if you ask a woman outright if she has any issues to deal with that are exclusive to being a woman, almost 99% of them would (initially) say noRead Now
Statistics, research and measures all show that having women on the board or in leadership teams improve the profits of a company by up to 80%. Quite frankly, hire a woman and your ROI is a given.
In addition to the numbers that count, legislation to create gender parity supports the reduction of the gender pay gap, the right to request flexible working and anti-discrimination on the grounds of gender. This is all great and necessary as we are a long way from creating an equal society and work place, and I have a whole other blog primed for why and how we better achieve that through company values and culture, but, right now, I want to address what women can do directly to influence this shift.
I deal with lots of people and many of them women, and if you ask a woman outright if she has any issues to deal with that are exclusive to being a woman, almost 99% of them would (initially) say no. But once I start to explore their story, their obstacles and their desires, it becomes apparent that being a woman makes for a very different workplace and life experience. The language and infrastructure of business, the social norms in the boardroom, the out of office culture is starting to shift a bit, but is still an exclusively male domain. Young women can adapt and fit into this world, there is a sense of dynamism attached to it, a competitive nature that Gen X/Z can exploit and explore but, as our life outside of work starts to influence our priorities, it becomes a situation of ‘if you’re not in, then you’re out’. This change can come as quite a shock to the twenty-something females as they progress in their career, I’ve seen it a lot.
Much of the latent discrimination faced by woman is their capacity or potential to have children, this is irrelevant as to whether they actually want children, or have a partner who choses to be the lead parent – the point is, if you are a biological oven, then your promotion and recruitment is considered differently. Fact. I have spoken to leaders in small and large organisations, mainly men, sometimes women, and in all countries, and they have the view that somehow a woman is going to be less committed to work because they are (or might become) a mum. Which of course, is bollocks.
A person’s desire to work hard and contribute to an organisation, is in the hands of that organisation – the values and the culture it breeds – and that’s not just about making sure they follow the line of the law, but about making every employee understand their contribution and support them to deliver it. This is not influenced by whether they have a terrible illness, dependent parents, children or an alcoholic partner because we all have our fair share of personal responsibilities, but how the organisation works for its people.
Women, on the other hand, you could acknowledge that it IS different being a woman, and sometimes it’s harder, BUT those challenges can only be overcome if you identify them first. Having the ability to say this stuff out load and talking it through in a safe place is one of the most rewarding experiences my female clients enjoy. Together we wade through the emotional and angry verbal vomit, have a bit of a laugh (and maybe a cry), consider what is from within and what is from without and then start to align some strategies and practical plans that we can implement to start making some change. This could be dealing with our own areas for development, and/or developing techniques to influence change in others. We track the progress and flex the style and techniques according to the situation. Sometimes these things are major and sometimes they are minor, but Women Coaching is about identifying and acknowledging the differences and making them work, because being different to a man is not about being less than a man.
Mind have today published some extensive research into Workplace Wellbeing and it's findings have been reported all over the national media. It's big news for business and among other things, the report highlights how taking a proactive, preventative approach to supporting the mental health of staff is a crucial element of an effective workplace wellbeing strategy.
Listen up. Time off work and issues with work/life balance can quickly lead to stress and burnout, which may lead to sickness absence. Ignoring this has lead to a reported £33-£42 billion burning a hole in the collective pocket of business, proving that investing in supporting mental health at work can only be good for business and productivity. If they did, the latest companies evaluation of workplace interventions show a return to business of £1.50-£9 for every £1 invested.
Here are some key facts pulled out of the report:
Here's a link to the full report.
It's seems obvious, doesn't it, that it's better to act or deal with problems immediately. If you wait and deal with them later, things will get worse and problems will take longer to deal with and costs begin to spiral. And this is where Coaching is both King and Queen. Coaching will fit nicely into any possible wellness plan as a proactive way of supporting an employee by putting in these early intervention mechanisms to not only keep them well but also productive at work. What more would employers want? With skills of listening, questioning and building trusting relationships that are common to counselling, mentoring and therapy, coaching too promotes awareness, responsibility and self-belief. The significant difference with coaching however is, whilst making use of counselling skills, it is less focused on the past and more focused on goal or role-related achievements, optimising success and fulfilling potential. Typically the process involves a conversational style of probing, listening, pausing and giving the person space and time to reflect, be mindful and stay well-connected to the present. It's the conflict between a person's desires, beliefs and core values that often results in stress leading to under-performance and dissatisfaction at work and Coaching addresses all this by reframing mindsets, helping to shift perspectives and challenge world views to support and stimulate a new normal. It's not only incredibly empowering but a jewel in the crown of preventative mental health. Employers would be missing a big trick to not have Coaching as an integral part of their employee tool kit.
I mean, not the friendliest of welcomes, for sure.
‘Who are you? What do you want?’
In fact, usually the exact, sardonic, ‘welcome’ my Mum gives to anyone calling the landline after 6pm. Especially at 6pm (Eggheads is on see). But aside to the aggressive technique of cooling off cold callers, these 2 questions actually open up a huge chapter in our coaching repertoire. That of Identity.
One glorious morning Teresa and I were strolling through Clapham Common brainstorming how best we could describe what it is that we do. You’d have thought we would have cracked it by now, but the concept of coaching can at times be so broad that it in fact its ambiguity becomes a barrier to some.
Through this chat came ideas, our shared experiences, lots of words and one or two mint teas. One of the words that kept coming up and stuck with us was identity. We realised what a foundation stone this was to all of coaching, both in and out of the professional space.
Identity Coaching ...was born. We decided it was a thing. Your thing.
Ultimately, the big Who Am I? question. By working towards an authentic answer to this question, answers to many of the other big questions will evolve. (What do I want? What do I think? What will I do? How do I progress? etc.).
Not sure about you, but right now the world seems to be in a rather challenging period. Global political, environmental and financial catastrophes seem to demonstrate that we are becoming increasingly disconnected from who we really are, the community around us and the very earth we live on. Add to that a huge pinch of technological dependency that seems to have created an expectation for Insta ambition and success. And a shaving of narcissism that is making us more selfie aware than self-aware. All in all, a hot (mess) pot that is bubbling over.
But the Guerrillas believe that we have gone to such a collective state of disconnection that it has set our inbuilt alarm cocks ringing, and it’s waking a lot of people up.
People are starting to open their eyes to the opportunity for change and transformation. Increasing numbers of people are asking us what really matters, and reevaluating their life’s direction. We feel, this awakening has led to a growing need for Identity Coaching.
Thanks to resident Guerrilla Barry for kicking us off with our first blog. Amongst all the Coaching and People Development we do, we're taking on Identity Coaching as our personal crusade. It'll all make sense when you've read the blog but in a nutshell ... why not live the life you deserve to live? Be the person you are? Everybody else is taken.