I started coaching 20 years ago, and something I’m grateful for is getting to cut my coaching teeth by coaching senior leaders from the get-go. It started out with helping them with business improvements, and from there to team performance, and then their impact and potential as a leader.
I noticed familiar challenges that I still see today, and back then I coached more men than women.
- Everyone was making it up as they went along. From mid-level manager to the C-Suite, nobody had the answers
- They were often riddled with self-doubt, and that was one of the biggest sources of stress
- They rarely took time out to think, or recognise the wins
- They were their own worst enemies more than their best friend and champions
It’s interesting to see so many internal challenges in highly talented people, even though I often work with the best performers. The big thing they all had in common was a drive to succeed and make things better.
Now as a Leadership Career Coach I work with women to help them maximise their impact and performance as a leader whilst minimising their stress. The lessons from those early days of coaching are still relevant today.
For the last 18 months I’ve been working in a different way with leaders, and it’s definitely getting results. Instead of 1-2-1 I bring together small groups of senior women to work on mastering their mindset and leadership impact through a blend of learning, group coaching, and peer support. The growth of all of the participants has sky-rocketed.
So what are the keys to success? What helps them shift from frazzled to fearless? From stressed out to laser-like focus. And from checking out, to loving their work and owning their impact.
Well, I’ve identified 7 things that are a catalyst for their dramatic shift…
It’s so easy when you’re busy to run from one thing into another, the problem is, it’s massively impacting people’s perception of you, and your performance. I’ve noticed that a lot of preparation can go into trying to know everything, or the message you want to share in an important meeting…but not so much on what will help you achieve what you want and being in the right zone to make it happen. Something we spend time on every week in the Impactful Leader PQ Mastermind is being more intentional. This is about being focused on what you want to achieve and on how you’re showing up to make it happen.
One of my Masterminders was always so overwhelmed with work and was the proverbial headless chicken. When she started practising intention and focus, she started to see she wasn’t giving her energy to the right things. Not only did she become less busy, with more focus her performance skyrocketed…and so did her confidence!
It’s as simple as asking yourself key questions…at the beginning of your week/ beginning of your day/ before a meeting/ before you start a project/ etc.
- What does success look like?
- What can I do to make that happen?
- How do I need to show up for this to be successful?
- What can I do to make that happen?
2) Accountability and action
I find it interesting that we can be the absolute hardest on ourselves about so many things. But you know when we’re not? When it comes to taking action that’s self-focused! Those actions that are going to develop you, propel your career forward, or grow your leadership skills. Often they’re the first thing to fly out of the window at the first sign of busy because it feels like they’re not getting the job done.
I’ve always loved the Stephen Covey concept of ‘sharpening the saw’. If we don’t take time out to sharpen our skills, then we become slower and more ineffective at our jobs, so we’re actually costing ourselves time! Obviously my Masterminders have the time to focus and accountability built into the programme, but it’s something you can do for yourself too.
The thing is, when you focus on the right things, it’s actually not too time heavy. So it’s a case of clear actions + accountability = big results.
You can achieve this by building time into your week to spend on stepping back and thinking big picture and strategy. Ask yourself:
- What is it you really want to achieve this year?
- How can you take your career/ leadership to the next level?
- What are the main things you need to focus on?
- For each area, what are the top 3-5 actions that will have the biggest impact?
This will make up your mini projects to help you progress. Next you need to make the time and identify how you can make yourself more accountable.
I suggest blocking diary into the beginning of your day as it means you can do something positive to start your day before you get caught up in the daily grind! When you leave it to the end of the day it’s too easy to let it fall off your list.
The question left to answer is how can I make myself more accountable? Is there someone to share your plans with? Do project plans work for you? What is the key to keeping you on track?
3) Celebrating wins
I watch women make huge things happen every day, from making positive changes, to achieving big wins…yet they so often run headlong into the next thing without taking the time to recognise what they’ve achieved. This hyper-achieving behaviour may get great results for everyone else and for the business, but it’s stopping you from recognising your true value and it’s damaging your confidence.
When you take time to reflect on what you’ve done well, you become much clearer on your impact and grow in strength. It’s been a key catalyst in helping one women step up and be more visible, so much so that she’s gone from being afraid of public speaking to speaking at 6 national conferences!
I’ve seen so many of the Masterminders grow massively in confidence by building in this practice into their week, and even more so because they have a cheerleading team to share it with. We are all excited to celebrate the wins, growth, and successes of the group…it’s a joyous thing
At the end of your day and week, take time to reflect on:
- What did I do well this week?
