Personal Brand – are you owning your story?

by | May 22, 2020 | News

Personal Brand is a term many of you will be familiar with, yet it can be so overused that it’s almost become a cliché and can be often misunderstood.  It isn’t a badge we slap on before a meeting, it’s a full on body suit that we’ve hand knitted ourselves out of our unique life experiences – and we wear it every day.

Living in lockdown and coping with the pandemic is universally experienced but individually lived.  As an Executive Coach, I work with clients internationally and am coaching people across the globe through job losses and job uncertainties as well as promotions into newly formed roles.  In this world which has turned upside down, change seems to be our only constant.  

However we all emerge out of this crisis, understanding who we are and being able to tell our story will be key in shifting towards a new normal.  Never before have we been so eager to let cameras into our homes, never before has being authentic mattered so much and never before has your brand seemed quite so relevant.   During the years I’ve been coaching, it doesn’t matter what challenge my clients have been facing – Personal Brand has been a vital part of their tool kit in moving forward.  

‘Life itself is your career and your interaction with life is your most meaningful relationship’ 

Michael Singer

One of the most enjoyable and privileged parts of my job is working closely with clients, listening to the rich tapestry of their lives and using a range of techniques to reveal how their life experiences have shaped their behaviour, thoughts and attitudes.  I help clients to understand their story, connect it to the present, frame it and own it. In doing so, they permanently step into their own power.  If you think of someone you have admired – chances are they are genuine, truly comfortable with themselves and passionate about their subject.  These are the people who know their Personal Brand and own their story.

This is illustrated by a session with a client who was head of a division for a global organisation.  As a young boy he had grown up in an ex-pat community overseas and made friends with people from all over the world.  He had to learn how to communicate in nuances, how to negotiate cross-culturally in the playground and how to understand people.  Now working at board level internationally, he recognised that his international roots were part of his brand and this was why he was so good at getting everyone across the board table working together.   

My own Personal Brand has been shaped dramatically by my own childhood.  At the age of 10 I was working every Saturday in the family business and this is where my strong work ethic comes from (thanks Dad).  Insatiably curious about life, culture and people, I went on to travel and live abroad as soon as I could.   I now appreciate that living overseas is why I love working with international clients and connect so easily with them.

Your brain is hardwired for story telling

Neuroscientists tell us our brains are hardwired for story telling – ramping up neural activity fivefold in the presence of a good story.  By owning your story and articulating it through your daily interactions, you make it possible for others to connect meaningfully with you and increase your own personal impact.

Your Personal Brand

Here are a few things you can start thinking about today to help you identify your Personal Brand and own your story:

  • Think about your unique personal history. How has it contributed towards who you are?
  • In your role what gives you the greatest sense of pride, achievement and drive? i.e when you feel like you are ‘in flow’
  • If you were telling your life/career as a story what would be the main plots so far?

These are just some of the areas I explore with clients when establishing their Personal Brand to reveal their true essence.

‘Very rarely do you get a chance to really consider your own brand. This was a great opportunity to really understand my own DNA!’

Tom Cartledge, CEO Handley House Group

This is the second in a series of three articles written by Executive Coach Yvette Jeal PCC (www.yvettejeal.co.uk) to support the ‘Keep Britain Working’ campaign. Click here to access other articles and join Yvette and James Reed in a free webinar at 12pm on 10th June, where they will be discussing useful tips and ideas for getting back into the workplace. Register here to join

Yvette Jeal PCC is an ICF Certified Executive Coach with 20 years’ corporate experience. In addition to executive coaching, Yvette runs bespoke career transition programmes to help people get back in to work. She works with C-Suite, Board Level Executives, Directors and emerging leaders in the UK and internationally. Her diverse client base includes major organisations in tech, fintech, finance, banking, aviation, engineering, healthcare, legal sector

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