The Coaching Connection

5 Steps to Creating Your Coaching Brand

5 Steps to Creating Your Coaching BrandHow would you brand yourself?

The Swoosh is Nike’s most apparent branding. It seems to be everywhere and represents the quality and class that Nike wants to portray.

Nike SwooshAt all the events I traveled to this summer, the swoosh was embedded in every piece of branding: within the logo of every event, in the pictures, in the gym setup, in the gym entrances and even on the hotel doors. These are all created with the purpose of reinforcing and enhancing the Nike name and image.

Say the word “Nike” aloud. Does the subliminal swoosh immediately come to mind?

When someone says your name, what comes to their mind? Do you know? How are you currently being branded? What is the image you portray?

Is it the image that you want to project?

Your brand is being reinforced every day as you coach and teach, as a parent, as a grandparent, as a friend and in many other ways. Others will always brand you, but good coaches and teachers know that it’s better to brand yourself. They have a philosophy that they follow to help them brand themselves.

Here’s how they do it.

5 simple steps to your coaching brand

How can you package the brand that is you? It is actually about defining yourself and your philosophy and then living the life you envision. How can you get started with this? Here are 5 steps that you can take today:

1. Smile

This is your best gift.

2. Introductions

Introduce yourself to the kind of people who will improve your branding image. I don’t mean always trying to rub elbows with influential people. And I don’t mean brown-nosing. I mean that you’ve got to know what your goals are and find the people who share your goals.

3. Have a pen. A pencil, computer or tablet is also acceptable.

Wherever you go, whatever you do, take lots of notes. Not only will you remember more, but the other person or people will feel more important. Listen and learn constantly.

4. Two thoughts about business cards

(a) What brand image would you want to have on your business cards? You  might ask your children or grandkids. They’d be pretty clear about it: “always funny” or “is fun to be with” or “good hugger”. Or would it be “never here” or “too busy”?

(b) When you get someone’s business card, write a note on the back so that you’ll always remember who they are, how you met and some unique detail about them.

5. Conversation

Within 30 seconds of meeting someone, say something encouraging. Within 2 minutes of meeting someone, use their name twice.

So there you have it. Five little things that are really big: Smile. Introductions. A pen. Business cards. Conversation. We can all do that.

The three A’s of your branding success.

Brand yourself as a helper, a lifter, a lover of people by giving the three A’s to every single person:

  1. Attention

  2. Affirmation

  3. Appreciation

Be sure to tell all those who are close to you that you love them — on a regular basis. You may not see the branding outwardly, like on cattle. But it will be there, branded on your heart.

Everyone wants to be loved, respected and appreciated.

Wouldn’t it be great to be branded as a lover? How about being branded as someone who cares? Or as someone who is always on standby to help?

Remember, if you help others, you will get all the help you need. But a word of warning: this is not a quid pro quo. Giving is an end in itself. The ‘getting’ comes in more subtle ways —  through the pure satisfaction of helping make things better for another human being, for example.

My own branding plan includes making the real head coach’s life better. I start each day by asking her, “How can I help you? How can I make this day better for you?”

It’s hard to ask people if we could brand a note on their foreheads, but the best message you could deliver to their heart is, “How can I help you feel important”?

Who has influenced your branding image?

Somewhere along the way it probably included a coach or teacher.

A lot of people influenced my personal branding image. Here are just a few:

  • My high school coach Bob Tucker. He branded the message, “When you study, really study. When you play, play hard”. The message hangs in my office 50 years later.
  • My college coach Ed Sherman said, “Be on time and respect every opponent”. Those who know me know that I’m branded with that statement.
  • My grad school professor for my College Principles course, Delbert Oberteuffer, who told me to be the kind of teacher-coach that he would want for his grandchildren. Powerful motivation branded on my heart.
  • My friend, mentor and former boss at Nike, George Raveling. He always asks, “What can I do for you”? He often addresses me by saying, “I appreciate you, man”. His latest message was, “The Book — When”? I know that he cares. Being a friend is part of my brand.

We all have a wonderful opportunity to influence the people around us and to allow them to influence us. How will you be branded? Share your thoughts in the “Leave a Reply” comments below (scroll down).

How can I help you? (enclosed within a heart)


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Photo: © alswart –

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4 Responses to 5 Steps to Creating Your Coaching Brand

  1. Mark Sevedge August 6, 2013 at 10:44 pm #

    Great thoughts and ideas on how to brand yourself as a coach/teacher. It has given me much to think about on how I should be going about my everyday life. It truly is about helping others and not doing it just to get something in return.
    Thank you.

    • Jim August 31, 2013 at 4:54 pm #


      Glad you enjoyed this article. Thanks for your reply. Everything we do reflects directly on us – the good and the bad. In coaching, you have to be on guard to make sure you’re doing good things; the bad will come easily enough. Our most important motivations over the long haul are intrinsic: – I do it because I love to do it. For example, I help people because I love to help people, or, I’m going to study coaching because I really love it and want to learn it. If I’m going to be branded as a motivator, I want to be branded as an intrinsic motivator. Have a wonderful season.

  2. Brooks Berry August 7, 2013 at 9:51 pm #

    Thanks so much Coach……Bursonized again and I always learn something. I need to do a better job with the pen and paper…note taking.

    Hope you are having a wonderful August! Enjoying that back porch.

    • Jim August 31, 2013 at 4:53 pm #

      Again, thanks for responding to this post. I know you’re the type of young man who wants to become better in everything you do. You’ve already branded yourself to become the best. What a wonderful thing. I hope you brand yourself in your new job as well as you’ve done in the past. Have a great day. And, yes, we’re enjoying the back porch – best scenery anywhere.

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