Part 3 – Case study: A client who overcame her self-doubts and found her rightful place on the Executive Committee
In my previous 2 articles dealing with the issue of women assertively Speaking in Public, we saw how our limiting beliefs get in our own way of success. I’m, today, sharing with you a case study of a client who, thanks to the coaching process, was able to go beyond her mental blocks in order to gain greater fulfilment in her career.
My client, let’s call her Sophie, first contacted me because she needed help with her Public Speaking skills in English. Questioning her, we both quickly realised that the problem wasn’t so much her level of English (which was perfectly good enough) but rather her overall reluctance to be in the limelight.
Sophie wasn’t particularly shy and she’d proven herself to be an excellent manager with her team, showing strong leadership skills and dedication to her work. Yet, she felt like she’d reached her own glass ceiling. She was feeling stuck in her current position where she’d already been for three years, with few promotion perspectives. Her HR manager had told her she needed to make herself more visible as her talents were going unnoticed. However, Sophie was uncomfortable about speaking up in meetings, especially if her opinion was controversial. Moreover, she avoided giving presentations whenever possible, even if they were in her native language, French.
Through the coaching questioning process, we discovered that the following injunctions were very present: “Don’t be important” and “Don’t think”.
Sophie came from a traditional family, where her mother stayed at home to look after the children and her father was the breadwinner. Sophie was bright and hard-working at school, achieving excellent results. Yet her mother would tell her not to brag about her achievements, saying it wasn’t nice for a girl to show off. Sophie’s two brothers, on the other hand, were encouraged to proudly tell everyone that they’d done well at school or during a sporting activity!
Moreover, Sophie’s father had a strong personality and would voice his controversial opinions loudly, getting into heated arguments with his sons. However, when Sophie (who was the youngest child and the only girl) tried to voice her opinion, she was told by her family to shut up, saying she was too young and stupid to know what she was talking about.
In order to try to be appreciated by her family, Sophie avoided upsetting anyone and did everything she could to be liked. As a result, the driver “Please Me” was also very present in her personality.
These limiting self-beliefs were hindering Sophie from being visible enough in the workplace. She was reproducing the same scenario from her childhood of staying quiet so as not to upset anyone and to avoid being the centre of attention because “nice girls” don’t show off.
Understanding what was holding her back from speaking assertively was, in itself, a revelation to Sophie. We were then able to use my set of coaching tools (transactional analysis, hypnosis, family constellations etc.) to help Sophie to free herself from the voices and constraints of her childhood. We also worked on her oral presentations, particularly body language and the use of storytelling techniques, to give her enough confidence to deliver impactful presentations.
The hardest part for Sophie was to speak up in meetings when she knew her opinion was debatable. At first, she had to force herself to speak. The breathing techniques I taught her helped to calm down her heart rate which was beating too fast. She’d also repeat over and over again to herself: “I have the right to express my opinion and it’s ok if others agree with me or not”. Little by little, Sophie gained more self-confidence when she realised that she wouldn’t be forced to be quiet because she had a differing opinion. On the contrary, her management started to listen to her more and realised that she could bring new innovative ideas to the firm.
The final stage of the coaching process was Sophie’s acceptance of her promotion, becoming a member of the Executive Committee. On the one hand she was thrilled, yet a part of her was anxious about her new role. Again, through the coaching questions, she realised that she was afraid that her husband would be upset because she’d be earning more than him. This turned out to be a totally unfounded fear, no doubt stemming once again from her traditional upbringing of the father being the breadwinner. In fact, her husband was delighted and proud of her. He even touched on the idea of setting up his own business as they now had more financial security thanks to Sophie’s promotion!
Are there aspects of Sophie’s story you can relate to? Or do you have other limiting self-beliefs that are getting in your way?
We each have our own story. My role as a Public Speaking coach is to help you to understand what’s holding you back, then to determine what your true, free self really wants.
We can then work on using concrete Public Speaking tools, such as portraying confident body language, projecting a powerful voice and having an appealing story to tell. These practical tools will help you to gain even more confidence, impact and charisma.
In this way I’ve transformed my own life and I feel passionate about transforming the lives of the women I coach.
I’ve created a coaching programme Release Your Powerful Female Voice to help you to understand what’s holding you back, then to determine what your free, true self really wants.
Would you like to learn more about how my coaching offer can help YOU to bring fulfilment into your life by Releasing your own Powerful Female Voice?
Please do get in touch for an introductory call.