- What did I learn?
- How did I have an impact?
- What can I build on for next week?
4) Managing their inner judge and Identifying and tackling their top saboteurs
As if things aren’t hard enough with external demands…lots of people needing your input, constant change, family dynamics, and the list is pretty endless. We also have a war going on inside us, between our inner judge and it’s trusty team of saboteurs and our sage. These represent the survive or thrive parts of the brain.
Your judge and saboteurs live in the survival part, and are mind monkeys that tell you you’re not good enough, or push you to achieve unattainable perfection, or cause your people pleasing and so much more. They drive negativity and self sabotage.
Understanding your types of self sabotage and how to manage them is transformational. Not only do you get out of your own way, but you have so much energy freed up to point in a more fruitful direction.
My Mastermind not only gives this understanding but equips you with the tools and strategies to manage them so you can get out of your own way…so how can I help you now?
Three key things to be aware of:
- Your brain can be your best friend or worst enemy, and you have the power to control that.
- Your judge and saboteurs are a pack of liars, making you think and feel what’s needed to keep you small.
- When you settle the saboteurs, you can engage the most resourceful part of your brain; your sage.
What you can do…
- Notice negative emotion and use it as a warning signal that your brain may be working against you.
- Name it as your judge or saboteur.
- Call out the lie.
5) Being able to tap into their sage
Firstly, you may be wondering…what is my sage? Well it’s the thrive part of your brain.
Your sage is the resourceful part, responsible for the positive response factors…which enable you to be resourceful, empathetic, innovative to facilitate high performance.
This is the part of your brain that will support you to success, and when you know how to tap into it, your performance will sky rocket…but your stress won’t!
The first is quietening your saboteurs and judge, so you can really hear your sage. We use something called PQ practice, which is like mini hits of mindfulness-type exercises throughout the day.
A simple one to try is rubbing together slowly the fingertips of your index fingers, with such a tension that you can feel all of the sensations. Focus on that feeling. Slow down your breathing.
You will notice that your brain chatter reduces and you can create some space to think.
Then you can use questions to help activate your sage…
When you’re facing a setback or perceived failure you might ask yourself “what’s the gift or opportunity in this situation?”
If you’re procrastinating you might ask yourself “how can I make this easier?”
When you’re feeling overwhelmed you might ask “what one step will take me forward?”
If you’re struggling with a member of your team “what if they are 10% right? How can we build from there?”
It helps to have someone in your corner to help you step back and think things through.
6) Safe support network
There’s something magical about a group of women that support each other. I’ve seen it time and time again with my programmes, I love to bring women together with similar goals. It’s a huge catalyst for growth. You inspire each other, bring new perspectives and experiences, you share ideas and the loveliest bit is having people that back you.
Something I hear time and again is how it can be lonely for a leader. Maybe you’re the only woman, or maybe you don’t feel comfortable talking to others at work. And family and friends tend to have a low tolerance or interest level for work stuff! That’s why a safe and supportive network is key.
There are options for this, and with the rise of networks like Lean In and other business networks, you may be able to find a group to support you to progress.
It may be best to set up your own support circle so that you can build a deeper connection and get a better continuity of support. Speak to your friends and colleagues about their challenges and goals, and you can use the tips below to build an agenda.
7) People believing in them
Harriet was a client who joined my Mastermind group wanting to be successful in her new role as Director. During our 7 months together she was promoted to National Director and has been recognised by the global board for her impact…a massive tripling of revenue in her area! She said “The power of someone seeing something in you that you can’t see yourself is immeasurable. I couldn’t recommend it highly enough. It has pushed me to do more than I ever imagined possible and more.”
You no doubt have someone who believes in you, and you in them. So how about you make the most of that by spending time together regularly?
Have a chat with them about how you can help and support each other, and schedule a regular catch up with a loose agenda…
- Share your goals
- What are you doing to achieve them
- What you’re doing well
- What you’re focusing on
- Feedback for each other
- How and when you’ll check in
And there you have it, each of these I’ll help you forget the frazzled running from one thing to another, and lift you up to supercharge your success.
Where do you begin? Ask yourself which of these areas will benefit me most and start there. I’m a big believer in embedding one new thing at a time, especially if you’re doing it for yourself.
If you want to take the fast-track to success, and build a magnificent network of support around you while you do it, then why not have a chat with me? You are welcome to book a chat with me when I can give you some key suggestions on how you can get the biggest results!
If you’re still interested you can book some time with me here: https://genwomen.global/leadership-impact-booking/