What Keeps High-Achieving Women from Choosing Executive Positions VIII: Conclusions
Before she could behave differently, she had to see her role and herself in a new light. This was not an easy process. Although the organization professed to honor human values, these came second to increasing the bottom line. Therefore, she received little support from own manager when trying to solve her problems other than looking at how each person was meeting or exceeding projections.
Yet my client’s incentive was more personal than professional; she might have remained on a decent career path in spite of her team’s discontent since their sales numbers were good. Yet because she cared, she chose to brave the journey of personal transformation. What follows are discussions and exercises I used to help her reflect on and shift her self-concept and to set up “communities of practice” to support her as she tested out and integrated new ways of being a leader.
A. Reflective Practice
People do not “change” their self-concept like they would a piece of clothing. The process is one of unfolding into a new sense of being. It is dynamic and non-linear. It takes place by reflecting in real-time on events that are happening or recently completed. This reflection can be done by writing or in dialogue.
As her coach, I set the context for my client to talk about how she saw herself and then to explore how this character she was playing influenced what was happening in her interactions with her employees. This led her to try out new ways of thinking and acting when in communicating with her team. As a result, she daily tested out new thought patterns and behaviors and let go of old ones. Over time, she could see herself changing—thought by thought and action by action. This is the process of renewal.