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For anyone who enjoyed our Performance Hub Women in Leadership roundtable series last year, either as a participant or by catching up with the video clips and blogs, I’m delighted to say that we’ll be continuing with the series this year.
During three virtual roundtables in 2021, I was privileged to be joined by some amazing guests as we discussed and shared experiences on Women in Leadership. Our third event of the series focused on the shift in narrative from diversity & inclusion to belonging, and how feeling a sense of belonging and being valued brings out the best of people in both a work role and in life in general.
The culmination of our virtual roundtable series was an in-person sharing event, ‘Belonging – a leadership challenge for us all’, at Leading Edge Towers, our Leamington Spa offices. Being face to face with those who had contributed virtually to our Women in Leadership roundtables was a great opportunity to continue to share insights and common challenges around belonging, and turn the conversation to the need for leaders to own and drive forward the belonging agenda.
Belonging – particularly how it enables someone to flourish – is an area of passion for me. And I’m passionate about this as a leader, when working with leaders and teams and as a coach.
For me, Women in Leadership and Women in Coaching go hand in hand – a good leader is a good coach – and as a former Ireland international hockey player and now hockey coach, I am proud to have the opportunity to support the development of women coaches.
Talking about Women in Coaching
I was able to bring together my passion and drive for belonging in both leadership and coaching environments with Sport England last year, when I was asked to give a TED Talk for its Women in Coaching Taskforce at the Sport England Coaching Summit.
The phrase ‘TED Talk’ certainly got me into detailed planning and delivery mode, knowing that this ‘short-talk model’ is all about demanding the audience’s attention for a short period of time – and a specified time, at that! This was my first TED Talk-style presentation, and I was thrilled to nail the timing.
With my involvement in the Sport England Women in Coaching Taskforce, I see huge synergies across high-performance business and sport contexts in terms of the strategies and challenges faced. And there are some familiar faces, too, with Sport England’s Stuart Armstrong (whose team is leading the Women in Coaching movement) also being a valued contributor to our Leading Edge roundtable series.
My TED Talk – Reimaging coaching: where all coaches flourish – explored three ‘core truths’:
- The male default bias of what an ideal coach and leader looks like
- How women coaches are scrutinised more and need to work hard to gain acceptance and respect
- The need for a mindset shift in leaders around how the problem is understood at a deeper level
Women coaches need to be seen in – and feel that they belong in – the high-performance environments in which they work. For this to happen, the coaching narrative needs to change, and everyday actions all add up. I summed up my talk with a call for the audience to think about the mindful action they could take to make a difference and help with this much-needed mindset shift.
With UK Sport, I also had the privilege recently of facilitating a discussion with women coaches from Tokyo 2020 to share experiences around their journey to being an Olympic coach, the highs and lows at the Games, those essential “If only I’d known…” moments, and what the next chapter holds for them – critically, with a focus on what will allow them to truly flourish in their coaching careers.
Changing the narrative
As with the need for change with the coaching narrative, so the diversity & inclusion narrative benefits from shifting to belonging. I’m proud to have championed a Women in Leadership agenda with Leading Edge’s roundtable series and promoted Women in Coaching through my work in sport – and I’m excited to see the progress we can make in both areas in 2022.
One thing’s for sure – at Leading Edge, we’ll continue to provide a place and a platform for our Performance Hub community to share and discuss important themes such as belonging to benefit us all.
Would you like to join us? Get in touch by emailing us at email@example.com