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Going it Alone

5 Typical Concerns About Hiring A Coach

By | Business, Going for Promotion, Going it Alone, Personal Brand, Personal Development, Stepping Up | No Comments

Hiring a business or life coach is a big investment of your money and time. And it’s perfectly normal to feel concerned about taking the plunge and hiring a coach

I know because I’ve just been through this myself. In the last few months I’ve been looking to work with a mentor/coach to help me take my business to the next level.

I wanted to work with someone who was more than a ‘tea and sympathy’ coach but who could also give me practical business skills and mentoring.

Since qualifying as a coach myself I’ve worked with quite a few coaches and mentors over the last fifteen years. There have been times when I’ve tried to figure it out by myself and trundled along. Painfully slow and then only to find out there was a better, quicker way and that I’ve missed a trick.

One thing I’ve learnt time and time again is that when I’m at a growth point in my business or stuck with a personal block it’s a lot faster, quicker and better to work with the right coach. The return is nearly always greater than my investment. I say nearly because there have been two misses where the experience hasn’t worked out. Even so there’s always been something to learn.

My perfect coach

My superstar coaches have been high in emotional intelligence, intuitive, have practical business knowledge in an area I’m focusing on and offer hands on help. Not overly aggressive in how they sell (more on pushy sales later), straight talking, nurturing with a sense of fun. The ones that didn’t work out for me were too pragmatic, self-centred and aggressive.

Instead of building my confidence they had the reverse effect. I am tough enough on myself and more than happy to be held accountable and pushed out of my comfort zone but not in a patronising or talked down to way.

In fact my ideal business mentor/coach has a similar energy and style to how I mentor and coach.

Lots of great free advice

There’s information overload with ‘how to’ free webinars and events. And if you’re willing to spend time putting the work in and be open to a lot of ‘hit’ and ‘miss’ it’s possible to work out it out. In fact even if you are working with a coach there will be some areas where you’ll still need to figure it out yourself. But if you’re feeling stuck, clueless, coasting, overwhelmed, procrastinating then hiring right coach/mentor could be the solution.

Here are 5 of the most common concerns I hear from people who are thinking of working with a coach – and the advice I offer.

Isn’t a coach just a substitute for a good friend?

If you’re lucky friends and family can be an amazing support system. But they see you through a pre-judged biased lens. Based wholly on their emotional investment in your relationship and the dynamics of your bond.

Subconsciously friends and family most likely don’t want you to change too much as it would affect the relationship. How would your best friend really feel if you became a multi-millionaire?

They will have pre-judgements about you and their advice will never be 100% impartial. Even with my fourteen years of experience I have learnt the hard way never to coach family and friends – it just doesn’t work.

I can coach myself by reading lots of personal development books 

As a reformed self-help book junkie I have read many that have been life changing. A great book will tweak your self-development and take you forward. I remember a friend who broke her bad boyfriend cycle overnight by reading, ‘He’s just not that into you’, Behrendt and Tuccillo. The problem is she broke the cycle but has never dated since. Which takes me to the next point.

But what happens when you hit an unconscious emotional block or a fear? Or hit a wall leaving you with self-doubt? Or need some feedback or want to brainstorm some ideas? That’s where the coach will step in and keep you moving forward, supporting you to reach your dream goals.

I need more than ‘tea and sympathy’ coaching

I agree. There are different types of coaches out there. I’m a practical person and like to get results fast so always work with coaches that are mentors too. My first amazing coach while I was still working in Tech but was figuring out my exit strategy in 2004 was an ex-journalist. The reason I chose to work with her was because I also wanted to learn about pitching myself to the press and build relationships with journalists. It worked!

How much should I pay for a coach?

I don’t believe in getting into huge amounts of debt to work with a coach. There are lots of people who have taken eye watering loans to work with high flying coaches and been very successful. But that’s a call you make.

Coaches can charge anything between £125 per session to £25,000 per day. It depends on where you are on your journey. If you want to play big then does it make sense to hire a coach who is playing small?

My rule of thumb is that the amount you pay for your coach should make your belly flip with a mix of excitement and some nervousness. Change never comes from living life in the safe zone. You have to take a leap of faith.

Personally, I hate being sold to and it’s a turn off. As I worked around sales in my Tech career I know all the tricks of getting a client to say ‘yes’. One of the coaches I decided to say ‘no’ to was charging an eye watering amount – enough to replace my old sporty Celica or take several 5 star holidays in one year. It was when she suggested I was obviously not ready to “Play big” that her desperation made me feel very uncomfortable. Actually, it wasn’t the amount I was saying to ‘No’ to but her approach had made me lose trust.

Another check before you hire someone is to see if you can see them in action. I run very affordable workshops and regular free webinars. Word of mouth is great too but coaching is so personal that someone who suits your friend may not work for you.

