Today co-founder, Helen Letchfield, is participating on a leadership panel discussion, in recognition of Friday’s International Women’s Day. It has got us thinking and Helen and Henriette share a summary of their thoughts below as they reflect on 10 years of running a company very much devoted to progression, development and leadership:
What does authentic leadership mean to us?
Helen: It means leading with your heart. This enables you to be yourself and allows you to showcase your true strengths and passions. You can stick to your principles so you are consistent in your behaviour and your messaging
Henriette: It’s an approach to leadership that’s built on being true to who you are as an individual. You are honest in your relationships with others and empathetic to their needs. You know your own strengths and weaknesses and have the confidence to do what you think is right.
How is P&P Coaching fostering a culture of diversity?
Helen: When we first started out 10 years ago, all our clients wanted ‘maternity coaching’. We have worked with them to change their cultures – we now coach dads through the parental transition too.
Henriette: We also work with managers to enable them to think about flexibility for everyone – not just ‘new mums’.
In your experience, what are the challenges you see facing female leaders today?
Helen: Feeling the need to be perfect in everything you do is a trait I see most commonly amongst senior and ambitious women. It can be crippling. Learning to let go of the desire to be perfect and trust you can do the job based on your experience and on your merits.
Henriette: Outdated, traditional corporate cultures based on number of hours worked rather than quality of work produced.
And what’s the leadership lesson you’d share?
Helen: I used to have a tendency to be a people-pleaser, even in a leadership capacity. Now I stick to the very simple principle of being kind to the person but tough on the task.
Henriette: Consider whether you can do more to encourage engagement. I have seen how highly engaged employees are more likely to be focused on their work and feel positive, motivated and driven to do well.
How do you define success?
Helen: Having a job that makes you happy.
Henriette: To me it’s having a job I’m excited about and a good work family balance.