I started working with a business coach yesterday. Right away she asked me to explain my work. I sheepishly tell her that I have just realized that what I really am is a marketing coach and consultant (not the “communication coach and consultant” that I have used for the last year.)
“And what do your clients come to you for, primarily?”, she asks.
“They want clarity – clarity in their offering, clarity in their brand style, clarity in their messaging. Then I help some of them apply that messaging to their websites, social media campaigns…” (inside my head: We pull all that together and “voila!” they are off to grow their business! See, I'm a marketing coach!… right?) I feel the pit in my stomach grow noticing that she is not nodding her head. We are on the phone and I can't see her, but I can still tell that she is soo not nodding her head.)
I am so frustrated at my inability to articulate my business offering! I can only imagine what you are thinking – “uhm, aren't you a marketing coach?” Yea. I'm thinkin' it, too. And if you ask my clients – I'm a pretty handy one, too. So, why oh why, then can I NOT get my own messaging and offering crystal clear?!
I've been using the cheap story about shoemakers having crappy shoes. But here's the deal: the best shoemakers do NOT have crappy shoes. They have shoes that rock the house upon arrival and make others tear-up in desperate want for a pair just like 'em. And that's the kind of shoemaker I wanna be. So, I gotta get my offering right.
In the pre-transparency world I would never be writing this and sending it out for all of my potential clients to see. There are a few of you (more even?) who will argue (if but to yourself) that it is unwise to put this particular frailty out there.
But you know what? I'm over that.
Because I know what I think by saying it out loud – and sometimes by writing it. And right now, I'm sorta sick of talking to myself. So, here's the writing part. Plus – maybe someone out there in the big bad internet world will have a stroke of insight and brilliance that I can use to solve my problem. In fact, I know y'all are out there with your ideas. Bring 'em on.
So, back to the issue.
I know REALLY well what I bring to the table. I have spent many years contemplating my navel (which, frankly, gets old kinda fast – it's a small little area, really) and “trying new things” and “venturing out” and “pushing my edges.” I ask for regular feedback from friends, clients and family. Plus, people tell you lots of things in lots of ways, and I am a seriously focused listener. There – I've established the vastness of my self-understanding (which will never explain why I can't get places on time, ever.)
Here's the nutshell version of my strength: I help you understand the stories that are driving your (life, work, play), explore alternative stories that are ALSO TRUE, and find a new story that serves your goals better. This is NOT about spin. It's about re-storying in meaningful, authentic, feels-true-in-the-pit-of-your-gut ways. Then we take those stories into practical realms: visioning, build your business offering, craft your presentation and get your delivery into the riveting realm, get your business website all spiffied up with your new story at the lead. It can and does go in many directions (business marketing materials, personal branding, presentation skills coaching, Party Pitch coaching), but it always begins with story articulation (including a focus on personal style) and then recrafting of a new story(ies.)
My purpose is to help people tell their Big Bold Bad-Ass Story (B³AS) in a way that serves their life authentically and powerfully. It's about self-expression, purpose, contribution, and freedom. That's what it's about.
So, what's my B³AS? In particular, what's the TITLE of my story?
(And, because I can't resist the possibility that you might share and I LOVE people's stories – what's yours?)