Volume 6, Issue 2 – April 2005
Welcome to IWL’s eNews, designed to inform and inspire you about the progress of our global leadership community and commitments.
1) Coach’s Column – Musings from the ‘Other Side’ by Vivian Groman
2) Coaching Success – Sabrina Sanchez and IWL Coach, Victoria Castle
Sabrina Sanchez is Vice President at Trainer Communications. She is responsible for overall client services satisfaction and manages the storage and security business units.
Incorporated in 1995, Trainer Communications has represented more than 75 emerging technology companies. The company provides a full range of communications services that support emerging technology clients’ business objectives. These objectives typically fall into at least one of four categories, including increasing sales leads or reducing the time to close sales; recruiting top talent; attracting investors; and/or generating visibility for the founders or funding partners that spotlight management expertise. The company’s ‘secret sauce’ comes from three core principles – focus, accountability, and customization – all of which are delivered by a team of professionals with more than 200 years of combined experience.
Sabrina, who’s been with Trainer for eight years, first became acquainted with Contextual Leadership when Rayona Sharpnack, IWL’s CEO, provided consulting to Trainer during its quarterly planning meetings. “I went to the course and resonated with IWL’s philosophy,” said Sabrina. “I’ve been doing personal development work for over fifteen years now and I’ve found IWL’s approach to be a natural bridge for me on behalf of creating work that is meaningful to Trainer, to the community at large and to me.”
Prior to Trainer, Sabrina worked for a multi-national Silicon Valley corporation. She was hired to stabilize the procurement IT department. Sabrina observed that the people who weren’t ‘making it’ were all put in the same organization. She was expected to reorganize the group and had to make tough decisions to lay off many of the people who had not continued to build their skill sets and add value to the company. It was important to align her principles with her business philosophy and allow the individual contributors to transition while maintaining their dignity and self-respect. She helped them to create the next step for themselves in a way that was right for them. The second time the company wanted her to ‘clean up’ an organization she declined the job and left the company.
“The leaders spearheading the organization were not taking ownership for the issues at hand nor willing to take action to solve the problems at hand,” said Sabrina. She made a decision to leave the company at the top of her game and colleagues thought she was crazy to leave. “It just did not fit into my value system,” said Sabrina. “I knew there were better things in store for me where I could make an impact at a professional and personal level while keeping my soul intact.” Sabrina jumped ship and began her own consulting practice and quickly joined Trainer Communications to make a real difference.
“I was impressed with Trainer’s business philosophy and focused approach of delivering high value results. Trainer’s model of treating people with respect and dignity echoed my own values ,” said, Sabrina. “Over the years we’ve gone from being a bunch of consultants working with clients to being ranked the number one public relations agency in the San Francisco East Bay. As we began rapidly scaling the business I began work with a business coach. About a year ago I connected with Victoria Castle (IWL coach) and have found it invaluable to have her as a sounding board as we roll up our sleeves to take the company to the next level.”
“Sabrina’s assets include high standards. These standards, strengths for her, can also trip her up,”said Victoria . “When we first began working together it was clear that although Sabrina was committed to ensuring people are well taken care of and have the necessary resources to succeed, this commitment didn’t always include HER own well-being. She was running hard, almost out of breath, but still taking on more and more responsibility. Our first step was to get her feet under her so she could sustain herself.”
Coaching tip: Being accountable for our own well-being is an important leadership competency. Having personal well-being properly prioritized instead of trying to ‘do it all,’ is pivotal.
“She also has the capacity to see strategically and tactically at both the 30,000 foot level and the day-to-day realities. She has good radar and intuition. Our work together has been, in part, to help place Sabrina’s well-being in the equation and to help her be able to follow-through on her perceptions. From the beginning, Sabrina showed up ready and available to do the kind of work that propels her to grow to the next level,” continued, Victoria . “She had done a lot of personal development work and came to coaching knowing her strengths and blind spots. She was immediately available.”
Coaching tip: In working with a coach, show up ready to fully engage in the process. The more of yourself you make available, the more value can be produced.
Victoria and Sabrina actively looked for places where Sabrina’s genius got tripped up and began to build practices that would support Sabrina’s success.
” Awareness is key,” said, Sabrina. “It’s empowering to build the muscle of pausing to consider how my decisions and commitments will impact my family, my team, my company and me personally. I’ve learned to have authentic conversations with team members and clients that focus on the larger picture and my standards of being. Instead of avoiding the tough conversations or simply trying to ‘hold my own, I am able to quickly communicate the issue at hand and identify a course of action in a spirit of partnership. I’ve found when you address the tough issues head on you gain credibility and respect with associates and clients. We are all in this together for the best mutual outcome and success. Now, I consciously set the frame for the conversation. I say, ‘I care, I’m committed, I’m here and this is going to be a difficult conversation.’ I can now have difficult conversations with clients which are effective, efficient and stop the mind chattering.”
“With Victoria , I’ve worked on developing this capacity through Somatics and with meditation ,” shared Sabrina. “I realized how out of touch I had been and how far off the path I had strayed while I worked at the Fortune 100 Company. I looked good but wasn’t in touch with the spiritual side of knowing. I made a promise to myself – never again would I let that happen.”
