International Women’s Day - what we’ve learned, coaching women

March 7, 2017 | comments

International Women’s Day - what we’ve learned, coaching women

Talking Talent have been going over a decade now – and we are pleasantly surprised by how much change and progress we have seen.  

Ours was initially a niche business, but is now much better understood and valued.  More and more leading organisations see the benefit in providing coaching and support to women at critical moments in their career (such as the return to work following children) and also to help them achieve the ambitious work goals they have whilst not compromising on identities outside of work.  

We spend less time explaining the rationale for our business, and more time talking about the results we help women achieve for their businesses as well as themselves.  

Of course, everyone’s different.  The beauty of coaching individuals is the ability to tailor the approach to a woman’s needs and preferences to unlock their potential.  But we share a great deal too.  What we’ve learnt since starting Talking Talent is that some frequently held assumptions about women at work are just plain wrong, and we share our main culprits here: 

#1 Family – many women (and men!) choose to have a family and continue working.  All working parents benefit from flexibility and equality of opportunity.  The assumption can be that performance will diminish as exhaustion and competing demands take their toll.  Not true in our experience.  Indeed most parents’ contribution will be even better following children.  Desire to succeed, focus, confidence… all can be enhanced.

#2 Flexibility – it’s heartening to see the progress made in flexible working, especially here in the UK in the last five years.  Most of our clients are advocates.  The assumption that flexible working will result in a drop in performance has been on the way out for some time – let’s bust this myth completely!   When managed right flexible working increases engagement, productivity and creativity.  Organisations which advocate it can reduce their costs while increasing their performance.  Win, win. 

#3 Female talent pipeline.  After many years of encouragement and investment, the assumption was that the gender split at senior levels in companies would balance out automatically – as women worked their way up the ranks and took up more senior roles.  In theory yes, but in practice building strong pipelines at executive level has been hard to achieve.  Let’s dispel the assumption that it’s just going to sort itself out.  Organisations need to be proactive and creative to realise progress – they need to invest.   We have achieved remarkable success with our leadership and high performance programmes because companies have invested time, resource and management have been integral. 

For more information about our womens’ coaching programmes, please contact the Talking Talent team on


Chris Parke, CEO of Talking Talent