If I was to ask you “What are the 3 greatest strengths that you bring to the workplace” what would your answer be? Go on, have a think…..
For me, it’s the ability to inspire people, a positive attitude, and the energy that I bring to all I do. But if you had asked me that question a few years ago, I would have really struggled to know what to say.
Many of us find it hard to recognise and then articulate our strengths. Perhaps we don’t see them as strengths as they are just things that we find easy. Or perhaps we haven’t sat down and distilled down what it is that sets us apart from others at work; what are the areas where we add real value.
In addition to the general training programmes that we run for our clients, we have a fairly strong female narrative running through our business. We have worked on female initiatives and programmes with clients ranging from international law firms, via large corporates such as BT, through to female sports coaches. And what is fascinating for us is how strong the link is between issues women might have in the corporate world, and issues they might have in the world of coaching. In both ‘worlds’ there is a huge focus at the moment on barriers to progression.
For both sectors, entry barriers have been for the large part removed, and opportunities are there for all. So what is it that’s stopping women progressing through the ranks as they should be, and fulfilling their potential? Well, each sector, and within that each specific area (ie within the business world - commerce, professional services, entrepreneurs etc) has its own challenges and issues. But a common factor, which comes up time and again, not just in research but in our own experiences straddling the different industries, is confidence. Of the women themselves.
So that’s the challenge. How do we then support people in solving it? We find that the most effective starting point to begin to grow and increase that confidence is our ‘know your strengths’ piece. You can’t build someone’s confidence by just telling them to be confident, or telling them that they are great. They need to have a sufficient level of self-awareness and understanding to be able to appreciate what their strengths are, and how they can leverage those to become truly excellent at what they do. Independent research carried out across a selection of corporates has shown that women tend to fall down in three areas: the ability to recognise their strengths; the ability to articulate their strengths; and building good, strong networks. On this last point, women often think that an ability to do a job well is enough to get you recognised and promoted appropriately. However, it is vital to build supportive networks, not just because it can enhance your chances of progression and promotion, but because it can have a significant impact on your development.
The other area that we find is key for women across the sectors is in terms of mindset. Specifically how concepts such as growth mindset, stretch zone, and resilience, can help women to relish challenges and development opportunities, and learn from situations where things go wrong. A better understanding of these, and tools and techniques to apply and embed them, can make a huge difference to how women drive and perceive their development.
There is a huge focus at the moment in sport on growing the numbers of female coaches, and helping them to develop and ‘stick at’ their coaching. So we are delighted to be launching our Programme, designed specifically at female coaches, Embedding Confidence in Your Coaching. As part of the roll-out of this course we will be running a 1-day Conference on 6th September at the National Badminton Centre in Milton Keynes, in conjunction with the Female Coaching Network. Please do get in touch to find out more by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
For those in business who would like to find out more about our female specific programmes (where we also offer the chance to hear the inspirational thoughts on world class female athletes) please get in touch to find our more by emailing email@example.com