“There’s a grounded-ness now about Sabrina,” said Victoria . “She practices being present in high-stress moments. Somatics is about embodying in a whole a way of BEing. We all have patterns, some that work and some that no longer serve us. We work with the whole self to shift them, not just with affirmations, for instance. Somatics is the perfect compliment to Contextual Leadership. We create our reality out of our conclusions and how we organize our lives around those conclusions. Attending to both leads to greater effectiveness and way less suffering. The embodiment work has been elemental to Sabrina’s rapid and grounded shifts in pattern. It’s about how much space we take up in the world.”
“With Victoria , I learned to recalibrate and be present in body and mind when working with difficult clients. I have become accustomed to having my feet firmly on the ground and remember the value and wisdom that I provide. Now when I’m in difficult conversations, I can stay present, stay in my body and stay focused without burning up energy foolishly. It’s very freeing,” enthused Sabrina.
“Working with a coach is not for sissies,” said, Victoria . “What has enabled our coaching to be so productive is that Sabrina doesn’t hold personal development as remedial. She also is candid and open. We use our time together very productively.”
Coaching Tip: take on development as a life-long journey. Be curious, be patient, be tenacious.
“We’ll shortly have our third face-to-face meeting since beginning our work together fifteen months ago,” said Sabrina.”Coaching can definitely be done primarily over the phone. It’s nice to know that. We’ve got four children, ages 28, 24, 15 and 8 and my husband works every bit as hard as I do. He has seen a real change in me. We both now establish ‘for the sake of what’ in our work and personal lives. Life is good!”
About Victoria Castle
Victoria Castle is a Seattle-based coach, consultant and an IWL coach, who works with executives and business leaders to make their most potent contribution to their organization and to the human community – and to thrive while doing it. No suffering allowed!
4) Summary: A Study of Glass Ceiling and Strategies for Women’s Career Advancement
By Li-Yu Chen (Isabel)
Thank you to those who participated in Li-Yu (Isabel) Chen’s study as part of her Ph.D. program at Lynn University in Florida previously. She shares her results with us now:
Analysis of existing literature indicates that women occupy approximately 50.5% of management positions in the United States . However, despite the steady growth in the number of female managers they were mostly working in businesses’ lower level jobs. This study aimed to explore which of five strategies had most positively affected women’s career advancement into senior executive positions. The five specific strategies included in this study’s survey built upon the existing literature which had found important strategies to be:
(a) Advanced Education and Training
(b) Internal Networking
(c) Career Tracking
(d) Formal Mentoring
(e) Exceeding Performance Expectations
This study was conducted using a quantitative research design with an online survey tool. The 16th open-ended question used in this study identifying a new strategy “Opportunity Seeking”, which was addressed in the quantitative research questions provided depth of the information the researcher collected. It used a convenience sampling of 500 women in leadership positions (from middle-level to top level management positions) who were also members of the Institute for Women’s Leadership.
The multiple regression methodology used in this study determined which strategies had most positively correlated and affected women’s career advancement to senior executive positions. In addition, multiple regression analysis also explored the relationships between demographic variables and the women’s promotion rates as well as the relationships between demographic variables and the most effective strategy.
One-Way ANOVA analysis was also used to compare means in terms of the most effective strategy for different racial groups. A total of 108 survey responses returned were valid and completed. As a result of multiple regression analysis, Formal Mentoring was identified as the most effective promotional strategy. Additionally, there are statistically significant relationships between demographic variables and the Promotion Rate. Furthermore, there are also statistically significant relationships between demographic variables and the Formal Mentoring strategy. The results of One-Way ANOVA analysis indicated that different perceptions of the most effective promotional strategy did not exist among diverse racial groups. This study’s findings provide valuable information for women aiming to break through the glass ceiling, and they contribute to women’s career success opportunities.
5) A Note from Rayona
I’ve been thinking a lot about the mission of the YWCA, to empower women and eliminate racism , and it reminded me of some prose I wanted to share with you that resonates with IWL’s mission:
To Change The World
“When I was a young, I wanted to change the world. I found it difficult to change the world, so I tried to change my nation.
When I found I couldn’t change my nation, I began to focus on my town. I couldn’t change the town and as I got older, I tried to change my family.
Now that I am old, I realize the only thing I can change is myself, and suddenly I realize that if long ago I had changed myself, I could have made an impact on my family and I could have made an impact on the town. Their impact could have changed the nation and I could indeed have changed the world.”
I wanted to share this prose with you because I’ve been thinking a lot about the mission of IWL and our global community of change leaders. The work of IWL is about changing the world. We choose to change the world from the inside out. We use our own life as a laboratory for transformation. Whether it’s through our family, our community or our organization, we use each venue as an opportunity to reflect on who we are being, and what contribution can we make to improve the quality of life for others by being a better leader.
IWL is committed to a global movement where women and men are full partners in creating a sustainable world. I am so proud of this vision. I am so proud of our global community of women and men who are leading change within their organizations and communities. I do believe the words of Margaret Mead when she said,”Never doubt that a small number of committed people can change the world; indeed it’s all that ever has.”
I invite you to use the remainder of 2005 as a year of deep introspection and development. Seek to identify where you still have work to do as a Contextual Leader and continue to build your skill set. Practice, practice, practice, find a ‘training buddy’ and keep practicing!
Please take time to think about what you would like from IWL this year:
• Are we serving your needs as you expand your accountability?
• Is there something new we could provide to you or your organization that would enable you to fulfill your mission?
We stand ready to partner with you in the fulfillment of our ’50-year renewable lease.’ Let me know how you are doing and what we could do to make an even greater difference with you!
Love and blessings,
Rayona Sharpnack, CEO and founder