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Stepping Up

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.

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

How To Know When To Leave Your Job

By | Stepping Out, Stepping Up, Uncategorized | No Comments

After years of exams, school, college, university all going to plan most of us find ourselves in some form of career.

For some, the career route was mapped years ago maybe with lots of nudging by well-meaning parents. Others like me who entered the Tech industry when it was booming in the 90s fell into a sector on the rise and for a long time soared on the success, and had a lot of fun.

Until one day I looked around the office at my future 20 years down the line and had a sinking feeling that I definitely didn’t want to retire doing this job for the rest of my life. It took a lot longer to quit and I actually started working on my side-hustle a few years before actually taking the leap.

The five signs that it’s time to change career are as follows:

Self-sabotage

The tech sector has always had a challenge retaining and attracting female talent so it was pretty easy to switch companies. In my last two jobs although I was enthusiastic about the role initially after three months I was day dreaming of life beyond the IT sector.

Although I diligently showed up every day my heart was elsewhere and I was faking my enthusiasm. I wasn’t making an effort with my appearance, not that anyone would notice but it was how I was feeling inside apathetic and bored. In other’s I’ve seen scenarios of not caring being played out by missing targets, arriving late at meetings, calling off sick. Unconsciously its wanting out and allowing yourself to drop the ball on one too many occasions.

Toxic culture

A toxic culture can manifest itself in many ways. One such would be somewhere there is routine discrimination, backstabbing nastiness generally or against you or your team and senior management team just don’t care. There is no point reporting this to HR as the culture is one of protecting a selected high performing in group who have a lot of clout.

There are also subtle examples of toxic cultures. A client of mine a high flying completer finisher Marketing Director who landed a fabulous job with a well-known consultancy soon realised that the company had a culture where it was OK to waste time and money on half-finished ideas and projects. She would be asked to research and present a paper to the board only to discover that a day before the deadline the board was no longer interested in that initiative. Everyone else was OK with this but she started to feel isolated and not relevant. The culture was toxic to her personality and preferred working style.

Feeling at odds with your life purpose

You just don’t feel what your company is doing is meaningful or aligned to your personal values and its beginning to grate. You constantly start to question the purpose behind what you are doing. You may even be really good at what you do bit you also know that deep down you have so much more to give. Not having a feeling of connection with something you are doing day in day is painful. Eventually there is a feeling of despondency, frustration and boredom.

Your boss is a bully

My very last boss before I decided to go it alone, described himself as a philanthropist who had set up a charitable foundation and talked at length at interview about how the corporate job was a tool for helping poor underprivileged children with educational opportunities. At the time I thought this was great as I was developing a deep interest in these areas and it felt as if things were coming together. I was now going to be working for someone who also had similar interests. Everything felt aligned; our career aspirations and our deeper values.

Two weeks into the job I realised my boss had major challenges around personal boundaries. As I was packing to leave for the evening my boss called a team meeting. We all stayed late and it soon became obvious that this happened on a regular basis. With little notice, just as we were about to leave, he would call a meeting. It was about control and mind games. When approaching him with a question, his body language was dismissive and abrupt. He gave me no guidance on tasks and then criticised me and made me feel incompetent. I was out of there before my trial period ended on my terms.

Stressed, miserable and moody

Have you ever got on the train or in your car on a Monday morning and wanted to turn around and head straight back home as you just can’t face going into work. Or you are working all hours and that includes emails in the evenings after work and weekends. Feeling depressed, stressed and moody is becoming the norm then something needs to change.

Especially if there is no light at the end of the tunnel. If the more you give, the more they take and there is no appreciation or give – it’s time to quit!