Most coaches will do a free getting to know you call. Having said that the coach I signed up to recently didn’t but I’d seen her speak and and she felt just right for me.

I don’t feel comfortable sharing my personal life with a coach

You don’t have to share anything about your personal life you don’t want to. But in my experience if you are working with the right coach the desire to want to open up will naturally surface in your own time. Even so what you share is up to you. Coaching is a safe place to show up with our fears and vulnerabilities and work on them so you can live the life of your dreams. Coming from a place of strength.

Email me: salma@salmashah.com if you are interested in a ‘getting to know you coaching call’. 

 

Why You Should Start Blogging

By | Business, Going for Promotion, Going it Alone, Personal Brand, Personal Brand, Personal Development, Stepping Out, Stepping Up, Uncategorized | No Comments

 

Does the thought of starting a blog cross you mind but it just feels too technical and complicated so you put off doing anything at all.

If you want to get noticed, be seen and get your message out there, one way is to start a blog. You don’t have to be massively technical as there’s lots of advice. Just google or search on YouTube.

Before you jump into starting a blog its worth taking a step back and asking yourself why you want to blog?. If its just about getting your voice out there, there are other means ways such as; podcasting, tweeting, instagram stories, Facebook live, vlogging.

Assuming for now its blogging;

What’s your why?

  1. Earn money from blogging. Do you want to be a full-time blogger and earn make money from affiliates and sponsored posts? There’s an army of full-time and part-time mummy bloggers, travel bloggers and fashion bloggers etc. doing really well.
  2. You don’t have an exact long term plan but just want to get your message out there and start building your profile. It’s perfectly ok to have this approach too especially as some of the best known blogs started this way.
  3. It’s a way to get more publicity for your business, attract clients and build a community.

 

3 Very Simple Technical Steps To Start a Blog

 

  1. You will needs a platform. I did my research and chose WordPress for my blogging platform as it’s more flexible than free ones. I love things to look nice but don’t have the time or skills to create a pretty blog. If that’s you find someone to help you with creating the initial look and feel HOWEVER then I strongly suggest you learn how to add posts and make changes yourself. You need to be updating content on a regular basis for google to rank you in the first one or two pages.
  2. Choose a domain name. Many coaches, therapists, solo-preneurs as I did initially hide behind the business name. The reality is clients will remember your name first and then your business name so you may as well start with your name and then a tagname to describe what you do.
  3. A host is where your site sits lives on a server so others can find your site on the internet. I did my research and chose Siteground.

 

For More Inspiration

Read The Million Dollar Blog by Natasha Courtenay-Smith

 

Check out Seth Godin, he has one of the most popular blogs and believes blogging is about passion and not monetisation. Love his approach and clarity on his brand values and goals.

 

Copyblogger.com has lots of hints and tricks about writing content. Especially if you are new to writing and need some ideas to get going

 

To get started download the 5 Day Personal Brand Challenge to help you figure out your blogging voice.

 

 

 

 

 

7 Lessons I Learnt Working For Myself

By | Going it Alone, Personal Brand, Stepping Out | No Comments

 

As more and more of us are tempted by the lure of working for ourselves and with ‘plug-and-play’ technology the reality is you no longer need huge piles of cash to start a business. According to the Harvard Business Review the number of self-employed will rise to 23 million in 2017.

I was never lured by the corner cubicle and only flirted with the idea of leaning in for a fleeting moment. Once I’d made the leap to work for myself not for one second have I been tempted to go back to being an employee. I’m officially and happily unemployable. However, the reality of self-employment has been an emotional rollercoaster ride of stress, self-doubt and sleepless nights.

Working for myself has been the equivalent of being in therapy – in a good way. Its forced me to look at and work on myself from every perceivable angle. By far the biggest lessons came from the mistakes and hiccups along the way.

Taking rejection personally

The reality is at the beginning you will get more no’s and less yes’s. One that sticks out was a verbal ‘yes’ from a major TV channel to pilot one of my workshops. I remember leaving their offices feeling elated and texting or calling just about everyone I knew by the time I’d reached the tube station. Despite chasing up for several weeks it came to nothing, I was crushed for months. Only to find out that the person who had said yes had resigned a few weeks later and had made me a promise they couldn’t deliver on.

A ‘no’ can happen for all sorts of reasons. Today I just treat it as feedback and either tweak my offering or just move on very quickly.  If someone unsubscribes from my newsletter that’s good it means they are not the right audience for me but it also means that the other 99% who don’t unsubscribe are interested and vested in hearing from me.

