Updated: Mar 14
Over the past 4 and a bit years I've been repositioning myself from environmental and social consultant to career and business coach. But a career change doesn't take shape overnight and after having worked in the environmental sector for 20 years, just suddenly becoming known for coaching is a pretty big ask.
I also hedged my bets for 3 of those years, taking on environmental advisory contracts to keep me financially afloat while I worked on building my coaching profile.
But one day after noticing that I kept being found in LinkedIn searches for environmental work, but never coming up for coaching (except on the odd occasion for coach maintenance work - ie maintenance of bus coaches... I kid you not), I realised I needed to start positioning myself explicitly for the work I wanted to be known for and make some dramatic changes to the way I showed up on LinkedIn (and everywhere else).
There were three things I did to reposition myself on LinkedIn that have worked for me (the rest are outlined in a masterclass that I published recently on how to Leverage LinkedIn).
I got clear on what I wanted to be known for
When I wasn't clear on what I wanted to be known for, I talked about and engaged with others on EVERYTHING.
All that did was dilute my presence and confuse people about what work I did.
So I got clear on 5 things that I wanted to be known for:
managing your career like a business,
advocating for yourself using LinkedIn and your CV as tools in your brand, and
women in mining.
These topics overlap and at their intersect speak directly to my core clients who are largely female mission-driven STEM professionals who want to show up in their lives, their work and their communities with curiosity, compassion, creativity & courage.
When I start engaging exclusively on these 5 topics, I started showing up in front of the people I truly want to work with - and that's when my business started to become 100% coaching focussed.
Recently a student on my Leverage LinkedIn Course asked me the question that really prompted me to write this blog.
Her question was:
"I am wondering how divergent the 5 topics can be? My topics would be:
Team coaching to deal with team issues that stem from differences in personalities
Leadership coaching for conscious leadership (knowing yourself to lead well)
Women in leadership
Brand story development to turn a passion into a business
How do I know if these topics work together or if they will just create confusion for my target audience?"
Here was my answer:
"There is always potential to create confusion when we have divergent topics but in your instance, it sounds to me like there is a common theme across all of these and that theme from my perspective is that you coach people to know themselves better.
When individuals know themselves better they are often more capable of knowing and coping with other people and other personalities - this helps in team dynamics.
When teams know themselves better they understand their dynamics as a team.
When individuals know themselves better they are more capable of self-leadership and conscious leadership as you put it.
When women know themselves better they are more able to articulate their values, identify the behaviours that support their values, identify boundaries that protect their values and communicate their brand and the experience that they want others to have of them, more clearly.
Most of us have divergent interests but somewhere along the line there is often an overarching theme - if you can find the theme, you can communicate your topics without confusing anyone (and hopefully feel more convergent in your own mind too!)"
The student that asked the original question was my friend Claudia Brandt, who is an incredible coach who helps her clients identify and tell their brand story. She has a novel way of helping her clients serve their customers by learning first how to sell to them. If you are interested in Claudia's coaching you should connect with her on LinkedIn.
Then I started positioning myself with content that served my network
In the first year of my transition into coaching, I wrote and shared over 50 blogs about things I had learned in my career - mostly through failures. My blogs were vulnerable and in retrospect, we’re a great way of getting clear on my new identity as well as an opportunity to share countless lessons that resonated with my audience. I talked at workshops and professional body events, and volunteered a lot of time to organizations like Women in Mining South Africa, Bridge The Gap Geosciences and several university bodies to help young professionals with their transition into the world of work.
I showed up (even though sometimes I really wanted to shrink back) and shared content that was valuable to the network I was building.
This year I started being paid for some of the content that for 4 years I have shared freely.
I culled my keywords
This should have been the first thing I did, but as I said, I hedged my bets for the first few years and needed to be found for environmental consultant keywords.
About a year ago I did a ruthless cull of all the environmental keywords on my LinkedIn profile and replaced them with coaching, mentoring, leadership, training, personal development, career development and other words that help me show up in keyword searches. I will admit this was a massive identify shift for me - deleting keywords from a 20-year career in environmental consulting was the final step in shifting my identity in my own mind.
I noticed a few weeks ago in my LinkedIn search results that I am showing up in more searches, more often and that the keywords that I am being found with are exclusively coaching-related search words (and these days not bus coach related words either 😁).
I encourage you to get clear on what you want to be known for and then show up and advocate for yourself.
If you want to know more, or even better, you want to sign up for the class as an investment in yourself, then click on this link for a 50% discount for my Leverage LinkedIn masterclass.
I thrive on conversations and would love to engage with you on your career and how you are managing yourself and your career like a business.
I believe "managing your career like a business" means having insight on where you want to go in your career, the agility and resilience to change track when necessary, competence to navigate transition points, and self-awareness to manage yourself. I help you do that through one-on-one coaching, CV and LinkedIn profile writing, topic-specific workshops and a suite of blogs and other materials available on my website. Want more information? Drop me a message and I will get back to you asap.
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