I was working with a client a few months ago and had a powerful conversation that I wanted to share the essence of with you. Her company was sponsoring her coaching to support her with her readiness for a major career transition and promotion.
She had been making really great progress and she was really quite pleased. The people sponsoring her coaching and making her promotion decision were critically important to her success. She assumed or was hopeful her leaders would see her progress too. In fact, her ultimate promotion was dependent on it.
Our conversation centered around what she could do to ‘help them see’ vs. ‘hope they see.’
While it had been so front and center for her for many months and her progress had been exciting, refreshing and freeing, she realized it hadn’t been the top focus of those who were sponsoring her growth.
She realized she could be doing more to actually demonstrate her new capabilities – to manage up – to influence her brand perception. I like to think of it like the ‘red car syndrome.’ If you look for red cars, you will see red cars. If she spoke about feeling more confident, being more strategic, or leading vs. managing – they would start looking for confirmation of what she was saying. They would start looking for and noticing her ‘red cars.’ Furthermore, if she shared what she was working towards, they would be more inclined to not only notice but also perhaps support and be invested in helping her succeed.
The reverse is also unfortunately true. If she didn’t ‘wash the windows’ of her leaders who had witnessed the behaviors that had been limiting her, they would likely still see the red cars they were used to seeing. They would continue to see the times she didn’t feel confident or was being too tactical even as she was making great progress.
Still, self-promotion is often awkward. There are lots of reasons why many people don’t do this. They feel it is bragging or grandstanding. It feels political and they think they shouldn’t have to do it. Or… they simply don’t know how to promote themselves effectively.
I like to think of it as personal brand management. All great brands manage their brand perception and you can too. We all have a brand and if we don’t manage it, it’s all up to chance.
Here are 5 sure-fire tips to ‘Help Them See’ that will make it easy!
- Share your goals – People love to see self-motivated individuals that take initiative for their own development. Let people know what your aspirations are. Frame them in the positive of what you are working towards vs. the negative of what you’re trying to fix. We get what we focus on and just putting goals out there makes us more likely to attain them.
- Pick their brains – Another ‘red car’ strategy is to find people who are good at what you aspire to do or be. It doesn’t hurt if those people are the people who have a vested interest in your development. Be curious about their path and how they succeeded or developed a skill. Find out what their challenges were and how they overcame them.
- Ask for help – People love to be admired for what they are good at. Don’t see asking for help as a sign of weakness. See it as an opportunity for them to share their success. Be sure to acknowledge why you admire them and why you are asking them for help – just keep it authentic and genuine. Just by asking they will know you are serious about your goal.
- Share your progress – Who doesn’t like to share in others’ success, especially if they had a part in helping you. Tell stories about specific wins and be sure to thank those who help you too.
- Thank your advocates for opportunities – Be grateful for opportunities to grow and share your success in the form of appreciation and humility.
What are you hoping people see or hoping people notice? What are you doing to not only define the personal brand you want people to see but manage your brand perception?
Hope is not a strategy! Help them see.