Suzanne Doyle-Morris writes:
As coaching sheds its reputation as a new-age fad and becomes accepted as a strategic development tool, so too has it gained increasingly widespread acceptance among professional women in IT.
When I interviewed successful women in technology for Beyond the Boys’ Club I was surprised just how many women had worked with an executive coach, either through their company or by hiring their own.
It was seen as an investment in getting an advantage, when they wanted to take their confidence and sense of career direction to the next level.
Caroline, the IT Director of a global logistics company, worked with her most recent coach for 18 months before making the large step up to IT Director. She explained its utility: “It helped me take time out of my schedule, even just once a month, to focus on where I am going. My coach helped me remove the obstacles I was putting in my own way without even realising it. I didn’t initially believe I was ready for such a large promotion.”
Vickie, an IT project manager for an investment bank, credits coaching with helping her see how her competitive nature was potentially getting in the way of progressing her career. She explained: “I’ve always been incredibly competitive, which means I would usually work best with people who were junior to me rather than peers. The coaching provided the aha! moment for me; I had to challenge the assumption that people at my level are pure competitors. This eventually enabled me to engage in collaborations with peers I would have never even seen before. My eyes just weren’t open to those opportunities before.”
Her advice to other professional women? “Work with a coach when you reach a level of discomfort with where you are. You feel you can do more, but don’t know how to take that next step or even what the next step actually is. If I didn’t use the coaching to become aware of my blind spots, it would have limited my career in the long term.”
Suzanne Doyle-Morris is the author of Beyond the Boys’ Club: Strategies for Achieving Career Success as a Woman Working in a Male-dominated Field.
Suzanne’s next virtual career development ‘bootcamp’ runs in March.