Newsletter Archive

This newsletter is aimed at providing information and resource links, mainly in the areas of social media and business coaching. Feedback is always welcome. The newsletter has had a few different names: there are no plans for any further name changes!

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January 21, 2011

This issue of my newsletter contains:

  • Information about new Interactive Social Media Webinars
  • A coaching resource – getting or improving clarity about your business vision

New, Interactive Social Media Webinars

social media roadmap monthly webinars image

From various conversations late last year and more recently, I know that there are many business owners and freelance professionals who are interested in using social media for their businesses or careers, but have serious questions and don’t know where to look for reliable answers.

Questions such as “Do I need a Facebook page, a Twitter account, a blog?” “How will I manage it all?” “What are the risks?” “How can we tell whether it will really help our business?” “Could I actually damage my business or career by not being savvy enough about how to use social media?”

It really bothers me that so many people who want to make good use of social media are bamboozled by all the possibilities and frustrated with not finding answers to their questions. If they’ve seen “The Social Network” they could well be even more confused.

Time for my webinar series

So I decided not to let another month slip by without launching my long-promised monthly webinar series on social media. The main aim of the webinars will be to help participants develop social media roadmaps appropriate for their businesses or careers.

In a recent blog post I have gone into some detail about the webinars, with information about potential benefits, as well as about times, date and how to register. The seminars are free.

We kick off early next week, Monday Jan 24 in the US and Canada, Tuesday Jan 25 in Australia and neighbourhood.

Would more notice have been good?

Absolutely. Guilty as charged. But this year I am working on not letting the perfect be the enemy of the good, as the saying goes. Also, the webinars will be recorded and everyone who registers will be able to download them at a time that suits them.


If you have questions about the webinars, just email me at deswalsh(at)gmail(dot)com or give me a call: internationally 61 413 089 355; in Australia 0413 089 355

Coaching Resource: Clarifying Your Business Vision

This is of course the time of the year when there is no shortage of advice, in magazines, in newspapers, online, about resolutions and goals.

That can all be a bit overwhelming, especially if we didn’t actually achieve all our goals from last year.

One way to get through that sense of overwhelm, or perhaps of some frustration about goal-setting, is to take a step back, as it were, and see how clear we are about our business or career vision.

I’m using “vision” in a very practical sense of where we want to be heading and what we want our future to be – in this context the future of our business or career.

brainstorming: got a coach banner A while ago I put together a simple exercise to help with this process. You can download a copy of The Business Clarity (Vision) exercise from this link.

Please let me know if you have any trouble downloading it. And do please send me some feedback and any suggestions for how I could improve the exercise.

Till next time, go well


Des Walsh
Social Media Strategist and Business Coach

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August 3, 2010

This issue of my newsletter contains:

  • a personal tribute to the late Thomas Leonard
  • a link to a short guide for getting set up on the professional networking site, LinkedIn

If you prefer listening to reading, there is an audio version of this issue at this link or you can use the player below:

Thomas Leonard, coach of coaches

This is the story of how one weekend workshop and a two minute conversation with a man of vision, passion and incredible capability, changed my life, opening up wonderful possibilities in the worlds of coaching and blogging, and thence to the world of social media.

The story also illustrates how a thoughtful word of guidance or encouragement at the right time can be more influential than we might realize at the time.

Thomas LeonardLast Saturday, July 31st, was the birthday of that visionary man, a legendary figure in the history of coaching, Thomas Leonard. Sadly, in early 2003 and at the age of only 47, Thomas died suddenly of a heart attack, leaving a lot of very sad people and also an amazing legacy.

Among many achievements, he had founded the International Coach Federation, Coach U, Coachville, and the International Association of Coaching. He was also ahead of his time in terms of marketing and engaging via the Internet.

More fundamentally, Thomas had a profound and lasting influence on many lives, including mine.

Where I came in was just on eight years ago.

In mid 2002, I was at a professional crossroads. I was not enjoying consulting work as much as I had done previously and I was trying various other business ventures but with no satisfactorily lasting results.

Then a colleague suggested I think of becoming a coach. At first I did not respond positively: I had mental images of people at networking events handing me business cards and saying Hi, I’m a life coach! but in subsequent conversation not showing much indication of having a lot of life experience. I did not see that as a role that would fit for me.

So it was with some diffidence and not a little skepticism that I started to look into the possibilities of my becoming a coach.

I decided to dedicate one whole long weekend to an intensive online search for information about coaching, coaching organizations and coaching accreditation. Through that process I discovered that it was possible to become an accredited business or life coach through one of the coach training organizations, as long as you were able and willing to stump up some five thousand dollars or more.

That wasn’t something I had budgeted for.

In the process I discovered Coachville, which as I’ve mentioned was one of the organizations founded by Thomas (he was in fact running it at the time) and I was quite interested that Coachville had waived its basic membership fee for the time being. This was more like it! I joined.

