Over the years I have been looking for the ‘thing’ that makes some coaches stand out from others. The more I look, the more I find a couple of things that seem to be consistently present. The first I have talked about in the Coaching levers – exceptional coaches use what they know in a very different way, they make their knowledge accessible and practical. It isn’t what you know, it’s how you use it that makes all the difference.

The second is something that I have only recently started to name – the Coaches sense of their own brand. I have never used that label before, brand, to describe what it is I do and who I am, yet that is what it is. My brand is the impact I am choosing to have on the world. My brand is the ‘thing’ that I want to be known for, the change I want to create. Simon Sinek calls it your Why. Somehow bringing in the idea of a brand has allowed me to really start to anchor this and when I started to think about my brand I started to realise how easy it is to loose my sense of myself, especially inside a corporate where everything is defined and has a place (roles you know).

I started to ask myself some questions….this is what I found out. I am wondering what you would find out and what you might create that is different if you explicitly and actively created a brand, a memory, a story of who you are and what you are coaching for.

The brand of a coach

What is your brand ?

Do you even know ? Or do you just show up and react every day ? Responding to the demands of the people around you ? Trying to make a difference ? Trying to be the best you can be ?

How does your brand  live ?

Does it live in the words of others… or does it live and belong to you ?

What do I mean by that ? When your brand lives exclusively as a collection of opinions that others have of you then it lives only when others are talking about you and it is and can only be what others think of you.

If it is only ‘alive’ based on what others say… then is it even yours ? Is it not then theirs ? Because we can not control or choose other people’s words and that means someone else is driving your car… not you!

If your brand is based on someone else’s opinion of you… then they have control and what you do has nothing to do with your brand or your values. If your brand is focused on someone else’s opinion of you then you will  only be focused on doing whatever it takes for someone else to speak good about you. You will only be reacting and responding and seldom have time and energy to create!

The creation process will be out of your hands.

Is what others think of you the brand you are really wanting to create ?

So I ask again… what is YOUR brand ?

How do you define success ?

Regardless of whether anyone else can see it or recognise it (because if you are an agile coach the chances are good most people won’t easily see your value).

What is it that you value and how do you create that in the world?

How do you measure your success ?

How do you talk about it in a way that others can start to see it ? S

Until you know these answers your brand is being held hostage by the opinions of those you believe have power over your destiny.

Until you live your brand regardless, it will be easily blown over by a word….

When you live and love your brand it speaks in everything you do! It is an energy that people feel and trust so when people speak against it…. well that stands out as an oddity…. that makes no sense! Your brand now has resilience! It has the strength to stand up to the negative opinions of others.

So find your brand.

Own it!

Value it!

Think of it as an extension of yourself! It is your energy …… and who you are can never be defined by someone else’s opinion… at least not unless you let it!

I will say that again because we have been taught something else.

Who you are isn’t and can never be defined by anyone else’s opinion of you – no matter how powerful!

Who you are and the impact you have in the world exists regardless of what the people around you think or see.

The only thing that matters is what you see!

Do you have the courage to see yourself ?

I know you see the failures ? Do you have the courage to see the greatness and the meaning you add ?

No one can destroy your brand but you! And if you are in a place where your brand has so little value and substance that a single voice can shake it and damage it… then you are in the wrong place and it doesn’t matter who you are, you are fighting a loosing battle that will only devalue and destabilise you! You are in a place where you may start to believe what they see instead of believing what you know. Then it is time to leave! Where you are isn’t healthy. It is death to you and your soul! Places like these trap you and snuff out the light that you and only you can bring to the world.

When you are your brand the rest is noise!

Who you are is more important then fitting in and making people comfortable. You already fit in – with the people you are meant to fit in with, the one’s who need you and can see you.

Besides… you already know that the only way to create something new is through discomfort and that is your gift.

Your gift as an agile coach is guiding people through their discomfort as they discover new ways of being and doing that allow them to explore even higher performance!

That is your gift and your purpose… to push … gently, so that people are able to leave the safety of repeating yesterday and start to become curious about what could also be possible!

That is your gift… to make it safe to change! To hold the space and to believe in who they are when they no longer believe because you know that they are limitless and able to do the impossible!

So f!@ck ‘em! Be your brand! Sparkle and pay attention to who is scared and who is keen.

Follow the pull and be patient with the rest! You can’t change it and you will break yourself if you try!

It is their job to do the changing. It is yours to create a space where change is accessible and fun and safe! They get to choose if they accept the challenge! It is OK if they don’t. They will when they are ready and the more you live this brand of yours, the easier it will become for them to join you.

Just follow the pull and sparkle!

Change comes one person at a time…. every person! Every one matters and every time you hold your line… you make it easier for those who are trying to resist to let go and be something more.

Live your brand! Live it with pride and joy and don’t ever let anyone take it away from you! They can’t unless YOU STOP BELEIVING!