How to leave and afterwards

Once you decide to leave I recommend the ‘elegant exit’. If you want to go it alone and start your own business I would start working on your side-hustle straight away. Researching what you want to do, maybe start a blog, take a course. The day you do hand in your notice you walk straight into day 1 of your new business. Psychologically it makes a big difference to walk away with a plan of action. Just make sure you have enough savings (between 6 to 12 months to fall back on)

If you decide to quit because you’ve had enough and need to take some time out in between the next job. Once you resign there may be an initial feeling of elation and relief, this is usually followed by a slump.

It is common to feel scared, angry and isolated after some time. Once you are ready start looking for your next role but be prepared for worst case scenario that it will take a lot longer.

Choose the company of positive friends and family who support you as you seek your next venture. If you want to make big career/life changes but just don’t know what you it is you want to do hiring a coach is a great investment.

Could You Work For Yourself?

By | Business, Stepping Out, Stepping Up | No Comments

For some its just a fleeting fly by night thought parked away for years down the line. For others its a much louder voice that just wont go away. Should you step up and aim for the next step in the corporate ladder OR do you dream of self-employment but are too nervous to make that leap? There are many examples of free spirits who have quit corporate life and now make a great living from a beech hut in Thailand or people who claim to have figured out how to make millions by working just a few hours a week….yes that one is a bit steep! For most of us giving up the day job is scary and for good reason. Security, life priorities, attitude to risk, paying the rent/mortgage, food on the table…

The majority of those who do make the leap from employee to self-employment (and that includes myself) despite the unpredictable income would never go back to being an employee. It’s making that initial leap which is the hardest bit. The day you return the company car, hand back the mobile and laptop and say good bye to the monthly salary and pension is naturally daunting.

But working for yourself is on the rise. According to the Harvard Business Review the number of self-employed will rise to 23 million in 2017. With ‘plug-and-play’ technology you no longer need huge piles of cash to start a business. However, self-employment isn’t for everyone.

7 questions to help you decide if you should consider quitting and starting your own business or keep climbing the corporate ladder.

1) How much of a perfectionist are you?

Running your own business means that not everything can always be a 100% perfect. You have to make a choice of which bits need to be 100% perfect and which you are willing to let go of. Spending months on the perfect logo and website design is a complete waste of time and you can always amend as you go along. However, all customer experience of your product or service must be 100% perfect. Too much perfection of every aspect of your business means no revenue coming in. How much can you let go of perfection?

2) Are you willing to get comfortable selling?

Building your profile and self-promotion are important either way. But you have to get out there both face to face and on social media to sell your ideas, product and services. It’s your name and reputation at the front of everything. It will take time and effort and some discomfort to develop your selling style.

3) Can you handle a lot of rejection?

You will get more no’s and less yes’s especially at the beginning as you fine tune your market and offering. Rejection isn’t personal but it is feedback and you need a lot of resilience to pick yourself up and carry on.

4) Do you have enough savings?

To feel safe have at least 12 months of savings set aside. Worst case scenario things take a little longer then you had hoped or anticipated. It is stressful enough getting a new thing going without worrying about the roof over your head, bills and food.

5) Can you live with uncertainty?

Customers change their minds at the last minute, decisions get delayed and contracts get cancelled. There are no real guarantees and the smart thing to do when you work for yourself is to spread the risk. The market and opportunity can change overnight as we all discovered in 2008.

6) Are you willing to let go of procrastination and fail?

Procrastination in the guise of research, over analysis are time wasters. If you take too long making a decision, by the time you decide to go for it the market will have changed and the opportunity lost. If you have a great idea get it out there, test it and tweak it. It’s a lot better to fail quickly with minimal spend and effort, tweak and try again.

7) Do you have a sense of urgency?

With no one imposing deadlines you need huge amounts of self-discipline and motivation to keep things moving at a pace and focusing on prioritising and doing the right things. Taking daily actions that move you forward towards your goal.

All seven points are equally important whether you decide to stay and climb the corporate ladder or step out and do your own thing. You need to work on all of them. The emphasis and shift will differ. Download FREE From Dreaming to Doing online course to help you figure out your next move.

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