Perfectionism

According to Nicola Mendelsohn Facebook’s VP for Europe ‘Done is better than perfect”.  I couldn’t agree more. The sweeping blitz of social media is a huge opportunity to build your business. The biggest challenge I’ve had is waiting to post and share things until everything looked perfect. The perfect tweet, Instagram picture, blog, Snapchat, Facebook etc. This for a long time translated into nothing happening at all.

 

Taking the plunge has meant saying no to all-round perfection and being very selective and focusing. With social media I just focus on two or three channels and have a system. On Facebook rather than create a fresh new perfect post each time I’ve created a process. I use the same graphics and headings every week such as Monday Motivation, Soulful Sunday, Shout Out Friday and vary the content each time.

But most crucially for me perfection isn’t just about the perfect image but the values and message behind what I am expressing with my audience.  To quote Paul Klee “One eye sees, the other feels”.

Impatient

It is so easy to feel things are moving too slowly because they always do.  I have a love hate relationship with my impatient side. My love for being impatient means that I make things happen quickly and get on with it. The down side is when things happen too slowly which they always do and then the anxiety and stress kicks in. Especially when you look around and have that FOMO (fear on missing out) feeling too. Who knows how long someone has been working away to get to there?  And it’s a complete waste of energy to compare yourself to others anyway. One way to keep this in check is to compare where you were a year ago, six months ago and three months ago and then celebrate your progress and the small wins.

Feeling isolated and not sharing

Working for yourself can soon become a lonely experience.  I know to my detriment I can so easily become absorbed with working on my business that I start refusing all invitations, going to the gym and even meeting friends. Not great as I’m a bit extrovert (ish) and then end up feeling alone and disconnected.

My saviour has been having a ‘tribe’ or groups that I trust and feel connected with that serves more than one purpose. This has really worked for me and has been life changing.  The community is a great place to dip in with the banter, learn from each other and share wins.

As I have little time to network I’ve initially focused on building relationships online before meeting up. Another online community to support others who are in the same boat is ‘The Next Chapter Work and Life Hub’.

Not working on raising your profile and missing out on opportunities

It’s taken years for me to put my name in front of my business. Waiting for the right time to do it; until the book is written, the perfect website, more testimonials, landing the celebrity endorsement? A huge mistake to not have done this years ago.

Rather than wait for those perfect moments you have to create them by just doing it. It will never be a perfect time to pitch an idea, speak at an event or make a high profile connection with a thought leader. Instead priortise what you stand for, who your audience is and your ultimate visibility goal. Working on building an authentic personal brand is an ongoing process. Your personal brand isn’t just what people see but how you make them feel. It’s about your core values. To learn more take the 5 day Personal brand challenge.

 

Is Your Personal Brand Archetype The Girl Next Door or The Rebel

By | Going for Promotion, Going it Alone, Personal Brand, Personal Development, Stepping Out, Stepping Up | 2 Comments

A question I get asked a lot by clients when it comes to personal branding is how can I come across as a leader? With authority? As my BIG thing is authenticity vs spammy fake branding we usually spend time digging deeper into their personality, brand archetype and the natural vibe they give off.
The ‘girl next door’ brand can be a hugely successful brand, think Jennifer Aniston. As much the Ruler/Authoritarian brand we associate with someone like Angela Merkel.

But what are archetypes?
Often described as the ‘software’ of the soul they can give your brand a clear meaning and positioning. The idea of archetypes originates from the work of the well-known psychologist Carl Jung who described archetypes as universal collective patterns of the unconscious.
By understanding what your archetype is you can evoke the qualities of the archetype in your work and build a distinctive game changing personal brand. Madonna, with her changing hairstyles and lifestyles, is the eternal rebel. Oprah invokes the sage archetype as someone who, through her various media channels and products, is associated with wisdom.
Regardless of culture or language, Jung believed everyone shares and understands these themes because they are an undercurrent to all humanity. An archetype is sparked by your behaviour in your mind and the minds of others. Another way to look at archetypes is how we make others feel.
Why are we so loyal to a certain brand and immediately drawn to a new one?
It’s because subconsciously we have forged a connection with the brand’s archetype i.e. how that brand makes you feel.

By understanding your own archetype you can build trust with your audience, be distinctive and impact others.
We all evoke archetypes in our work all the times and it is possible to have more than one archetype. Most of us are likely to gravitate to just a few.

Here is a summary:
The Caregiver: Helping and protecting from harm

The Creator: The artist and dreamer

The Explorer: Seeker and wanderer

The Heroine: Warrior or fighter

The Innocent: The dreamer or romantic

The Jester: Plays the fool but has an important message

The Lover: Idealistic dreamer

The Magician: Transform situations

The Ordinary Girl: Connects with others

The Rebel: Rule breaker

The Ruler: Leader

The Sage: The teacher, helping others to understand

Kick start your personal brand with the 5 Day Personal Brand Challenge