For the last few weeks, I have been busy planning. You should see my study walls filled sticky whiteboard paper with my ideas of what I can ‘package up’ and start to sell. It’s been a creative and stimulating time as I let my ideas get ahead of me but at the same time, it’s also been enlightening. I’ve had my assumptions challenged (this is good).
- Where I believed that people were using social tools already and doubted what could offer over and above what they already know was…wrong.
- Where I believed that I knew who my client market was…wrong.
- Where I believed that my own Learning and Development colleagues would understand what social learning was about was….wrong.
So what was right?
Well, lucky I turned off my LinkedIn notifications otherwise you would have been receiving continual notifications of me changing my title as I struggle to find a name to call myself.
I was right about trying to find a name that encapsulates how I can help others (using my own experience) navigate through this social media quagmire to build their own networks so that they can become better at what it is they do.
- Am I a Learning and Development Consultant…? (but still have constant requests to design facilitator-led or online learning asychronous courses only)
- Am I a Social Learning Consultant…? (but no one knows what this means anyway)
- Am I Learning Strategy Futurist…? (but everyone wants to know what it is that you actually “do”?)
- Change Agent…? (but everyone is thinking of some shifty cartoon character in a trench coat and hat)
I’ve had a few instances this week where people asked me what my job was. In a social setting at pubs and restaurants, you know that awkward silence after they’ve just talked about their recent organisational restructure and corporate downsizing, they turn to you and ask, “so what do you do?”
If I say any of the above, I’m immediately met with their eyes glazing over quickly followed up with a, “Oh really, what’s that?”
So I’ve decided I need to have “HARD” and “BOLD” words to describe my role.
Words of ACTION.
Words of OUTCOMES. RESULTS. PERFORMANCE.
“Consultant” is too passive.
“Social Learning Whatever” makes them go back to looking at their glass of beer.
I believe the difficulty comes down to the fact that over the many years that one is in the workforce, you pick up many skills and experiences. What you deliver may be different to various audiences and clients.
You can be the consultant one day, the developer the next, the change agent throughout.
However, what has been a positive and enlightening realisation is that my background in learning and development has served me well to be in a position where I can put a program together in whatever format.
So really I can be whatever I want to be depending on the work and the client but as I go back to my original post “What’s Your Niche” where I deliberate what it is that I do, it keeps coming back to the point that I “want to help people learn to use tools that will help them in their work” – so really, what does that make me?
I’m a coach.
A coach is an advisor, a consultant, a developer, a designer, an agent of your change.
It’s a positive word.
It’s bold. It’s of action. Outcomes. Results. Performance.
It’s inspiring but also humble.
It creates positive and upbeat feelings towards your work and your role with others.
You can make it out to be whatever you want and in any context.
Most of all, it’s understood by everyone.
Just one word.
All this thinking and reflection, angst, tossing and turning in bed and it’s come to this… a word that has described me all along and I just couldn’t see it.
Lacey Raper – photo from www.unsplash.com