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How to Use Open Questions for Immediate Results

What’s the difference between ‘Did you have a good day?’ and ‘What did get up to today? The first seems engaging, the use of ‘good’ even suggestive of a potential positive result. It's a winner right? Well, it actually depends on what you need. When you are with your colleagues, you’ll often get more out of them by using questions like the later, rather than the first. It’s the difference between ‘open’ and ‘closed’ questions and if you want to spark reflection and discussion - always aim for open questions.This is probably one of the most useful tools my coaching clients take away from our sessions that they can immediately use with colleagues... and no doubt their families too.  Open questions start with...

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How & why to take on an adversary

I was recently listening to a Women's Enterprise Scotland event where Clare English, a BBC Radio 4 producer spoke about giving interviews to the press. Whether or not that's your space, she mentioned adversarial 'opponents' - a topic I think could benefit anyone's career. Having 'adversarial opponents' in a single interview is a dynamic producers sometimes encourage to allow audiences to hear several sides of a story. These types of set-ups, when you are about to speak in a public forum like a panel, or go on air, as was her example, can feel daunting.However, you actually learn a lot from saying 'yes' when asked.Years ago, I was interviewed for the BBC with McKirrick, who I didn't know would be on, but I quickly discovered had a misogynistic streak. As I knew a...

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How and why female global leaders lost fewer people during Covid

As American living in the UK, I will not be the only person who has speculated how things might have been different, if at all, with female leadership at the helm in both countries during the last few years. As we've been living through the overconfidence during Covid and the economic crisis, it does make you wonder - particularly as we go back to 'business as usual', even as rates are rising. That’s why this research from both the University of Liverpool and University of Reading caught my eye.  (Image from The Guardian) The research team found that in the early months of the pandemic, covid mortality rates were lower in countries with female leaders.That effect isn’t limited to national politics alone. The U.S....

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Would you rather feel confident or be deemed competent by your boss?

While we in the Northern Hemisphere may be entering the Autumn, that shouldn't lead to a 'Fall' in your confidence (there's my American-ness coming out ;)If you need a lift during this time of year, I'd encourage you to go back to the evidence: your feedback. Organisations and certainly their female employees would get further if they only focused on feedback from others, rather than self-appraisals. Self-appraisals will always favour more obviously confident people. Self-appraisals give them an easy platform from which they can advertise their value to the team and lobby for bigger projects - asking for promotions and pay rises at the same time. Realistically, it’s actually what other people think of you that matters far more. As I talk about...

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Equality comes when Women Dominate 4 to 1

When I first began coaching in male dominated sectors, leadership thought it sufficient if women were 20% of leadership were women. Let’s be honest, at the time (and still in in some organisations!) a single women in a group of 4 other men was ‘real progress’. However, what they’d often find is that despite their best intentions, women still weren’t speaking up, or more perhaps more true to form, they weren’t being heard - even when they were 20% of a group.   When doing my business degree studies, I’ve been in those groups - have you? More recently, organisation have been raising the bar even further - a stretch when most of my clients recruit from fields that don’t get...

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