do next with your career or your life. With a personal brand, you have focus, clarity, and a strategy to move forward toward future success.

    Creating your personal brand does not happen overnight. It takes a lot of work and self-reflection. You will be expected to step outside of your comfort zone not once, but many times.

    The good news is that the more time you spend outside of your comfort zone, the more you will like being there. Being outside of your comfort zone is where you can test the viability of and fine-tune your personal brand.

    5 Key Steps to Creating Your Personal Brand

    These five steps will help you create a personal brand that will deliver you the results you desire with your career and in life.

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    1. Set Your Personal Goals

    What is it that you want to do in the next five years? What will your future self be doing in the next five to ten years? What is important to you? If you can answer these questions, then you are on the right path. If not, then you have to start thinking about them.

    2. Create Your Unique Value Proposition

    Create your unique value proposition by asking yourself these four questions:

    1. What are your personality features? What benefit do you offer people?
    2. Who are you and why do people enjoy working with you?
    3. What do you do and what do people want you to do for them? How do you solve their problems?
    4. What makes you different from others like you?

    The answers to these questions will give you the information you need to create your professional story, which is the key step to creating your personal brand.

    3. Write Your Professional Story

    Knowing who you are, what you want, and the unique value you offer is essential to you creating your professional story. People remember stories. Your personal story incorporates your value proposition and tells people who you are and what makes you unique. This is what people will remember about you.

    4. Determine Which Platforms Will Support Your Personal Brand

    Decide which social media accounts and online platforms will best represent your brand and allow you to share your voice. In a professional capacity, having a LinkedIn profile and a CV that reflects your brand is key to your positioning in relation to role opportunities. People will be connecting with you because they will like the story you are telling.

    5. Become Recognized for Sharing Your Knowledge and Expertise

    A great way for you to promote yourself is by sharing knowledge and helping others. This is where you prove you know your stuff and you gain exposure for doing so. You can do this through social media, writing, commenting, video, joining professional groups, networking, etc. Find your own style and uniqueness and use it to attract clients, the opportunities, or the jobs you desire.

    The importance of having a personal brand is not going to go away. In fact, it is the only way where you can stand out and be unique in a complex changing world of work. If you don’t have a personal brand, someone will do it for you. If you let this happen, you have no control and you may not like the story they create.

    Standing out from others takes time and investment. Most people cannot make the change by themselves, and this is where engaging a personal brand coach is a viable option to consider.

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    As a personal brand coach, working with my clients to create their personal brand is my passion. I love the fact that we can work together to create a personal story that defines exactly what people will say when you leave the room.

    Other People’s Stories

    Listening to other people’s stories is a great way to learn. In his article, 7 TED Talks About Personal Branding, Rafael Dos Santos presents the best Ted Talks where speakers share their stories about the “why,” “what,” and “how” of personal branding.((GuidedPR: 7 TED Talks About Personal Branding))

    Take some time out to listen to these speakers sharing their stories and thoughts about personal branding. You will definitely learn so much about how you can start your journey of defining yourself and taking control of your professional and personal life.

    Your personal brand, without a doubt, is your secret weapon to your career success. As Michelle Obama said,

    “your story is what you have, what you will always have. It is something to own.”

    So, go own your story. Go on the journey to create your personal brand that defines who you are, highlights your uniqueness, and the value you offer to the world.

    Featured photo credit: Austin Distel via unsplash.com

    Reference

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