If I am forced to sum up what I do in three words I will say ‘boost women’s confidence‘.
I actually do a myriad of things, from courses, coaching, seminars, and writing but the leitmotif of all my work is giving women the confidence to fulfil their potential. To be all that they can be, whether that is about career progression or giving it all up and growing vegetables!
I was really interested therefore, to read of a survey undertaken by the Institute of Leadership and Management, Ambition & Gender. They spoke to 3,000 managers to find out what drives career ambition and to explore the barriers preventing women’s progression into senior management and leadership positions.
Among their findings was the fact that women are less confident of their abilities than men. Over half of the women admitted to feelings of self doubt compared with 31% of men.
I don’t know why this might be but suspect a lot of it is to do with our attitudes to getting more women into senior positions. The tendency is to ‘fix’ women to behave more like men and not value as highly that which women bring to the workplace. In coaching, I often find women berating themselves for not being more ambitious or ruthless, yet closer questioning reveals it’s much more about the compromises required to get there, rather than ability to do the job. As Penny de Valk, ILM’s chief executive says, the research highlights some of the complex dynamics of what is, in many cases, still a male-centric work culture.
Coaching Promotes Women’s Confidence
Penny went on to say that it is crucial that employers who are serious about gender diversity take steps to find ways to nuture women’s ambitions.
“This means developing transparent talent management systems and introducing leadership career models and development approaches that flex to meet individuals’ differing needs. Coaching and mentoring, in particular, have an invaluable role to play. We know that gender diversity drives organisations’ financial performance. Business leaders should need no encouragement to ensure their most talented employees move into leadership roles, regardless of their gender”
I have a whole series of career tips for women but perhaps my best single tip is to remember that the internal messages we give ourselves are hugely powerful. They can boost or diminish our confidence. If you are carrying round in your head some negative internal spam, identify them, then neutralise them, then replace them with something positive and inspiring!
And if you’d like to find out more about working with me, please do contact me for an informal discussion.
Posted on February 28th, 2011 by Jane