I then found that at the beginning of November that year Thomas Leonard would be holding one of Coachville’s Certified Coach Intensives in Sydney where I was then living, at a very modest cost for two days of $179.

No brainer. I signed up.

It proved to be one of the best investments of time and money I had ever made.

In being trained by Thomas and observing his demonstration coaching exercises over those two days at the Millennium Hotel in Sydney, I realized three things that were now on offer to me:

  • this coaching game was something I could do and enjoy
  • there were skills I could learn/ refine through the Coachville framework and processes
  • there would always be more for me to learn and ways I could grow, personally and professionally

A new challenge, a career, a business to build and a growth path. I liked it!

At the same time, I still had a little hesitation, as I had for a long time nurtured a dream of having an online business. So I wanted to know whether there was some point of connection between this very personal kind of process and online technology.

In one of the breaks and in my only ever conversation with Thomas, lasting all of about 2 minutes, I asked that question.

His response was succinct (a characteristic, as I was to learn): I needed to come to the Coachville conference in San Francisco in May of the next year, where that would be the focus of the event.

Which is how my “charges waived” membership of Coachville turned into an expenditure of a few thousand dollars!

In a short space of time I had signed up for the conference, paid for a trans Pacific airfare and (crucially) bought a lifetime membership in the whole Coachville training package, including membership of the Coachville School of Coaching, the Graduate School of Coaching, the Graduate School of Corporate Coaching and School for Small Business Coaches and various other memberships and benefits.

An investment I have never regretted (and indeed the Coachville package at the time was at a very attractive special offer of $1795).

It was in February 2003, not long before the conference was due to happen, that Thomas died. Many people who knew him and had worked with him were grief-stricken, but the conference nevertheless went ahead and was a great success, certainly for me personally, with a much deeper understanding of coaching and a whole bunch of new friends, colleagues and mentors in the coaching world.

The Graduate School of CoachingThere too the seeds were sown for me to become a founding member of the International Association of Coaching (IAC) and to have the privilege later of helping create the IAC Coaching Masteries and serving for a time on the IAC’s Board of Governors.

The San Francisco conference was also where I discovered blogging, which ultimately led on to my involvement (some might say obsession, and that’s ok) with social media.

Get a coach - badgeSo that is the story of how meeting one man of vision changed my life and indeed gave me greater capacity to have a positive influence on the lives of others.

Vale, Thomas. You are definitely not forgotten and your legacy lives on in myriad ways.

You may know someone for whom coaching could be a new career path (Note: this is not a pitch – more of what we coaches might call “a share”).

From my own experience with Coachville and the IAC, I know that coaching in its many possible manifestations offers career possibilities for people of all ages and backgrounds and with that the opportunity to have a beneficial, even profoundly beneficial effect on others.

Further, through the coaching organizations in particular with which I am associated, the International Association of Coaching (IAC) and Coachville, there are accessible, practical paths to proficiency and mastery.

So if you know anyone who is at a bit of a career crossroads, or worse, a career dead end, maybe coaching is a possibility. I would be only too happy to speak with them and share what I have learned.

Just get them to email me at deswalsh7 (at) gmail (dot) com

Getting Set Up with LinkedIn: Complimentary Guide

View Des Walsh's profile on LinkedInWhile there are millions of members of LinkedIn, I keep meeting people in business who know about LinkedIn although not necessarily how it can help them professionally, and who may or may not have joined LinkedIn but have not really engaged with it or even learned how to maximize its effectiveness for them.

So I have put together a basic, getting started guide for LinkedIn.

To download your copy, just use this link.

Please let me know if you experience any problems in downloading. I would also love to hear from you if you find the guide useful or if you would like to suggest any ways in which it could be modified to be more helpful.

Till next time, go well


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June 2010 Issue

Social Media and Leadership

This issue of the newsletter looks at a new book by leading thinker on social media, Charlene Li.

Open Leadership, by Charlene LiOpen Leadership, subtitled How Social Technology Can Transform the Way You Lead , will I am sure help many business leaders make more sense of the possibilities as well as the risks of social technology/social media.

I am pretty confident that the approach of the book will also be confronting for some whose leadership styles are still essentially “old school”.

Corporate Culture and Styles of leadership

It seems to be accepted among fellow social media practitioners I talk to that when it comes to developing and implementing social technology/ social media strategies, issues of corporate culture are at least as important as technology issues – and in many ways more important.

Inevitably, any serious look at the culture of an organization for the purposes of designing a social strategy will include a look at prevailing styles of leadership and whether those styles are likely to support or inhibit a social strategy.

Charlene Li’s Open Leadership will be a valuable tool for that process and beyond.

I loved and recommended widely Charlene’s previous book, Groundswell, co-authored with Josh Bernoff, and I see this new one as an excellent complement to the earlier one.

