I was recently leading a project that has a very successful outcome in a very short timeframe. A colleague complemented me on it.
I said, “It wasn’t just me, I couldn’t have done it without all of help and cooperation I received from the team and the stakeholders too”.
He responded that it is so common for women to deflect a complement and give others the credit and not themselves.
I said “I didn’t!” (bit indignant), followed by “I think it’s important for leaders to acknowledge the input and impact of others on the success of ventures they lead. I strive to do that and always will!”
He said “But you are doing it at your own expense. A man would not have done that. . A man would have said… thanks and acknowledged the part he played in the projects success as well.” He’s right.
Hmm. I took a deep breath and said “Ok. Reword: my project was successful because I am good at project management and bringing a great team with me and inspiring them to join me in the work, which they did brilliantly. I also have great relationship building skills and people trust me. This means I have a broad network and as long as I believe in the project it is easy for me to influence ‘buy in’ “.
He said “Thats better”
I said “Oh wow, thank you”. Light bulb moment as they say.
And I am a coach who works with women. Who should know better than I, the impact of language, self talk and how you present yourself and your talents to others. And how that impacts on success.
This has taught me, that even though I know the theory of empowerment and the right language and attitude, it is not always easy to implement it. Easier to fall back on the long ago learned feminine default of self depreciation.
To counter this and stop it in its tracks, I think it is important that we notice and reflect upon what we say about ourselves and how we say it. It’s also a good idea to seek feedback from those we trust about how we are perceived by others when we speak about ourselves and our accomplishments as a colleague and as a leader.
Adjust language and behaviour accordingly. Repeat.
I am still not comfortable with the word change and I am working on that with a ‘fake it till you make it’ approach. I cannot unlearn this lesson though. And so I give it to you.
What will you do with it?
I am happy to chat if you need any help with that. Mail me to book a time on firstname.lastname@example.org
Strengths Finder Assessment and Feedback
Doing Strengths Finder coaching has enabled me to see how I can make the most of my natural abilities. The test itself outlined 5 particular strengths but it was the coaching that meant I now know how to actually utilise this information. It is going to help me a great deal when it comes to my academic life and in particular how I can study in the most effective way. The coaching helps access the key to knowing your strengths and Deb has helped me devise a plan of how I can move forward with these skills. Her work with me has been vital to the Strengths Finder process and I would absolutely recommend the coaching as vital to finding your strengths.
Family Harmony Workshop for Parents
The course gave a great framework to build a more harmonious family - I find it difficult to explain to my teens why I don't like their behaviour but with this toolkit I am able to articulate this easily and less emotionally, resulting in better communication and a less charged atmosphere. Thanks Deb for the lifeline
Team Building Facilitation and Coaching
As a new Manager to a newly formed team of eight staff, I engaged Deb to facilitate our first team planning day. The objective of the day was to identify a shared vision and to start a process of strategic planning for the next three years. The day was a great success and set the team up with greater clarity of purpose and a framework for future planning.
Deb demonstrated a great understanding of the team, its context and challenges. This was due to her careful and thorough planning and reflections prior to the day. Deb managed the varying levels of engagement among the team exceptionally well; she did this with the establishment of clear ground rules and a sense of trust and respect. Deb listened actively and regularly questioned for greater clarity before reflecting on the team’s contributions.
We ended the day with a clear vision that was shared and in which all members felt they had an investment. Deb followed up regularly after the session to check in on progress and to provide advice about next steps. We were extremely lucky to have been able to work with Deb at this important stage of the team’s development and I would not hesitate for a moment in engaging Deb again.
Angela Hehir, (Manager)
Business Leadership Coaching
Debra's help in getting me to focus on the strategic direction of my business and my work-life priorities has proven invaluable. She has the ability to ask simple questions to create greater clarity and focus in both work and personal goals. Debra is a great listener, follows up on her clients and creates a great support base for her clients through recommending network groups, courses and reading material. For those who want a leadership coach that goes that extra mile,
I highly recommend her.
Yvette Audet, Sport & Recreation Management Services
360 degree feedback and Mentoring
Debra provided feedback on my 360 leader/manger profile. I have taken this style of development tool on two prior occasions and found the feedback underwhelming. This time I found that Debra has an empathetic and approachable feedback style. Previously I have felt very much that I was being placed in a stereotypical box.
I liked Debra,s approach and understood more that the outcomes of the survey reflect a favored management leadership style and this could be flexible. Debra is able to draw out your thoughts on how you feel others perceive you rather than preaching which was a great attribute.
We talked about the outcomes and the way forward and I was left with a comfortable feeling that I could achieve my higher aims. Debra provided positive feedback and kept in contact after the initial interview. Her trouble in organizing some key topic papers and net links was commendable. I hope very much to take Debra up on some future mentoring and would highly recommend Debra’s leadership skill set to you.
Professor Tim Lyons, Newcastle
Concrete personal career goals
I have appreciated my coaching sessions this year more than I can say. Deb has challenged me at every turn which I have loved, making me work hard to find my own solutions during an extremely professionally challenging year. This has been extremely satisfying.
I also now have concrete personal career goals and a plan on how to get there – non existent when I started coaching and really not something I consciously thought I needed. As a consequence I feel more focused and motivated for the next year and beyond.
Finally I would have to say my coaching session with Deb have been an absolute lifeline for me this year, keeping me on track, helping me to grow and learn and ultimately make a monumental shift in my approach and style as a leader. I am very grateful for her time, patience, humor and professionalism – I am certainly am better leader thanks to coaching with Deb.
Bernadette Hollis, Sydney