The rise of the digital coach?

Yesterday I attended a session run by Ecademy’s Thomas Power. They’re in the middle of recruiting what they’re calling Digital Coaches for their Ecademy Digital School.

Digital Coach is a term that was coined by Seth Godin in few years back. I’ve only recently come across it. If it sounds new to you, then let me take a few moments to share with you how they define such a person;

• A digital coach teaches you how to do things digital and how to get those things done.

• They help you to use value and optimise Twitter, Facebook, Ecademy, YouTube, LinkedIn etc

• A digital coach understands the difference between personal branding and company branding

• A digital coach is a friend, ally, support service, professional lifesaver, protector and brand guardian.

• They are someone who is a companion and change agent who helps businesses transition and benefit from the Digital World.

During the session Thomas spent a lot of time delivering a very clear message:

if you do not define yourself you will starve

If you can’t define yourself, then other people won’t be able to either. And, if they can’t, then they can’t recommend or refer you. Bummer eh? But you know what? Working that out isn’t a quick process. I have the T-shirt!

Thomas shared a great quote from Penny during the session

“Network value happens when others talk about you when you’re not there”

This quote is very similar to another great quote by Amazon’s Jeff Bezos

“Your personal brand is what people say about you when you’re not there”

So, what we’re talking about here is the same thing, we just can’t agree on a good name for it.

The old adage, it’s not what you know it’s who you know has never been more relevant than today. Thomas rammed this point home several times. Generation Zero have grown up having hundreds of friends, connections and followers. For them, having a network of people who know them for being them is natural. It’s everyone else who needs to worry. Everyone else needs to start thinking about growing their network. Not only that, they need to ensure that their network know who they are. And by this I mean, know what they stand for and what they can be relied on. Oh look! Now we’re back to branding!

So, both Penny and Jeff are talking about the same coin, just different sides. Yes, you need to know what you stand for and can be relied upon for, but then you need to leverage the power of the network. And today, that network is online. If you’re not engaging and publishing online, then you’re not visible. If you’re not visible, then you won’t be chosen.

Oh dear!

And that’s where Digital Coaches come in. They can help you to both these things and walk with you on the path to discovering and defining who you are.

If you’re reading this and thinking “I’m an employee not a freelancer or a business owner, I don’t need to worry about this sort of thing”

WRONG!

Just ponder this; in 2017 all of IBM’s 400,00 employees will become suppliers. How do you think that is going to affect other employees?

In the current climate of austerity and cutbacks, many businesses are moving to using contractors and virtual teams, so now more than ever, defining yourself clearly is a matter of survival.

Have you defined yourself?

If you want to have a chat about discovering and defining YOUR brand, give me a call!

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What have fire-breathing dancers, shops and airhostesses got in common?

I wanted to be them all when I was a little girl. Yes. Really.

But this post is about talents. We all have them. Some of us are lucky enough to know our talents and are using them every day. But the rest of us are still searching. I remember when I was trying to sort my life out and I was mulling this one over for quite a while. And, out of all the exercises that I came across there’s one that stood out for me that really helped. And it was this.

Think back to when you were a kid and people asked you what you wanted to be when you grew up.

What was on your list? Now, the trick with this isn’t taking the answer to the question literally, but reading between the lines. What do I mean? Well, maybe if I shared my story it might help to explain what I mean.

When I was little I went through a few phases and wanted to be many things. Didn’t we all?

Of course, like everyone, I wanted to be a pop star. My mum sent me to ballet and dance classes and I loved doing all the shows we put on. My friends and I would diligently re-create the dance routines from Fame in the playground. As it happened, I was a professional dancer for while and loved it – but the money was crap! And I thought I’d better make good use of my business degree. But I will never forget the feeling I got from being on stage.

I travelled a lot as a child between the UK and Paris to see my family and was often the little kid on the plane wearing a big badge accompanied by the airhostess. I think it was this made me want to be an airhostess.

And finally, I wanted to have my own shop. I would spend hours working out what I’d call it but never got any further than “Chez Alexia” or “Alexia’s shop”. I clearly still needed to work on my creativity back then! I couldn’t tell you what I was selling in the shop, but it was MY shop. Now, again, I did end up working in the retail industry. I worked at a retailer and for brands that are sold in retailers. And I really enjoyed it; seeing an idea that you’ve come up with or a product you’ve created be distributed around the world is pretty cool. Especially when the press go mad for it and you see it in magazines!

Now you’re thinking so what? Well, the point is to look at what it was ABOUT those things that I liked. If we can work out what that is, maybe we can find a way of still doing that but in a slightly different way. So, looking back at my aspirations…

The pop star thing: well I can’t deny that being Leo I do like being on stage, but it was a specific moment on stage that I liked. I used to be part of a tribal fire-breathing dancing trio that would dance at music festivals and clubs (we were VERY cool!). DJ’s would hire us to help them get the crowd going, and that’s what I did – got the crowd going. And THAT is what I loved; when my actions on stage would bring about a massive shift in the energy of the crowd below. Playing with the crowd in that way was epic awesome-ness. Not the pre-rehearsed routines, but responding to the DJ and going with the flow. Being in the moment of it all. Of course doing that now would be a bit inappropriate. But what I can still do is to bring about a state change for the better in my audiences, whoever they are. If they come away energised and feeling great then I’m buzzing.

Now the airhostess bit is pretty obvious. No, it’s not the mopping up after people; it’s the travelling. I just love travelling and seeing the world. And have not done enough of it.

Now, onto the shop. It’s not so much the physical concept that interests me but the broader idea of selling my things, my ideas. Specifically selling ideas that were mine and not someone else’s. I guess that’s why I was never that happy as an employee; I wanted to do MY thing.

So, if I just finish by distilling these. I want to sell my ideas. I want to share my ideas with audiences in a way that leaves them feeling energized and buzzing. And, I want to see the world as I do it. And, that’s what I’m doing now and I LOVE it!

So, think back to what you wanted to be when you were a kid. What was it about those things that you really liked? And, are you doing them now?

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To blog or not to blog: what is your personal brand?

Jumping onto the blogging bandwagon can be tempting. But before you do, stop and think. Developing your personal brand is key.

Click to continue reading “To blog or not to blog: what is your personal brand?”

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