I feel like the tortoise…

Well, in the race to complete my assignment, slow and steady is definitely winning the day.  It will be done by Monday and submitted.  It’s just that I’m completing it piece by piece.  Apparently, according to the forum, everyone found this one a slow and tedious piece of work so it’s comforting that it’s not just me.

I wandered back onto LinkedIn today and found that instead of my blog showing the entries which related just to those things I have tagged for it, it was showing everything.  I’ve deleted it on my profile until I find a solution or rather start the business blog which would be more appropriate there. 

Weirdly, there are people who now suddenly have over 100 connections who the last time I looked had around the same as me.  In checking, I think they have effectively just invited and linked to everyone they ever knew at all in business.  The question is should I do the same?  Is it quantity that’s important or quality? 

My network at IBM was extensive: I’d worked there for 13 years after all.  But the question is should I be inviting everyone in that network into my new shiny social networking connections?  The answer from a business and marketing perspective is yes.  Networking is important; it’s crucial.  So from an image perspective the more connections the better.  And it isn’t that I don’t know these people; I do.  I worked with them. 

I just need to get over my personal hang-up of wanting to remain private.  (I know, I know – I blog every day but this blog is part of the strategy of trying to get myself more comfortable with a public Internet presence).  After all, very shortly I hope to the website up and running for the business and then I will be “out there” in a big way.

On the other hand, I do think a slow and steady build-up of connections is the way to go to make the network mean something.  After all there’s no use having 100 connections if actually you only utilise the same 2 connections at any time.  Maybe I should be thinking tortoise here too…

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Why I love Coaching

1. You get to see other people succeeding at their dreams and know you’ve helped them along the way.

I could leave it at that but I was mulling this over with a taxi driver the other day and I firmly believe what I said to him; coaching is a job which puts you into a positive head space. 

You’re talking with people about their innermost dreams and ambitions; seeing them if not achieve those in the timeframe of coaching, make significant progress towards them. 

It has a real feel-good factor.

2. It’s all about the learning

“The learning journey” is probably used as an expression but it’s the core of a coaching experience.  In many ways, it doesn’t matter what the dream is, what the actions taken are, it’s about learning from the experience whether it goes right or it doesn’t go quite as planned.

It makes me view my own experiences in a different light.  “What did I learn?” is rapidly becoming a question I ask myself each day.

3. It’s about celebrating success

Whether minor or major, coaching enables you to see each achievement as an achievement.  But not only that to really focus on giving credit that an achievement has been made.  Too often we don’t recognise that we’ve done a good job, or that sometimes just surviving the day is a good job.  Achievements come in all shapes and sizes and I love that.

Give me an 'R'…

It’s one of those strange things but sometimes I find it’s all too easy to dismiss an achievement as an achievement. I’m a natural pessimist so I do sometimes just jump to the ‘what’s gone wrong’ mode rather than ‘what’s gone right’.

This blog is really helping me focus on the positive because (a) I have to find something to talk about every day and (b) it’s actually a running record of how I’m doing.

The other thing that has really helped me is coaching – both being coached and coaching others.

As a coach, one of the roles I perform is being the personal cheerleader for clients – helping them to recognise their achievements and celebrate them, bolstering their confidence when things aren’t progressing the way they would like them to be. In doing so, I’ve gained the ability to recognise an achievement for an achievement and not just something that anyone can do. Because maybe anyone can do it but the important thing for the client is that they have achieved it.

Being coached has also helped me focus on my own achievements and to see them as achievements. It’s made me realise that I can accomplish a great deal. And in realising I can accomplish perhaps what I’ve in the past deemed small stuff, it’s also made me realise that I can accomplish the big stuff.

OK, so maybe the secret fantasy of wanting to be a fighter jet pilot is never going to come true (I blame Airwolf) but I can arrange an ‘experience day’ and get a ride in a fighter jet (because the reality is that I would hate being in the military – far too much physical exercise – so I only really want the experience), or I can save, and take lessons to fly helicopters if I really want to. And maybe the dream of going into space is “out there” but again, it’s not impossible. I could climb Mount Everest if I really wanted to do it (not that I do, I hasten to add, nor am I ever likely to want to climb any mountain).

Nothing is truly impossible; it’s only impossible because we tell ourselves it is.

More importantly, I’m also not beating myself up about stuff. While yesterday’s blog may seem like evidence to the contrary, actually the blog helped me to put what was after all a minor error into perspective – something else that coaching is very good at doing.

For me, the lesson is really that I need to be my own personal cheerleader, and that it is an absolutely an essential part of being a good coach.

Social Networking

I’ve just spent a good hour wandering around and updating my profiles on the social networking sites I belong to – LinkedIn, Facebook and Friends Reunited (links added to my About Rachel page).

It’s amazing how social networking has taken off in the last couple of years and how many sites there are around the place that you can join to meet up with old colleagues and friends. What is also apparent is the growing importance that many are placing on these sites as a way to advertise business, gain new contacts, keep in touch, etc. And how you can link them all together in an endless circle.

While it seems strange writing this on what is a very public blog (although I think I’m safe in saying that this is being read by very few people), I am a relatively private person so the idea of being quite so visibly ‘out there’ is a weird one for me to get my head around. I’ve spent the last few years on the net using a very nice pseudonym that provides me with the blanket of anonymity.

However having spent years advising new joiners at IBM that the most important thing they could do for their careers was network, I find myself hoist by my own petard, because it is clear that social networking is becoming very important in that arena outside companies as well as within. Hence the time spent on the profiles today.

Although I’m still refusing to twitter. Refusing.  I doubt anyone has any interest in my twittering.