Branding: Who Am I?

I have recently updated The Coaching Project website.  I’ve put it off for a long while as I anticipated it would be an onerous task.  The difficulty is that to change the website, I had to ask myself: Who am I now as TCP’s leader?  And how can I best tell TCP’s story?  These are never easy questions.  Although we are in the business of change, none of us is immune to the resistance that inevitably accompanies it.

When I looked at the existing content, I realized that over the past few years I have expanded my concern to include both global and personal leadership perspectives along with our current Leader Coach focus.  For example, from a global perspective, I am engaged with the leaders of several small nonprofits working in the poorest countries of the world.  On the personal side, I am involved with a colleague facilitating individual leadership development using story to explore limiting beliefs.

This broader vision has unfolded gradually as these things often do, in my case through becoming inspired at a conference, attending a university program, writing, speaking, and now practicing from this new worldview.  TCP’s current work in coaching and developing leaders is ongoing and exciting.  However, it doesn’t include the larger context of my own emerging direction.   As the leader of the organization, I want to include our evolution and present offerings but embed them within a more expansive framework of opportunities.

It was not until I began working with the web designer that the extent of this shift became clear.  He asked some powerful coaching questions about who I was and how I wanted TCP to be portrayed publicly, not only on the website but linked to other social media.  He asked for the headings that would shape the main pages of the site.   What were the main themes of our story and how would they be represented and arranged to reflect who we are now?  I pondered these questions for several days while I worked with a collection of about 25 post-it notes each titled with an aspect of our current and emerging work.  I found the process a very challenging inquiry and invite every leader to try it, something akin to writing a corporate job description.

One of the hallmarks of leadership is the ability to authentically express who we are to others, whether it is a website, a blog, a speech, or a simple email.  Kevin Cashman actually defines leadership as “authentic self-expression that adds value”.   Clear and consistent communication generates trust and loyalty.  How often do we consider who we are as leaders and how we can best communicate about ourselves and our organizations in a way that adds value?   It was certainly time for me to take stock – you can judge the results at www.thecoachingproject.com.  It’s a work in progress and I continue to ask the questions:  Is this mirror a true reflection of who we are now?  Does it portray clearly how we want to be perceived in the world?

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