Businesses need their people to be the best they can be. Releasing talent, potential and creativity transforms any business in a trice. Rather like eating healthily and taking exercise, businesses ‘know’ this, but find it hard to change old habits.
Is that why there is still such inequality at senior levels?
Coaching can contribute to releasing potential.
And it can also uncover some extremely helpful information….
The ChangeChemistry approach to coaching is all about enhancing people’s awareness of where they are now. I discovered through my own research last year that the ‘not enough senior women in the work place’ issue is also about awareness. It’s about whether both men and women actually feel they can be themselves – be the best they can be.
This is why.
I’ve lived the ‘women in work’ story over a long time, having worked in male dominated and non-male dominated, creative and non-creative cultures, around the world. There’s been little real change for women: or for men in terms of how healthy the workplace feels today.
While working with senior coaching clients, the ‘women’s experience in work’ issue increasingly infiltrated the sessions. Men are not all happy about work either. Not at all. Having to play a role tires everyone.
It became clear that the current narrative, which goes something like – ‘give women more confidence training, get men to shape up’, or ‘get a critical mass of women (currently 30%) into any workplace and change will happen’ – is wrong.
Well, it hasn’t worked, has it?
The narrative isn’t right because industries and cultures are human and complex with varied issues and different ‘levers for change’. The narrative isn’t right because people operate primarily through their intuitions – and intuitions are hard to train, or tame. Intuitively most of us want the status quo. The narrative isn’t right because businesses can’t meet the challenge of how to get the best from everyone (inclusive), by concentrating on some and not on others (divisive).
Awareness of how it is for everyone is the first step, followed by a bespoke, nuanced, intelligent, humanistic approach to culture shifting rather than targets or quotas.
Shifting the culture is the real key.
The environments where men and women work wonderfully together have recognisable characteristics and behaviours…..
And that, o best beloved, will be the subject of next week’s story