Letter from the President – Elect
President – Elect
Developing Your Professional Persona
As you continue to develop your coaching business, you need to cultivate and continually hone a strong professional identity to maximize your career success. Creating a professional self does not require you to let go of who you are, to toss your core self and values to the wayside and assume another, “false” identity.
Nurturing your self-awareness is one way of cultivating your professional identity that is grounded in your values. Self-awareness, continuously being aware of your thought process and reactions to those thoughts, includes understanding and analyzing your strengths and weaknesses. It is difficult work, but when a one practices self-awareness strategies – it makes a world of difference because self-aware coaches transform their business pursuits and inspire others.
To develop your self-awareness, begin by intentionally focusing your attention on the details of your personality and behavior and how they enhance or detract from your work. Self-awareness practices are not complicated, but they do take practice, time, and effort.
Take time to reflect.
Setting time aside for reflection is difficult because of the tyranny of the urgent. Many coaches talk about how they often feel that they can always do something more useful or important with their time. Taking time to reflect on building your professional self, however, is vital to your success.
During a reflection time, ask yourself questions that promote exploring your authenticity: What went well? What might I have done differently? What did I learn about myself? What did I learn about others? How can I use what I have learned? What are my next steps?
Notice when you are over-using a strength.
Many coaches overuse their strengths, compromising their performance and even derailing their career. In fact the stronger your talent or skill is, the greater the liability it can be to you. For example, a coach who has strong analytic skills likes to carefully examine all options before making a decision. When she “overuses” her skill, she may become too cautious or over-analytical while making business decisions and miss important opportunities.
To develop your awareness of your strengths, try a strategy called Adjusting the Volume. While in the process of your work, name the strength you are currently using. Next, decide how much of that strength is needed for this task to be done well. Think of it as adjusting the volume of music for the setting. Quiet for background music or loud for a beach party. Choosing how you will use your strength will help you decide how deeply to dig in the details, how fast to push for change, or how accurate you need to be before making a decision.
Solicit solid feedback
Find individuals who are willing to give you honest, constructive feedback – and then listen, ask questions, and take notes.
As you carefully process the feedback later, ask yourself, “What can I learn?” Keep in mind that just because a person gives you feedback, it doesn’t mean their response is correct. Instead, in their feedback they have explained how they have perceived your behavior. Check with others to determine the reliability of the feedback. Finally, remember that only you have the right and the ability to decide what to do with the information.
Coaches who intentionally and consistently develop their professional identity respond mindfully to the challenges before them instead of relying on their instincts, which may be mistaken. They are better business developers because they understand who they are and how they think.