If you’ve ever met someone at work and envied their self-assurance, Rachel Maunder has good news – it is possible to learn how to become a more confident, effective version of yourself to help transform from being good to great.
A qualified coach and counsellor, Rachel is also becoming increasingly well-known and in demand in the personal and professional development industry as a speaker and trainer. Her ideal target audience is women in the corporate sector, particularly in law and finance, where women in management are still a minority.
She said: “Your professional brand can be defined as ‘what people will say about you when you’re not in the room’. Both in my training and individual work, the first step is to help my clients identify and map out the brand they want to represent and communicate. We then move on to professional brand audit to ascertain which areas are already sound and which might benefit from some development.
“By becoming more self-aware, you can really focus on what you need to do to develop your professional brand, so that you’re more likely to attract promotion, more clients, or whatever the next level of success means to you. In turn, this helps the company address their gender imbalance in management roles. Professional women with a stronger professional brand are more likely to be happier, more productive, and more likely to be confident and ready for a leadership role.”
Rachel has distilled this into nine distinct self-improvement elements that are the essentials for a leader to think about and will enable people to identify their current brand and go on to create their future brand.
- Values – ask yourself, how clear are you on your core values, why are they important to you and how well do your customers experience these values from their involvement with you?
- Physical and emotional wellbeing – Aches/pains/injuries? Quality of sleep and exercise? Self-esteem? How well do you deal with disappointment, change, or loss?
- Ownership of skills and strengths – Do you know what your strengths are and are you comfortable to own and admit them? Do you know your areas for development or delegation?
- Image, style and body language – Do you take time to plan your outfit, hair; how you hold yourself and engage with colleagues? Are you comfortable giving eye contact?
- Personality – Do you know your business personality type and how it manifests through your behaviour, ultimately having an impact in your business world? What changes could you make?
- Professionalism and leadership – How good is your timekeeping and organisational skills? To what extent do you allow your emotions to affect your dealings with other professionals?
- Presentation skills – Have you ever given a 10 to 15-minute presentation, or longer? Do you find it challenging to order your thoughts when writing your presentation?
- Your written word – How competent and comfortable are you with written communication? What does your current style say about you?
- Interpersonal communication – How effective do you feel your conversations with your clients and colleagues are? Do you treat all your business contacts with similar respect? How good are you at letting another person finish speaking before having your say?
Rachel added: “By investing in training your staff in this area, businesses tend to notice that their whole ethos improves thanks to more motivated and engaged colleagues, plus employees who more clearly represent the company values.”
Speaking, training and generally inspiring people to take small steps towards positive change in their lives have been common threads throughout Rachel’s career.
Rachel has a background in the public sector when she worked with juvenile offenders and has lived abroad in Thailand where she wrote and delivered personal development workshops for other expat wives and mothers. She was more recently, a Regional Director with The Athena Network, when she was immersed in helping women develop themselves in order to develop their businesses.
In 2018 she stepped away from this role to focus on helping other women to develop their own professional brands and is well-known for her own style, warmth and enthusiasm as well as for her drive to keep learning, growing and taking action.
It wasn’t always this way though. The mother-of-two started out on her own personal leadership journey when she was 30 and has had to work hard on becoming the person she wanted to be.
She said: “I woke up one morning unable to get out of bed or get myself to work. I had bought my first flat, had a job I enjoyed and a social life I enjoyed even more. I was rarely ill or missed days from work but on that day, I felt emotionally exhausted – but didn’t know why. It seemed I had lost touch with the essence of who I was, and this had all come about from a growing sense throughout my whole life that it wasn’t OK to be me. I had come to believe that I wasn’t enough and almost that there was something shameful about being me.
“So it was soon after that day that my journey to rediscover who I was, as well as the more challenging task of accepting who I am, began in earnest.
“I’m finally starting to own the difference I can make in the world which is to inspire other women in particular, to empower them to become the best they can be, to find the self-belief and resilience to keep pushing themselves forward towards the top of their game.”
Chantal Cornelius, a marketing consultant who has taken part in a mini workshop with Rachel adds: “Rachel is the essence of professional brand and what she does– her image, style and body language are all congruent with the message she puts across through her professionalism and presentation skills. Her style is warm and friendly, while still being thoroughly professional and inspiring.
“Rachel has developed a very clever tool that breaks professional brand into nine distinct elements, including resilience, voice and networking skills.
“She explains all of this very clearly, showing us how to work out which elements we need to improve on. Highly recommended if you’re looking to develop or improve your professional brand and get ahead in business.”
Kizzi Nkwocha is the editor of Business Game Changer Magazine and publisher of The UK Newspaper, Money and Finance Magazine, the net’s fastest growing wealth creation publication. Kizzi Nkwocha is chair of The Ethical Publishers Association and co-chair of The Logistics Association. Kizzi made his mark in the UK as a publicist, journalist and social media pioneer. As a widely respected and successful media consultant he has represented a diverse range of clients including the King of Uganda, and Amnesty International. Nkwocha has also become a well-known personality on both radio and television. He has been the focus of a Channel 4 documentary on publicity and has hosted his own talk show, London Line, on Sky TV. He has also produced and presented both radio and TV shows in Cyprus and Spain.