Saturday, April 28, 2007

Supporting 'newbies' in the industry

Hi there communicators
If you are interested in building and sustaining a successful career in professional communication, or you want to help others follow you path, then this blog is for you.
My aim over the coming months is to provide you with honest, no fuss how-to information and advice written both by myself - The Professional Communicators Coach - and by other experts in the industry.
If you would like to see a particular topic covered then please send me your request via email to or post a comment. Similarly if you have some helpful tips or information you would like to share with others in the industry, then please do likewise.
Here's to friendship and knowledge sharing.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Sweet advice or a smooth sales pitch?

As anyone who knows me or has been to any of my workshops or talks will testify – I love coaching. Having a great leader help someone get on track, gain clarity, expand their mind or their career path or laser their skills and strengths goes right to the core of what I believe coaching, and leadership, is all about. However coaching, like leadership, comes in many shapes and sizes and can also lead people astray or even confuse or distract them.

There are many individuals, organizations and franchise operations out there trying to make inroads into workplace, career and leadership coaching or attempting the transition from ‘life coaching’ to ‘business coaching’.

A deregulated market, these days anyone can call themselves a coach. The problem is that the position of a coach is one of trust. Coaches should be people that can add real value and perspective to what you are trying to achieve. A coach should have credibility, substance and experience and be able to communicate the essentials effectively. Most importantly a coach must listen first and support you in the way that suits you and your needs, not just follow a formula or process.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not suggesting you should steer clear of coaching – quite the opposite in fact as I believe good coaching promotes creativity, performance and resilience and there are many exceptional coaches out there.

What I do recommend is that like any investment, that you do your research. Before taking on a coach, I recommend you ask for a free introductory session, a taste test, so you can evaluate the coach and their skills. Here are five things you might look for:
1 – How successful has the coach been in their own career? (If in doubt ask to see their resume!)
2 – Do they have real life leadership experience? (Remember it doesn’t need to be in your field of expertise to be effective.)
3 – Do they listen more than they talk? (Coaching is all about you, not the coaches agenda and ego.)
4 – Do they ask powerful questions to challenge you in seeking the truth? (Do you find yourself saying ‘Hmm good question’ and having to think before answering?)
5 – Do they demonstrate ethics and integrity? (A good coach will maintain your confidentiality no matter what – they never, ever gossip. Additionally they may be members of and abide by a professional Code of Ethics – such as ICF’s

Coaching shouldn't be a long drawn out process to make the most money and have people coming back again and again. It should only take a couple of sessions for you to have pinpointed some clear challenges and goals and started taking action towards them. Depending on what you hope to achieve your coach should be upskilling you so eventually they become redundant and you can keep yourself on track. It should be effective, to the point, challenging and direct.
Therefore if you are considering hiring a coach, be sure to get a taste test first so you can tell if it is indeed sweet advice or just a smooth sales pitch.
All the best

Welcome to the first posting for The Professional Communicators Coach

Welcome communicators to the blog that is designed especially for you. The aim of this blog is to generate discussion, knowledge sharing and provide insight into the professional communications industry.
Whether you come from PR, marketing, research, community consultation, fundraising, public speaking, journalism or are a new uni student trying to crack it in the communications industry I hope this blog provides you with value. Leading Value.
As the Director of coaching and training company "Leading Value" I work with communicators just like you to bring more prosperity, passion and purpose into your professional and personal life. As a professional communicator myself with over 12 years hands on experience I understand the barriers, issues and bonuses of working in this fast paced, ever changing industry.
I look forward to chatting with you very soon!
All the best