As I ventured into the world of leadership coaching, it wasn’t hard to determine my target audience – and which group of leaders I wanted to work with in my practice. I relate strongly to this group, as this was me at one point. Is this you? Is this someone you know or work with in your organization?
Here is my story.
I spent many years of my career as the head of Human Resources for divisions or a country in multi-national companies. When I became a member of an executive team within a business, I must say that I was a little intimidated by the great minds in the room. I had a place at the table as the HR leader…and this was extremely important to my role. In one organization, that executive team was made up of individuals in the Investment business, and the functional leads (IT and Finance) working with them.
For a long time I stayed quiet. I listened carefully and absorbed a lot of information. I picked up a lot about the business and had ideas to contribute, and questions to ask. I still stayed quiet. Why? Well, I felt that these great minds in the room knew more than I did, and what would I be able to say that these individuals didn’t already know.
After participating in a 360-degree feedback assessment, one of the raters made the comment that he knew I had ideas in my head, but I wasn’t actively contributing. I was too quiet. As this rater was one of my bosses, I had a discussion with him about this. He asked me if I ever thought of the things just before someone else voiced it at the meeting. Yes…of course I did. “Well”, he said, “why not give it a shot and speak up about what is on your mind?”
After giving this some thought, I took small steps to start contributing more, and not just about my particular function. I didn’t get strange stares, nobody laughed, and it felt great. Still, it took me quite a while before I had the confidence to contribute on a more regular basis. Looking back, I wish I had spent time with a coach to help me through this!
Can you guess what group of leaders I enjoy working with? While I know men have the same challenges at times, my passion is working with women leaders who want to find their voice at the executive table. Whether you’re newly promoted, or you’ve been in your role for some time, if this is you, let’s chat about how I can help you find your voice!