Specialist Support for Technical Women in Business
Many scientific and technical organisations are working hard to increase the representation of women in senior leadership positions and retain their female talent - and one of the most effective, recognised tools to achieve this is coaching and mentoring.
Coaching and Mentoring
Women face many challenges as they develop their careers, particularly in technical areas which can be predominantly male. You might walk into the meeting and find that you are the only woman present. You find that you tend to face more interruptions when you are speaking than your male colleagues and might even be judged to a different standard to them. There could also be a lack of female role models in senior positions...sound familiar? Research has shown that much of this behaviour comes from an unconscious bias, and companies are working hard to address this through a number of mechanisms - but this type of change takes time. In the interim, helping women to find strategies to be heard, stay motivated, build confidence and accelerate their careers can be boosted by providing coaching and mentoring. Having worked in a predominantly male industry herself, and having combined it with a business career and being a mum, Caroline is well placed to mentor women in STEM to support them to develop their careers.
Group Coaching and Mentoring
Group mentoring and coaching can can be an excellent way for women to share their experience and to establish a support network within an organisation. So how does a coaching group benefit women? (1) By creating a group that meets regularly (typically monthly) women get to meet more female colleagues, lessening the feeling of isolation that they might have within their own teams. (2) By sharing experiences with a group and having a chance to speak confidentially about challenges, it reduces stress levels and thus frees the brain up for more strategic thinking and improves motivation. (3) The group format allows sharing 'the wisdom of the group' - this involves a group member describing an issue, and then each group member making suggestions as to how one might handle it - Gold dust! (4) It is sustainable as it catalyses the creation of bonds and future mentoring relationships that will then benefit other women as they join the organisation. This process works best when there is a coach to facilitate the sessions, which Caroline would do, but after the group is well established (6-10 sessions) it could be set up to run itself if the group were keen to do so.