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Written by Natacha Wilson

How coaching benefits women taking part in a global leadership programme

Are you keen to increase your impact and influence? Leadership coaching will support your growth and development. In this article, I will be sharing my experience as a leadership coach on the Homeward Bound global leadership development programme to show you the practical benefits coaching can have.

What is Homeward Bound?

It is a ground-breaking, global leadership initiative, which aims to heighten the influence and impact of women in making decisions that shape our planet. The programme comprises workshops, reflective sessions, diagnostic tools, and one-on-one coaching sessions. It gives participants the opportunity to develop meaningful collaborations through small group work.

Through this programme, I have worked with incredible women with a background in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM), to support their development, increase their impact exponentially and make climate action a reality.

How does leadership coaching fit into Homeward Bound programme?

One-to-one coaching sessions are at the heart of the development programme. These facilitate the exploration of needs, motivations, desires, skills and thought processes to assist participants in making real, lasting change.

As a leadership coach, I focus on transformational leadership. I use questioning techniques and observations to support my coachees and help them identify solutions and actions in their sphere of influence.

Taking place during an intensive development programme, the coaching sessions also provide participants with the chance to reflect and “digest” new learning as well as the coachees’ own leadership experiences.

A catalyst for change

All actions are preceded by thoughts. It’s vital to remember this when we talk about behavioural change and impact. To change how we can lead change and impact others, we need to understand how we perceive ourselves and how others perceive us.

I use a diagnostic tool called the Human Synergistics Lifestyle Inventory (LSI). It provides data which can be the basis of rich conversations around self-awareness, triggers and reactions.

Coachees are asked to answer an extensive questionnaire which links to the factors driving or blocking performance effectiveness according to 12 behaviours or styles. Additional data is also collated by asking peers, line managers and connections to fill-in the questionnaire.

What is the impact of transformational leadership coaching for Homeward Bound participants?

Over the last few months, I have reviewed the feedback received by the many coachees I have worked with on this programme. Here are 4 key benefits and highlights of the coaching sessions, as seen by participants and experienced by me as a leadership coach.

1.   A safe trusted space to reflect

Before we start to review the data from the LSI reports, I spend time establishing a safe space for discussion. The relationship between a coachee and a coach must be defined from the start. Ultimately, this precious time to pause and reflect needs to be guided by respect, understanding and a commitment to action and the development of lasting personal growth and change.

2.   Identifying strengths and areas for development

Using the LSI data and self-reflection, the next step is to explore how the coachee perceives her own strengths and areas for development and if this diagnostic is in line with others’ perceptions.

These conversations are extremely rich. They provide valuable insights to help the coachee develop constructive styles of thinking and behaviours which lead to increased impact and performance.

In all my years as a coach on the programme, I have noticed that it seems much harder for women leaders to identify what they are good at. Most tend to underestimate their strengths and seem to pay more attention to their (self-perceived) lack of knowledge or skills. This can also be addressed through the coaching sessions to provide a fairer, more balanced approach to their development goals.

3.   Clarifying goals for climate action

Climate action is at the heart of the Homeward Bound Programme. During the coaching sessions, I spend time with my coachees exploring the level and type of impact they are working on and aspiring to. This is a fundamental aspect of my work which aims to encourage a commitment to climate action and the development of lasting personal growth and change. The pace of change and self-development is defined by the coachee and their opportunities for growth at work, home and in their career aspirations. As a leadership coach, I support the process of translating aims and purpose into actionable goals.

4.   Designing strategies for impact

Awareness is a really important step to drive behavioural change, but we still need a level of encouragement, courage and drive to move into action. Driving change can be extremely difficult and tiring. Developing clear strategies, which can be trialled and tested, helps my coachees increase their impact with “affordable” energy costs. Understanding the energy costs and developing coping strategies are both critical to the success of sustainable positive actions and behaviours. The coaching sessions provide the space to explore, assess and prioritise actions whilst focusing on impact and wellbeing.

We have seen that self-awareness is a leading force to support a lasting change of thinking and behaviour. I also believe that courage is another important factor for change. I have seen that there is no shortage of courage and commitment from the women I have worked with and the new cohort starting next year.

Find out more information about my coaching services

Read more about the Homeward Bound Programme and my latest interview

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About Natacha Wilson

Natacha Wilson, founder of Cambridge Insights, is a learning and development consultant and coach. She creates tailored development programmes, which combine 21st century skills, mindsets, and wisdom, to boost leadership capabilities and nurture innovative cultures. Her mission is to support transformational leaders and  “leaders in the making” increase their postive impact, solve global challenges and create a greater world.

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