In Good Company Blog
Is My Work About Me or You?
I’ve called myself many things: entrepreneur, coach, writer, “expert”, consultant, etc. Titles which are far from descriptive. Here’s what I love to do: Help women move closer to what they want. I’m great at creating roadmaps and helping people think about how to get from A to B. I’m also great at helping people define the work they want to do instead of the work they think they should do. And even though I’m good at this AND I enjoy it, I’ve found it challenging to find the most successful and comfortable way to package and present it. Most of the folks in my industry who have really made a name for themselves are what I call the “gurus”. They are brilliant at creating buzz. drawing people in, and achieving celebrity status. They are also brilliant about commoditizing their knowledge for the masses. But I get queasy thinking about “silver-bullet” guaranteed X#-step programs. And, I hate talking about myself. Like really hate it. I don’t mind talking about myself in a personal context (hello Facebook kid posts) but when it’s part of my work platform, I’m definitely uncomfortable.
I hadn’t fully understood these hang-ups about until I read this article last week, “What Brand Is Your Therapist?”
This article explores the disconnect between the business of traditional psychotherapy and the newer world of coaching. Certainly given what I do, I’m well versed in the skills necessary to build a successful helping practice – for example, a strong niche and a LOT of marketing and content production, both online and off. So while that part of the article was interesting, it wasn’t news for me. But what it really drove home for me for the first time was why I have had such a hard time stepping into the “guru” world.
You see, my traditional psychological counseling training taught me that the practice of therapy was MOSTLY about YOU and a little bit about ME. But in the newer world of coaching, the focus is much different. To be a great guru the focus needs to be MOSTLY on ME, and a little on YOU. And that’s the rub.
I’m uncomfortable putting myself at the center of my business, making myself the brand. After all, my training encouraged me to focus on my client and leave my personal experiences and opinions out of the room. I am supposed to use my emotions and feelings as data but I’m not supposed to encourage my clients to do what I’ve done or preach about what’s worked for me.
I was also not taught to package (or even plan) the process or promise particular outcomes. Each person has their own journey and often the roadblocks are as important as the breakthroughs. I’m always careful to NOT define success in my work or sessions. Instead I work with clients to set their own goals and their own definitions of success.
YET – I admire and learn a lot from the “gurus” I follow. So I know it’s not something I want to reject in total. Far from it.
Like a good therapy session, this article helped to identify not just a roadblock but it’s origin as well. And as such it presents the opportunity to alter my thinking and associations. Now it’s up to me to reconsider what’s important, authentic, and possible. I get to explore how my work can be both about YOU AND ME. How exciting.