“I don’t feel like I can be who I really am at work.”
Cat has heard this sentiment for twenty plus years as the trusted coach for women leaders in all size organizations. While Leadership Training programs are thrown at them, what women leaders really want is to feel safe to be themselves.
The Authenticity Advantage, Cat’s signature program, is both a personal leadership coaching program and an organizational culture shift that supports diversity in leadership.
The Conference Board CEO Challenge 2014 states across all regions, the number one critical challenge to companies is Human Capital, specifically Diversity.
The lack of equality and female leadership in the C-suite and Senior VP levels is costing most companies billions of dollars each year in revenue.
“American publicly traded companies with all-male executive boards missed out on $567 billion in 2014, according to a study by global accounting firm Grant Thornton, titled “Women in Business: the Value of Diversity.” Only 1 in 10 companies analyzed have women board executives. In the U.S., S&P 500 companies committed to diversity out-performed rivals by nearly 2%, the study found.” TIME.com
The problem is not a lack of leadership know-how for most women. The problem is: when women do not feel valued, heard or
safe, they develop what Cat calls the ‘Masks of Success’. These masks develop when women experience a sense of invisibility, their contributions are overlooked, and there is a lack of regard for their voice.
In many cases, it has been made abundantly clear to them the way to succeed is to NOT be authentic; but to put on a mask and go-along to get along, or get a project completed on time … or else. These masks become behavior patterns of control, sacrifice, burnout and apathy. In fact, by the time a woman is promoted to senior level or fast-tracked as a high potential, she may be unwilling to go further because the Masks of Success required are too heavy.
“A recent study revealed that an even gender split at one company contributed to a 41% increase in revenue, while oft-cited research by Catalyst demonstrates that companies with higher female representation in top management outperform those that don’t by delivering 34% greater returns to shareholders. And although only 5% of Fortune 1000 companies have a female CEO, they generate 7% of the Fortune 1000’s total revenue and outperform the S&P 500 index during the course of their respective tenures.” Fastcompany.com
Most companies understand what is at stake and want to keep their talented, committed and high potential women leaders. They’ve read the studies by McKinsey&Company and Catalyst and understand the lack of diversity is costing them greatly. Also according to the 2014 McKinsey&Company study, women are not leaving organizations at higher rates than men.
“Women, on average, are leaving their organizations at the same or lower rates as men. Most notably, women in leadership are more likely to stay with their company than their male counterparts. Compared with men at the same level, SVP-level women are 20 percent less likely to leave, and women in the C-suite are about half as likely to leave.”
Progressive companies are investing billions of training dollars to ensure their talent doesn’t pre-maturely off-ramp, taking invaluable institutional knowledge with them. Hefty portions of those training dollars are targeted to high-potential women leaders.
Sadly, many of the go-to large training companies offering one-size-fits-all stand-alone 360 reviews, leadership training de jour, and “success” coaching often fail the employee and the company, barely budging the needle.
Why? An “outside – in” approach does not work because it doesn’t address the real issues of the inner-game for women leaders. Attempting to support a woman leader with masculine-dominated training or coaching only confirms that the only way she can survive or thrive is to wear masks. These masks ultimately erode her ability to contribute fully and with any personal satisfaction.
The Authenticity Advantage combines Cat’s twenty-two+ years of expertise in archetypes, feminine leadership, coaching women leaders, leading retreats and delivering experiential training, thus filling the big gap in the standard approach for coaching and training for women leaders.
Cat designs each training, workshop, retreat and coaching engagement to be a just-right, custom fit for each client’s challenges
and goals. She is more interested in an organization’s long-term vision and goals and releasing a woman leader’s brilliance than selling a pre-packaged formula. She asks questions. She listens. She collaborates. She partners. She pulls in a hand-picked team of colleagues for each engagement, ensuring an ideal match.
To learn more about The Authenticity Advantage coaching and training programs and how your organization can benefit, please email or call Cat Williford directly. WLS@CatWilliford.com 818.266.9020
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