Charlene explains that the book has been written, in part at least,in response to feedback she has had about challenges in implementing social media in the enterprise. Not challenges about technologies, but challenges in terms of corporate culture and especially in terms of modes of leadership.

Charlene Li found that people who were energized and empowered by reading (and re-reading and underlining and dog-earing) Groundswell were running into resistance from “curmudgeons” and executives who were fearful of the risk involved in engaging the groundswell.

“Essentially, they realized that their companies didn’t have the right culture and mind-set – and, more important, the right leadership – to engage the groundswell.”

Looking for a new book to support their efforts, these people made it clear to Charlene that they did not want another book on social technologies.

“They wanted something that would explain to their executives how to change and open up their organizations”.

The book has examples, case studies, checklists and action plans, and comes with a companion website with further resources.

The risks are real

I don’t for a minute want to pretend that there are not risks involved in, to use Charlene Li’s terminology, engagement with the groundswell. There are risks and they need to be addressed. Which is why smart organizations have social media policies, protocols and codes of practice.

What Charlene has done with her book, it seems to me, is take the discussion to a – literally – higher level and open up the issue of how organizations are going to have to be led now and in the future, if they are to do well in the new social technology enabled environment.

That’s all for now.

Till next time, go well


Disclaimer: links for books recommended in this newsletter are Amazon Associate links, so I get a small commission if anyone clicks through and buys. The books should also be available at or through any good bookstore.

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January 2010 Issue

Has social media arrived at last?


Thank you for signing up to receive my newsletter. In this issue I share some thoughts about the current state of play in social media and provide links to three really useful books.

There is also a short burst on the new venture, focused on the Boomer generation, which my colleague Bill Vick and I are launching in February.

I guess like everyone who produces a newsletter I want this to be interesting and useful. I will value any feedback you care to give me and if that’s critical please know I can take it. 🙂 Just email me at des (at) socialmediapm dot com

And remember there will always be an easy unsubscribe link and I won’t take it personally.

Has social media arrived and if so how do you tell who the real experts are?

My sense is that sometime in the past six months or so there has been a dramatic shift around the term “social media”.

Less often now, I believe do people look at me strangely, quizzically when I say “social media”. And no wonder.

There seems to be a plethora of conferences, seminars, webinars, breakfast presentations and other events on one or other aspect of social media.And not just in the USA. Next week there are parallel conferences on social media in Hong Kong and Singapore. In April several stars of the social media firmament will be speaking at a conference in Sydney.

I think it is fair to say that social media has arrived.

And, as is probably inevitable at such a time, more and more people seem to be emerging from previous social media obscurity, wearing without any evident self-consciousness a “social media expert” or “social media guru” label. Some of my colleagues who have been working in this field for a while are a bit miffed about this phenomenon. I’m more philosophical about it.

And speaking personally, it is not false modesty but a recognition of how much is happening and how much I don’t know that I eschew the “expert” and “guru” tags and describe myself as a strategist in this field.

No doubt some people will be taken in by some of the new instant experts who have done a one day course on how to be a social media expert. But without a regulatory framework, which for me would be using a sledgehammer to crack a nut, I think we just have to leave it to the market to sort out who the more competent people are.

It would also help for business people and others who manage organisations, in government and in the not-for-profit sector, to become sufficiently “social media literate” to be able to ask good questions and better able to sort the flimflam folks from those who have the knowledge and experience to be truly helpful.

For anyone you know who is feeling a bit mystified by it all and is interested in getting a grasp of what is happening in social media and what that means for business, there are three books I recommend wholeheartedly (see my the blog post Three Excellent Books on Social Media ) – Paul Chaney’s The Digital Handshake, Gary Vaynerchuk’s Crushit! and Shel Israel’s Twitterville.

Boomers Next Step

As many readers of this newsletter will know, Dallas, Texas based executive headhunter, entrepreneur, coach and author Bill Vick and I have co-authored a couple of works, the LinkedIn for Recruiting book and the Big Biller audiobook. One of my favourite social media stories is that we have done all this without ever having met virtually, thanks especially to the Internet “phone and video” service Skype.

Well, this February Bill and I are formally launching a project we have been quietly putting together, Boomers Next Step, to help Boomers who, whether by choice or in response to circumstances such as the GFC, are looking at what their next step is to be – a new phase in their career, a whole new career, or maybe establishing their own business. You can listen to us talking about the project on the recent episode of my Des Walsh dot Com show on BlogTalkRadio.

As a preview of what we will be focusing on with the Boomers Next Step project, Bill has done a stack of short video interviews which he has uploaded to the site.

By the way, on his site, Bill has a great interview with Gary Vaynerchuk, on social media and why it matters, which was done before Gary published the Crushit! book.

That’s all for now.

Till next time, go well


Des Walsh
Business Coach and Social Media Strategist

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