Seriously, Kids? Color Coaching?

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“Before you open your mouth, the colors you wear communicate a message about you.”

So begins a description of “color coaching,” a method that claims to reveal to a client what the person is telling others about themselves by the colors they choose to wear.

Is that coaching? Or it is a dress-to-success sales gimmick?

The folks at the UK coaching school Noble Manhattan say it’s coaching—not as serious as other ways of engaging a client, but coaching nonetheless:

“An exciting, new initiative in the coaching world, designed to bring you personal and financial rewards,” reads a Noble Manhattan course description. “Colour Coaching is a fun, practical, creative and transformational process, empowering both you and your clients to look and feel fantastic all of the time.”
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The CoachReporter Podcast, Episode 1: Coach and Author Elle Allison

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I’m a huge fan of podcasts, and love listening to them while walking around town or walking the dogs.  As a longtime local television news reporter, being able to talk about a subject for longer than twelve seconds is absolutely liberating.  So a chance to talk to coaches about their work, and about how coaching might help journalists who could use some guidance in these bizarre, disturbing days, seemed like a no-brainer.

I hope you’ll sign up on iTunes and throw me in your iPod.  And if you have guests in mind who’d help all of us think our way through these rough waters, send them my way in comments below, or email me. (And you know I also love engaging on Twitter!)

ClarkKentPodcast
http://coachreporter.podbean.com/2009/08/07/coachreporter-interview-elle-allison

AllisonWebPhoto
In our first podcast, I talk with coach and author Elle Allison, whose book, Renewal Coaching, may be a good read for journalists wondering where there careers should go in the next few years. She and her co-author Doug Reeves talk about coaching as a gateway to figuring out not just the next best career move, but rather, the thing that will make positive change in your life and the world–the greater good. A lot of journalists, myself included, walked away from the daily news grind thinking a lot about what would make me happy, not just what kind of job I could find.

Elle Allison helps people answer questions like that.

Back to Basics: Your Professional Bio

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Part of what I hope we can build here is a place to come for help, whether it’s finding a coach, finding a mentor, or finding a great idea.

Sometimes, that’ll mean connecting you with someone else to talk it through, or perhaps to begin a formal coaching relationship (and we hope to find ways to do that, even if you’ve lost your journalism job and can’t afford to hire a coach).

Other times, we just want to share information.

Coach Barbra Sundquist

Coach Barbra Sundquist

In that vein, Coach Barbra Sundquist has kindly joined the conversation with the first of two posts on a really important subject for journalists: what do we do with our resumes? Well, Barbra argues, that’s the wrong question. You need a professional bio. It tells the story of your career to your advantage, and helps shift the focus from what may, on the face of it, look like you’re a relic from a dead industry trying to find work in the future (which, for many of us, is exactly how we feel when our job titles look so dated, and we have zero digital or online experience).

So meet the Bio Coach.

Your Professional Bio: How to Decide What to Include

Probably the hardest part of writing a professional bio is deciding what to put in and what to leave out.  After all, a bio is supposed to be short. But most of us have done lots of different things in our work careers. How do you decide what to focus on?

There’s a simple answer: focus on what’s going to be most relevant and impressive to your target reader.
You see, a bio is not a resume. You don’t have to list everything you’ve ever done. Just focus on the parts that are going to “sell” you to your reader.

For example, when I wrote my bio for www.HowToWriteBio.com I focused on my technical writing and business coaching background – which is the information that shows that I know what I’m talking about when it comes to writing professional bios.

Because that’s what you want to know about me in this context, right? You don’t really care that over the past 30 years I have also been a waitress, private eye, bank teller, piano teacher, landscaper, university instructor, management consultant and business coach (and yes, I have been all those things!)

I left out all those things and just focused on what would “sell” me to people thinking about purchasing one of my bio templates. This is what I came up with for my professional bio for my bio template website:

Barbra Sundquist is an experienced technical writer and business coach with a gift for taking complex info and making it clear. Over the past 20 years, Barbra has interviewed over 2500 people in a wide range of jobs to create their job profiles. She brings this broad knowledge of different jobs to her work as a bio template writer.

