Embracing Change: 8 Steps to Redefining Your Reputation

by Claudia Beck, CPCC, MCC

After spending three decades in the fast-paced corporate world, I transitioned into executive coaching. For 30 years in that high-pressure environment, I had carefully cultivated a reputation as a driven, results-oriented leader who could propel initiatives across the finish line. While I achieved success, I realized I had focused too much on achieving results and lost touch with the person I am most proud of – someone who creates trust and connection with others.

The shift was challenging. As rewarding as the coaching path has been, I’ve had to work intentionally at reshaping how others view me now – moving away from that intense corporate identity to being seen as someone invested in their growth through trust and connection. Whether it was lingering misconceptions from my laser-focused corporate days or just making space for this new stage letting my true self shine, the process of redefining my reputation has been essential.

If you’ve gone through a career transition or felt pigeonholed by others’ limited impressions of you, you know how frustrating it can be to feel like you’re living in someone else’s outdated version of yourself. However, reshaping how colleagues, clients, or even friends see you is an achievable goal with the right mindset and approach. In this blog post, I’ll detail eight actionable steps you can implement to begin reshaping your image and crafting a reputation that authentically mirrors your current self.

Embracing Change: 8 Steps to Redefining Your Reputation

1. Acknowledge the Past

The first step in changing others’ perceptions is to acknowledge that their views are based on previous experiences or interactions with you. It’s important to understand that their reality may differ from your own perspective, and to accept that you have the power to shape how they perceive you moving forward. By recognizing the influence of past behaviors or situations, you can take ownership of the current circumstances and begin proactively working towards positive change.

2. Define Your Desired Reputation

To effectively shift others’ perceptions of you, it’s essential to have a clear vision of how you want to be perceived. Take time for self-reflection and consider the qualities and characteristics you want to embody professionally. For me in my coaching role, I wanted to be seen as someone who could help others increase their influence, impact, self-awareness and transform their leadership style.  Do you aspire to be seen as a reliable team player, a trusted advisor, an innovative thought leader? Or perhaps like me, you want to cultivate a reputation for facilitating personal and professional growth. Once you’ve defined your desired reputation, you can begin identifying the specific behaviors and actions that will help you consistently demonstrate those qualities.

3. Demonstrate Consistent Behavior

Changing perceptions requires more than just words—it requires consistent action over time. Start by consciously exhibiting the behaviors that align with your desired reputation. Whether it’s being punctual for meetings, delivering on your promises, or actively listening to others, make a concerted effort to integrate these behaviors into your daily routine. Remember, reputations are built gradually through a series of actions that reinforce one another. Consistency is key to building trust and credibility with your colleagues and clients.

4. Seek Feedback

Feedback is a valuable tool for personal and professional growth, and it can provide insightful perspectives on how your efforts to change perceptions are being received by others. Regularly seek feedback from peers, superiors, or mentors about your progress. This not only demonstrates your commitment to growth but also helps you understand how your actions are being interpreted. Be open to constructive criticism and view it as an opportunity to refine your approach further.

5. Communicate Your Intentions

Transparency is crucial when it comes to changing perceptions. Let your colleagues, clients, and professional networks know that you are actively working on embodying certain qualities or aspects of your new role. For me, I wanted to be known as someone who cultivated self-awareness and transformed leadership styles through coaching. Through conversations, emails or network updates, communicate your commitment to professional growth. Invite feedback on how well you’re living up to the expressed qualities. This openness keeps others invested in your development journey.

6. Be Patient and Persistent

Changing deeply-rooted perceptions takes time, and it’s important to be patient with yourself and others throughout the process. Don’t expect overnight results; instead, focus on consistently demonstrating the behaviors that align with your desired reputation. Stay committed to your goals and trust that, over time, perceptions will begin to shift positively. Remember, true growth and change happen gradually, not instantaneously.

7. Follow Up

To maintain momentum and reinforce your commitment to change, periodically check in with your colleagues or associates to solicit feedback and assess your progress. This shows that you are invested in the process and value their input. Keep the lines of communication open and be receptive to any feedback or suggestions they may have. By actively seeking input from others, you demonstrate your willingness to learn and grow continuously.

8. Handle Setbacks Gracefully

Change is rarely a linear process, and setbacks are to be expected along the way. If you find yourself reverting to old behaviors or facing obstacles, don’t be discouraged. Instead, acknowledge the setback, learn from it, and use it as an opportunity to readjust your approach. Show that you are human but committed to your personal and professional growth journey. By handling setbacks gracefully, you demonstrate resilience and determination, which can ultimately strengthen others’ confidence in your ability to change.

Conclusion

Redefining your reputation after a major career shift requires significant effort but allows you to fully embrace your authentic self. By acknowledging your past, defining your desired reputation, demonstrating consistent behavior, seeking feedback, communicating transparently, remaining persistent, following up, and handling setbacks gracefully, you will gradually reshape how others view you.

The work is challenging yet rewarding. Each time someone experiences the real you, it reinforces your transformation and frees you from limiting assumptions. Ultimately, this intentional reputational journey empowers you to thrive in your new role, cultivate desired impact, and experience profound fulfillment as your truest professional self.

Elevate your Leadership Potential

To learn more about building culture and executive coaching, reach out to Claudia for a consultation.