Everyone Needs a Coach

VUCA

“Every leader needs a coach. Every leader needs to coach,” says Sue Pahl. Sue is a friend, mentor, and the CEO of Shift Coaching. She advocates that “Great leaders aren’t born. They’re coached.”

Coaching is integral to performance management. We need coaching, feedback, guidance, and accountability to achieve our full potential. You need it. I need it. Our teams need it.

The reason for this is disruption — or the trendier acronym, VUCA, short for volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity. The rules keep changing, and we need better ways to cope. If you rely solely on your gut and the data, you can get led astray very quickly.

I can see the issues of VUCA with the marketing of my new book, Brand New Name. The playbook I used five years ago to launch Sticky Branding is running out of steam.

In 2015 I launched Sticky Branding as a #1 Globe and Mail Bestseller. The launch was so successful that we sold out the entire publisher’s inventory within four hours of the book’s release. That was an impressive milestone, but I was beside myself. I had my marketing engine firing on all cylinders, but no inventory. It took the publisher another twenty-one agonizing days to replenish the stock and get us back on track.

When we started the launch activities for Brand New Name we built our book marketing strategy based on the successes of the first book. What we discovered very quickly is the game has changed.

(It’s too early to go into the data of the book launch yet. I will share more on what we learned later in the fall.)

What we are seeing is the realities of a rapidly changing digital marketing landscape:

  • Engagement happens in the feed. In 2015, articles and emails won the day. In 2019, people are consuming their content in their social media feeds. And don’t expect them to click on your links.
  • Turn up the volume. In 2015, posting weekly was a good pace, and posting daily was annoying. In 2019, posting less than daily, especially on Instagram and Twitter, is a good way to be forgotten.
  • Strong calls to action. In 2015, people would be offended if you were too pushy with your marketing. In 2019, you don’t stand a chance of generating leads if you don’t present clear calls to action. If you don’t ask, you don’t get.
  • Pay to play. In 2015, good content could translate into leads. In 2019, it doesn’t matter the network, you’ve gotta pay to play.

Working within a changing marketing climate is stressful and frustrating. You can try a lot of things, and not see results (at least immediately).

The way I am managing this changing landscape is by being humble, agile, and aggressive. We’re tracking the data, avoiding old assumptions, and working to find the right mix for us. We can’t let any of these changes hold us back. We’ve got books to sell.

This is the journey that you and I are both on. To grow your brand today (and to create marketing that moves the sales needle) requires a different playbook — one that requires new strategies and tactics, and a different mindset.

One of the best ways to overcome a VUCA world is through coaching. At Sticky Branding, this is a big part of my practice. I provide Brand Coaching to entrepreneurs, leaders, marketers, and business owners. We think of the program like “strategic thinking partners” — we’re in it together, working together to achieve an outcome.

Working with a business coach — whether it’s me or someone else — helps you to rise above the uncertainty to take a fresh look and approach to your business. You know things have and are changing. The question is who do you need on your team, especially coaching and mentoring you, to achieve your objectives?

What do you think?