Thursday, February 13, 2014

Who are you? Part three.

If you've been following along in this series so far, you know that many counselors, especially new counselors, struggle with SELF-CONFIDENCE. You've also found out that the secret to developing new counselor confidence is marketing. Not advertising, though that can go with it, but marketing. That's because marketing forces you to:

Identify your specific strengths.

Perfect the art of talking about your strengths.

Regularly share your strengths.

Today, let's talk about what that looks like and how you can make it happen in your life. 

First, identify your specific strengths. Remember in the last post when I shared a list of counseling skills I believed I had? This is your turn to do that. In a Facebook comment, one counselor asked if these were the kinds of characteristics one would put in an "about me" page on your website. Absolutely yes! These are the kinds of things people look for when they come to a counselor. And it leads right into my first suggestion when listing your specific strengths, which is:

  • Think about explaining your talents to someone who hasn't ever heard of a counselor before. This makes you look at your strengths a whole new way, and it helps you to explain your skills in layman's terms.

When listing your skills, it's helpful to plan on taking at least 15 minutes of uninterrupted time, and writing freestyle and editing later. If you get stuck, think about:

  • "What am I proud to offer in counseling that maybe other counselors don't have?" Think in terms of personal experiences, counseling skills (confrontation, listening, reflection) and communication styles. 

The second step of this journey is perfecting the art of talking about your strengths. And there is an art to it! The beginning of developing this artistic strength is identifying the skills, which most of us don't do ahead of time. After you do that, you want to practice sharing why they matter:

  • Practice with a loved one or colleague. Pretend they're asking you, "Why would I send a client to you as opposed to this other counselor or no counselor at all?"

Get used to the idea of unashamedly sharing what you have to offer. You're not saying you're good at everything, you're saying what you are good at. Wouldn't you expect your clients to be as proud of their own talents? So lead by example:

  • Watch out for minimizing body posture and words, like saying "sort of," hunching or shrugging your shoulders, or otherwise non-verbally counteracting your words.

Third, regularly share your strengths. Practice makes perfect! Get out there. Here's a phrase I used recently, "I can offer killer talks and articles about preparing emotionally for the transition to college." That was a big step for me! What might be a way you can step out there and share?

  • Offering a "brown-bag" lunch presentation at your local school for parents or teachers.
  • Writing a professional perspective article on a local or current issue. (Why Justin Beiber and every other child star seems to inevitably implode...)
  • Starting a small group at your church, local civic center or community college and enlisting the staff of these places to help spread the word. 

This series, as you can probably tell, has been very personal for me, and it's something near and dear to my heart. So I wanted to do something very unique to close it out. I want to hear from YOU, what questions do you have about marketing your way to self-confidence after reading this series? Post on the blog comments, or email me if you want your name kept private (stephanie AT I will answer as many questions as I can in the next blog post. 

Once again, the question is, "What other questions do you have about marketing yourself to new counselor confidence?" In other words: "Where do you get stuck on this issue?"

Cannot WAIT to hear from you. Comment below or email me! 

Names and identities of counselors responding will be obscured unless otherwise requested.