Think about what and how you buy in your business and personal life.

Whether it's household products or enterprise software services, what ultimately determines why you buy from one company rather than another? It's their brand's image and reputation along with the relationships you have with them. A brand is simply the collective intent of the people behind it, a brand defines who you are and what you stand for as a business to everyone the business touches, from employees to end consumers. If you want great business results, you and your brand have to stand for something compelling. And that's where brand ideals enter the equation.

Human beings like to believe that we are more objective and dispassionate in our choices than we really are. In reality, as academic research in cognitive neuroscience has now established, our decisions and choices are decisively influenced by emotional and instinctive reactions that we often aren't consciously aware of. This is "the power of thinking without thinking," as Malcolm Gladwell describes subconscious mental processes in his bestseller Blink.

Within the market research world, a race is on to acquire the knowledge and tools to go inside "the black box" of customers' minds at this subconscious level. Your brand and its competitors "activate" in people---thoughts and feelings they may be unable to articulate. Some brands, like Google and IBM, have obvious life-improving ideals. Google exists to immediately satisfy every curiosity, IBM to help build a smarter planet.

"Coached to Success" books and coaching tips exist to heighten self-discovery for better work/life integration. For example, the background for our career women books evolved from working with a succession of female coaching clients. We realized that women do not automatically experience the same professional issues that men routinely face. Instead, they struggle to be all things to all people— and along the way they neglect themselves and their own priorities. What we discovered serves as the backbone for these books, and for the solutions, strategies, and essential tools. Our goal is to help women make their lives easier, richer, happier, and saner.

There are four profound findings that are the foundation of the book "Grow:"

1. Brand ideals drive the performance of the highest growth businesses.

2. The brand ideals of the highest growth businesses center in one of five areas, or fields, of fundamental human values.

3. The highest growth businesses are run by business artists, leaders whose primary medium is brand ideals.

4. Business artists excel in similar practices that constitute an operating system for generating and sustaining high growth.

The bottom line: Leveraging ideals of improving people's lives is driving the performance of the world's fastest-growing businesses.

Sources: Jim Stengel: Grow: How Ideals Power Growth and Profit at the World's Greatest Companies

Malcolm Gladwell: blink
The power of thinking without thinking.

John G. Agno: Women and Time

Author's Bio: 

John G. Agno is a seasoned corporate executive, entrepreneur and management consultant who today coaches senior executives and business owners to reach decision-making clarity by exploring unintended consequences of their future actions in a safe and confidential environment. John helps you see things you are missing, affirms whatever progress you have made, tests your perceptions and lets you know how you are doing. His developmental coaching is personal training that helps you focus your natural abilities in the right direction. The coaching allows your inner-potential to erupt outward through effective leadership; to develop commitment within organizations and in a world of "free agents" and "volunteer" talent.

Coaching is a powerful tool and one that should be used to help guide, direct and nourish people to become better performers. In today's environment of changing technology and evolving organizations, coaching can have a strategic impact. It provides continuous learning and develops people to meet current and future needs. Coaching is an investment that you make in developing your key resource, people, for the long-term benefit of the organization.

So what is professional coaching and how does it differ from consulting? Download and listen to this MP3 recording of a recent interview of Coach Agno for the answer to that question: