Recap of my experience coaching the 2019 Sustainable Solutions Africa Cohort

I received an invitation from the WeForGood Team in August to coach the cohort of the 2019 Sustainable Solutions Africa Project and also faciliate a Masterclass on Personal Branding. After moderating a PanelDiscussion at the Sustainable Solutions Africa Conference in July, I had a good idea of the mission and vision of WeForGood which is run by Mrs Temitayo Ade-Peters. Saying no to this invitation was not an option. I was actually excited to be part of the journey of these 30 young innovators as they worked towards making a difference not just in Nigeria but also in Africa using their business ideas.

For two months, I interacted with the cohort virtually through Zoom during the two Masterclasses I had the privilege of faciliating. The first was on Personal Branding. If you’ve been following my blog posts this year, you know I have been spreading the message of being intentional about your personal brand. Knowing the overall goal of the SSA Project, I was able to guide these amazing individuals on their journey and show them how to effectively leverage the power of personal branding and storytelling to achieve sustainable impact. We talked about a lot of things, from creating a brand story to using social media properly and understanding effective positioning. In fact, I was bombarded with many questions at the end of the Masterclass that we had to organize a second one.

Our second Masterclass was on Content Development and Writing. One question I always get when I consult on personal branding and communications is this – How do I write and create content? Somehow, content creation and writing is a big hurdle for a lot of people but as I always say, it is not as difficult as people make it out to be. I’m glad I was able to successfully simplify the writing and content creation process for the cohort, showing them that they have what it takes to create good content. Of course, I gave them tools and useful tips to help them achieve this.

After interacting with them online, I finally got to meet most of the cohort at the Wrap-Up event where I served as a judge. I listened to many great pitches and I got to ask questions about their ideas/ businesses and provide further tips to help them achieve the goals they had previously outlined. The judging session was interesting on many levels. Aside from the fact that all the participants present received a hefty gift from the MD of IHS, the session reinforced why we cannot afford to put communications at the back burner. There were people with great ideas but their pitch was watered down due to lack of confidence. Some just couldn’t tell their brand story in a way that was convicing while others couldn’t effectively capture their passion and vision in their pitch.

I was pleasantly surprised when it was revealed that one of the participants who was known to be very shy took all the things I taught during the Masterclass and used them to improve herself. It showed in her pitch. Her delivery was not only on point, you could tell she had spent effort in finetuning and communicating her brand story. I was so happy when she ended up as part of the top three!

Needless to say, being a Coach on this project was a fulfulling experience and here are my three key takeaways:

  1. Be prepared. Every day is another day to pitch yourself, your brand, your value. How prepared are you?
  2. Show up. You never know which opportuntity will be the one that will change your life.
  3. Don’t take it for granted – you need to learn how to communicate. Whether it’s in writing or speaking to one person or a group of people, how you communicate your passion and idea is critical. Thankfully, it’s something that you can learn and it is worth learning.

Special thanks to Mrs Ade-Peters and the Team at WeForGood for giving me an opportuntity to be part of the SSA Project as a Coach. I look forward hearing and reading about the great strides the cohort will make.

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