Anna Soo Wildermuth

Welcome to Personal Images, Inc.!

Here I'll give you up to date tips on developing your personal and professional image to ensure your first impression will be your best impression. Also I will blog about current image and communication blunders. Feel free to join the discussion by leaving comments, and stay updated by subscribing to the RSS feed. Thanks for visiting my blog. – Anna

Change One Thing is a superb book that gives excellent advice to help jumpstart your engine." Stephen R. Covey, author, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

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Archive: Coaching

Why is presence so important?

targetOften, I observe technically competent folks with reasonable communications skills rise up the ladder pretty quickly and then hit a wall. The C-Suite does not see them as the face of the organization. This usually is first impressions garnered on connecting with an audience. It is the way they carry themselves meaning posture, pace and how they look any audience in its collective eye.

Also, it’s putting together clothing choices, grooming and the key ingredient of style and confidently navigating situations. They can be cut some slack if it is noticed that confidence and communication skills promote steadiness. Can some develop the critical factor of presence to move into the C suite?  Yes, with the right coach, mentors and champions, the C-Suite is a possibility!

Inclusive not intrusive leaders

Thumbs upSuccessful leaders are always inclusive in their interactions whether is it just acknowledging with a hello in a casual encounter or making introductions in a meeting. They are inclusive in providing feedback. Even in difficult situations, any intrusive or destructive behavior is avoided.

This reminds me of an incident on a major project for more than 1,000 retail service centers. The vendor of choice missed the deadline for delivering the products. The CEO called a meeting with the leaders of the vendor organization. He stated in quiet voice how much he valued their relationship…however if the product was not delivered within 30 days he would cancel the order and go with a new vendor.

He did not yell, question their professionalism or go thru the cost of damages. Nor was he in their face on how bad the situation was. Instead he was all about moving forward.

Successful leaders learn from failing

A key laying on a piece of paper with the word "leadership" on it.

Many leaders that are afraid of failing, end up failing by not taking risks. They play it safe by choosing the path of least resistance for success. The leaders willing to be creative and explore options not guaranteed to win end up winning. They know that failure is a learned event on the path to more successful wins.

Alternative truth/facts

ElephangRecently the news has featured constant dialog about the phrase alternative truth / facts. In my work, I have noticed that some clients struggle to face hard facts like not missing deadlines, poor work performance and grasping real truths. I think these people are headed for career growth disappointment. Until they can truly be honest with themselves by letting go of the spin, they will lack the credibility and respect of their peers and peers are who senior leaders look to for validating promotions. Unfortunately, fact deniers may end up without a role in any organization.

What’s your action plan for 2017?

targetMany times a client or someone from the audience in a workshop will tell me that they have heard a comment about themselves before.  I wonder why they have not taken action on the issue.

It is usually a few things- they don’t believe it or they will get to it sometime which leads to my request to take action in 2017. Go back to the coaching request and begin to develop an action plan on the issue…not a resolution but a plan.

For example, sleeves on a jacket are too long, creating a sloppy look. The plan? Take all of your jackets to the tailor for alternations. Be proactive. Take action. Altering sleeves sounds easy enough but it still can turn into a perceived time strain. Book the time and the place. Once you accomplish one task, you will be energized to do more.

Pick a skill you would like to strengthen in the New Year using a coach

coach-imagesThe New Year is approaching and professional and personal growth occurs when we select a new experience. The challenge is what do you want to accomplish, how will it benefit you and how will you do it?

In my classes, I ask participants to write down a skill they would like to strengthen and ask them to partner with someone in the class. They establish a timetable with this partner and periodically check on the status of progress toward the goal with him / her.

In my experience, having a partner or coach holding you accountable helps move the process along. I have personal trainer I meet twice a week. He is very good at making sure the exercises are done properly. He also holds me accountable to workout. If he did not, I probably would not exercise because business and personal needs always seem to intrude!

Asking someone to hold me accountable keeps me on track which is good for my physical and mental well-being. Would I exercise on my own?  Probably not. As I go into year two, I found that having a coach is critical to achieve my goal of staying healthy.

Getting help is a sign of smart person

coaching 2I have been having issues with my Mac Air since updating the operating system. At a recent session, while I tried to determine why my logins were not working, the Apple associate helping me was new. He tried several options and they did not work. Instead of trying more options he went to his boss and they thought I should go back to the technical person I use.

He could tell this bothered me so he went to another associate and asked him to lend a hand. Sure enough, this other associate solved the problem for me! What I found amazing is that this young associate was willing to go the extra mile to help me out. He did not just quit. He also learned from the more seasoned person how to fix my problem. A win-win if there ever was one!

Graceful conversations

Key to LeadershipIn the US, the presidential elections have thrown conversations and accusations down the rabbit hole where actual issues get more personal than policy driven. It seems that in our politics today, honesty is clouded. Name calling then becomes the narrative.

In the workplace, sometimes actual issues are skirted around to avoid offending others. The worst thing that can occur is when real issues never get resolved. The elephant in the room gets larger and looms over not what is said, but what is inferred. It is important to dialog honestly without resorting to gutter-speak.

This lesson can be applied to my role. When coaching clients who have not been told or have not truly heard the critical issues holding them back, it is important to get to the heart of the subject. My job is to ask questions that help the client realize what it takes to be successful. For that to occur, they must be honest with themselves. That allows for graceful conversations.

Keep on learning

26447en_USI_QuestionMark“Figure Out the Things You Don’t Know” came out of a recent interview with Drew Houston, the CEO of Dropbox. That resonated with me because I am in the process of completing a course that teaches a coaching approach that ensures the client will always walk away with a solution to an issue.

The course is a six-month program for 2.5 hours a week. The main purpose for me was to start working toward a master certification with ICF (International Coaching Federation). Going in, I thought if I also learned something new, that would be terrific. However, since I have been coaching clients for more than 20 years, my expectations were low.

How wrong I was! The new learnings have been instrumental in helping me help my clients succeed. I had been so busy with work I fell behind in taking new courses which I used to take at the rate of at least six programs a year. This was an eye opening experience. My recommendation is take a course or program to further your professional or personal life. It just might enrich you!

A professional listener

earJoe Lacob, the majority owner of the Golden State Warriors, has worked in venture capital for three decades. This season, Lacob’s sixth as majority owner, the Warriors are on pace to break the league record of 72 wins in a season (which is just 82 games long). I’m a professional listener,” he told me. “There are a lot of smart people in the world, you know. I’m not the smartest. I’m just an integrator.” We can all learn from Joe Lacob.