A Coaching Approach to Personal Branding

(This post was originally published on the International Coaching Federation’s blog, April 24, 2015)

Your personal brandI have recently had several people say to me “You really model authenticity in everything you do.” It made my day and touched my heart because for 10 years as I have been building my business, I have consistently held the intent that everything we do, and every interaction we have, with anyone, models who we are and what our values and vision are.

So what does that have to do with personal branding?

Great question (you must be a Coach – haha).

My favorite definition is of branding is one that Karley Cunningham, of Big Bold Brand, shared with me – she said branding is “What people say about you when you aren’t in the room.”

Hmm – what do they say about me? Is it congruent with how I see myself? With my values?

Her definition has always stuck with me.

I come back to these deeper questions again and again as a guide to my branding – how do I want live my life? What are my values? And does that translate into my interactions with others – at business and in all parts of my life? Does it translate into the products and services I offer and how I offer them?

Some definitions of branding talk about creating an image of how you want others to see you. One that may or may not be aligned with your authentic or best self.

My philosophy is to be authentically you and to translate who you are and what is deeply important to you into everything you do. That way, what people say about you when you aren’t there will be congruent with who you are and what you stand for as a person and as a coach. This is your personal brand and it’s guided by a strong inner clarity or inner GPS.

Here are some questions you can reflect on to develop your personal brand and then to apply it to your business.

They begin with getting the right mindset for clarity, second is to set up the business rigor and discipline that is required to ensure everything you do is aligned to your personal brand. Somatic support is third and the final bucket is learnings and celebration as you learn and evolve.

Right Mindset (clarity for your personal brand)

  • Who are you as your best or authentic self? (the words that describe your best qualities)
  • What are your values? (deeply held beliefs about what is important to you)
  • Your purpose? (what you are meant to do in this lifetime)
  • Your leadership principles? (how these translate tactically into your day-to-day work)
  • Your Life Vision? (what your life looks like when you are living in line with who you are and what is important to you) Your life goals or intentions? (in the next year, three years, five years, this is what you want to accomplish in all parts of your life)

Business discipline and rigor

  • What is your vision for your business? Your business values?
  • What is your why? (the deeply held reason, beyond the money, that taps into your emotions, for why this work is important to you)
  • How does your renewed personal clarity provide guidance for who your primary client group might be?
  • How will this guide your offerings? Your website design and wording? Your branding images (fonts, colors, styles, templates, etc.) Your communications? Your social strategy? Your business structure? (i.e. every step you take to build a successful coaching business)

Somatic support (right body language)

Do you have an ongoing practice of paying attention to when you are aligned with your authentic self and values? If not, reflect on the following:

  • What occurs for you in the body when you make a decision or take an action that is aligned with your authentic self or your personal brand? Where do you notice it in the body? What do you notice?
  • What occurs for you in the body when you are living out of alignment with your authentic self and what is important to you? What do you notice in the body and where?
  • How do you listen for this important guidance on a daily basis?
  • How do you cultivate presence so your inner guidance can show up more clearly?
  • How could you shift your body language, in the moment, to support you to let go of the unhelpful aspects of personality/ego that will want to get in the way of living aligned with your authentic self?

As a reminder, have you learned about the ABCs of self-managing? How often are you practicing this each day?

Learnings and celebration

  • What are you learning about yourself as you evolve and grow and how does it guides your personal brand? How will you apply what you are learning?
  • How does your personal brand provide guidance for how you would like to celebrate?
  • What are you grateful for about your growing ability to align your business with your personal brand?
  • What is going well? How will you celebrate your success?