Career Pinch Points

November 9, 2012 | comments

Career Pinch Points

I’m preparing for the forthcoming breakfast briefing to share our latest “Career Pinch Points” research and it is making me realise just how excited I am about the next 12 months here at Talking Talent. The leading research findings from over 2,500 women tell us some of what we all already know around the major challenges that women face as they progress through their careers but there are also some really important new insights into what will help facilitate change. Most importantly, it highlights for me the need for organisations to have a more sophisticated focus on the career pipeline for women. The need to reach down to look far earlier in women’s careers than at present and not just to look at senior levels.

Talking Talent’s increased strategic focus on these “Pipeliners”, women moving into management levels, and upwards, will help to create a diverse, compelling and confident talent pool that clients can utilise to fill more senior roles from within. Most importantly for me,  Talking Talent’s coaching led approach really talks to the clear and overriding request for more fundamental support on a set of softer competencies, which are required to succeed at more senior levels. Almost all of the women we coach are technically brilliant – they wouldn’t be in the roles or companies they are in if this were not the case. However, the need for self-belief and a more informed behavioural toolkit is key because we know that in order to navigate more senior levels our coachees have to position themselves and their brand in a more sophisticated way. This often means communicating more convincingly, both upwards and sideways, to male dominated audiences. And of course this cannot be done without self awareness and self-confidence; a realistic assessment of competencies to develop, blind spots to fill in, but critically, to feel comfortable that in many cases competencies are already more than good enough. They may need to be better positioned, made more visible but they are already there.

Providing women with the right support to be confident and successful in organisations cannot come from topic led discussions to raise awareness. When Talking Talent have the opportunity to introduce our individual, group and peer to peer coaching we are seeing step changes in confidence levels and the resulting success in career momentum. These are behavioural shifts that happen over time which enable women to realise their full potential, to realise their strong ambitions. I’m certain that our new coaching tools and approaches informed by this latest research will accelerate change. Particularly as we move to the integral involvement of the line managers in all the work we are now delivering, group or individual.

It is fun to think how far Talking Talent have come this last 8 years. Looking to the future I feel that the quality of the coaching programmes we have crafted this last year will help move our clients to a new paradigm, creating fundamental shifts in talent retention and development. Given the successes we have already realised that makes for exciting times ahead. I look forward to sharing them with you!


Chris Parke

Chris Parke, CEO of Talking Talent