Author Anne Dickson in her best-seller “Women at Work” describes how in her research for the book, women at middle or senior management “…often feel lonely, unconfident and are working excessively hard to compensate for self-perceived inadequacy”.
Women also have a much higher tendency than their male counterparts to ask of themselves ‘do I wish to be liked, or do I wish to be acknowledged for doing a great job?’ I wonder if most men would even both asking the same question?
This got me thinking really hard as a professional coach and mentor as some of my clients are facing challenges in their senior roles, typically:
- Developing the skills to say ‘no’ positively.
- Being able to manage anger, and stress – maybe from a career disappointment.
- Learning and utilising the routes to personal and professional authority more effectively.
- Being able to handle conflict effectively with reputation intact.
- Identifying and managing the conflict between personal values and beliefs, and organisational values and cultures.
- Developing assertive behaviours without worrying about being labelled aggressive.
- Learning to become an effective communicator and influencer in meetings.
Career success isn’t just about how great we are in our strategic thinking or our ability to manage company operations, it’s also about developing our own individual ‘internal selves’, especially: a) an empathetic awareness of how the world looks and feels like from others’ perspectives, and b) our own internal levels of resilience, confidence and skills in coping with complexity.
Being able to handle all of the above can greatly improve a woman’s career success, and having access to the right support systems can make a huge difference to your expected career / business outcomes.
A great coach-mentor should be able to help you:
- Review your ‘visibility / profile’ and develop strategies to improve your access to networks, ‘informal’ circles and structures of influence, including for example the benefits of playing a key role in leading innovative or ‘transformation’ projects and programmes.
- Help you get robust feedback to enable you to honestly address your own performance, help you acknowledge and build on your strengths and encourage you to push beyond your present ‘comfort zones’.
- Support you to develop coping strategies if you find yourself working in a ‘negative’ culture, whilst at the same time overcoming any self-limiting beliefs with practical tips on communication, influencing, negotiation, speaking up, and authoritative body language.
- Address any work-balance issues, including coping with long hours / presenteeism and saying ‘no’ appropriately.
- Help you develop the skills necessary to build great teams, and how to prioritise and delegate more effectively.
- Support your on-going self-awareness and self-knowledge in terms of managing unhelpful emotional responses and behaviours, developing more resourceful beliefs and values, and facilitating strategies for alignment where possible with your working environment.
“I love having my own ‘SELFISH, SAFE, SPECIAL, SPACE’ with someone who honestly challenges me but who also wholeheartedly supports my endeavours.”
A precious resource indeed.