Do you need a communication coach? And what is a communication coach, anyway? Is that like debate prep? Well, no, a communication coach is a sort of life coach/career coach with a special focus. You see, often people work hard or have great ideas, but somehow there’s a problem getting other people to buy in to what they have to offer. And a big reason for that is that you’re not presenting and positioning yourself in a way that allows you to have the impact you want.
On this blog, I have written about some of the communication missteps I’ve made and how I’ve corrected them. More important, though, as a language teacher I’ve found myself time and again helping people who were saying what they wanted to say, but not the right way to get the response they wanted.
One of the biggest issues we run into in communication is how you position yourself. We would like to believe that if we work hard and do a good job, people will notice and appreciate our efforts. And if you toot your own horn, you can come across as self-involved or demanding too much attention. At the same time, if you don’t draw attention to the things you’re getting done, your work will be taken for granted, not celebrated.
If getting yourself recognized is important, it’s also important to get recognition for others who deserve it. By being an advocate for your peers, you can do your part to create an environment where everyone’s contribution is recognized. You can also gain allies in building this kind of culture and take on a leadership role by being the first to act, while giving credit to those who work with you.
There is one other place where I see communication creating a lot of issues with success, and that is being culturally appropriate. Whether you’re working in a different country or even a different part of the U.S., you are going to encounter cultural differences that make the communication style that succeeded where you grew up fizzle where you are now. Developing strategies to understand how you are perceived and how you can change that perception to align with who you are at your best can be the difference between getting a promotion and being deemed difficult to work with or insufficiently proactive.
If you have a feeling that you are doing your best but people just aren’t appreciating it, whether in life or at work, a communication coach can help. Part of it may be you. Part of it may be those other people who don’t get where you’re coming from. But either way, you need to adjust how you work with other people – and with your own internal narrative! – if you want to make a change. A coach who can help you find that new perspective – a new way of winning – and hold you accountable for growing and learning may be just what you need.