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Coaching Rising Women

(by Simone Lawrence)

As far as professional women are concerned, my work as an executive coach working with both genders has revealed that women often have unique roadblocks they need to overcome to move higher in their careers. As a senior executive in my earlier career,  it wasn’t until I worked with my own executive coach during a leadership development program that I realized coaching was what I really wanted to do. I was that go-to person at work for career and professional development discussions with staff from across the organization, yet I was not aware this was a strength. Coaching helped me gain that clarity and upskill to formally help people progress with their leadership behaviors and career progression. Call me a late bloomer; I discovered my true calling after 40 and have not looked back.

It is common to put efforts towards being glued to our day-to-day tasks to deliver high quality in our jobs without looking into the future of what we truly want for ourselves and our careers.

With the recent rise of relational leadership and new levels of caring and connection required from leaders, we see the world stand up and notice the different qualities that female leaders can bring to the table. Empathy, warmth, sensitivity, and taking the time to understand their people, to name a few that are prominent in female leaders.

Setting the scene for many more women to move into positions of influence in the coming decades as responsible organizations move towards embracing this kind of leadership. The system is slowly changing for women in workplaces. For women to be fully equipped to rise, a reflective look into their own ways of working and habits that have served their career success to date can reveal some fundamental roadblocks that can get in the way of further success.

Learning about yourself needs scaffolding

Enter Sally Helgesen, bestselling Author and women in leadership expert whose experience spans 30 years, wrote a bestselling book How Women Rise. I read it when starting as a coach and fell in love with the practical principles within. I could see so clearly my own habits, strengths, and weaknesses within the pages. Later, I started recommending How Women Rise as a resource when coaching female leaders. I noticed how it hit the spot each time when women of all levels and job roles found themselves within the pages. This provided a basis for enlightening coaching conversations, which helped expand their self-awareness and design new actions to take them forward. Powerful stuff that helped women shift their perspective fast!

These female leaders would remark that we really need everyone to know about this. Asking, “how can we help all women in the organization benefit from this knowledge?” Sally Helgesen herself described to me in a conversation we had in Dubai about organizations who had worked with her wanting a workshop to ensure that the learning of How Women Rise would benefit many and become a resource of power to ignite behavioral change in female leaders.

The How Women Rise framework is now an online leadership program where coaches and organizations worldwide can become certified to scale the impact of Sally’s great work to reach as far as possible. Bringing new awareness to redundant behaviors that need to become well and truly a thing of the past. You can learn more about the HWR leadership program here.

Extra complexity, extra scaffolding

The typical habits that hold women back in their careers are prominent even in the most senior and successful leaders. Things like the impact of being a perfectionist on both the leader and the people they lead, or the leader being a people pleaser, working to keep an always harmonious environment and avoiding courageous conversations, often at the expense of their own satisfaction or someone who has a vast network and neglects to ask for any favors in service of their own career advancement. Understanding yourself as a leader is complex; when you add to that complexity, the additional navigation required for a minority leadership to rise, understanding yourself as a leader becomes even more complex.

This is where the new online How Women Rise Leadership Program combined with an individual coaching program can supercharge female leaders to become aware of what needs to change to focus on what is most important for their future.

Rippling towards the future

HWR leadership program creates more inclusive organizations by equipping them with a common language that supports and benefits women. When the program is combined with a personalized 1:1 coaching program to support women through the sustainable behavioral transformation required to rise, the sky is the limit. Sowing the seeds for thousands of women across the globe to rise, with thousands more to follow them. I can hear the ripples, can you?

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