As you can see, I don’t mention all my previous jobs. I don’t even mention that I have a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s degree in public administration. What I do include is the information that is relevant to my audience:

1) technical writer with 20 years experience (this lets the reader know that I am an expert writer with many years experience)

2) business coach (assures the reader that I understand business and what’s required for a good professional bio)

3) interviewed over 2500 people in a wide range of jobs (again, lets the reader know that I have lots of experience doing this exact thing)

My bio is targeted towards people who are on my how to write a bio website. They’re reading my bio because they’re trying to decide whether or not I sound like someone they would be willing to buy a bio template from. So I make sure to include only the information that answers that question for them. And I don’t distract them with other information.

A bio is a little advertisement for you. So think about who will be reading your bio and what you want them to know about you. Then advertise your best and most relevant features!

About the author: Barbra Sundquist helps people communicate much more quickly and effectively on a broad range of subjects. Two of her most popular websites are www.HowToWriteBio.com and www.WriteAFuneralSpeech.com.

[Editor’s Note:  Anybody who wants to make the obvious “funeral speech” and dying journalism connection comment?  Go ahead.  Take your best shot in comments and we’ll pick a winner.  Prize?  Not sure yet.]

Curious About Coaching? 10 Books Coaches Recommend.

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Coaches take all kinds of approaches and provide unique and varying services.  There’s a lot out there.  If you’re the kind of journalist who likes to dive into a book before diving into something new, here’s a look at 10 books that coaches have recommended to their fellow coaches as excellent reads on the subject of helping people work through a job loss, or reach for a goal.

All of this is what we’ll be talking about here, and, for those who want it, helping you get it.

Together, We Can Get Through Anything.

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cronkite-395The passing of Walter Cronkite got me thinking. Not just about the man, and his amazing ability to make a nation feel safe even in the most terrifying moments.

But I also got to thinking about how a man like Walter Cronkite ultimately led me into television.  I grew up watching Uncle Walter, and I remember vividly watching his last newscast.

It was bittersweet to watch clips of Cronkite at work–it hit me deep in that reporter place that respects absolute command of the medium, but it also made me long for a time when television seemed to have a limitless future and the course of history could quite literally pivot on the words of one man.

That’s changed.  And in the process, many people like myself who were drawn to this line of work by men like Cronkite and Jennings and Kuralt have now found themselves out of the business, wondering how to find a way back in.

Since I started writing my blog at localnewser, I’ve heard from so many people–some friends, some who I’ve never met–all asking, essentially the same question:  any ideas where I go from here?  Any leads on who might be hiring?  Not having good answers to those questions–and spending a lot of time recently talking to career coaches through my work at the Coaching Commons, I thought:  we can do this together.

As a group, we’re a pretty damn smart and determined bunch.  We hardly bat an eye when the police offer a ride-along late on a Saturday night, and we have no fear asking tough questions to powerful people.  Together, we can help guide each other through these scary times, or as one coach put it to me this week, we can help one another get across the gap.

How, exactly?  I’m not sure.  Maybe we can get enough reporters, writers, producers, coaches, students and mentors together to create a network–feel unsure about social media?  We’ll connect you with a coach or a reporter or web guru who can work with you on that.  Out of work and paralyzed by financial fear? We’ll connect you to a career coach for guidance.  Maybe some people will pay for coaching. For those who can’t, maybe we’ll find a way to coach each other or share coaching and mentoring ideas in this forum.

I’m opening this site to ideas.  Let’s think about how we can pool our brains–and our hearts–and help each other.  Not just to get across the gap from bad times to good, but also to really do some good work looking at ourselves, deciding what it is we truly want to do with our lives, and how to get there.

Already, some journalists, freelancers, and coaches have come forward to say they’d like to be a part of this.  Let’s find a way to make it happen.

Together, we can get through anything.