News & views

Back to Better

We launched our online Women’s Leadership Programme in 2020 and are proud to have already delivered the programme to women leaders in 13 countries and across sectors. We have been reflecting on the challenges we all faced in 2020 and how we can best support organisations to achieve a vision of 2021 that sees them returning Back to Better.

If gender equality remains a priority for your organisation in 2021, we ask you to take a few minutes to watch our Back to Better video and hear our thoughts on how you can ensure you continue to attract, retain and develop your female talent.

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Coaching Success Stories: The authentic leader

In this article Paul Lawrenson, Global Talent Leader at Expedia Group shares the experience of his coaching journey and how he has benefited from his partnership with WDI.

Paul views coaching as one of the key differentiating factors in securing two significant promotions, retaining his work/ life balance and continuing to thrive as an authentic leader.

His leadership impact is visible in last year’s annual employee engagement scores where Paul’s team rated the highest.   He believes this was aided by “not shielding them from the situation around them, and enabling and empowering them to do great work.”

However, as he says, this hasn’t always been the case.

“In the past I used to over plan for literally every single conversation.  I wanted to have all the data, context and answers ahead of time; it was a sort of security blanket for me.  I would show up as rigid, more focused on the process than building the relationships, and that really inhibited my ability to be fluid and have a free-flowing, high trust conversation.”

“As I reflect now, I realise I acted as though I did not trust my team to deliver – seeking to control and limit risks around their performance.  I also recognise that Imposter syndrome was definitely a thing with me; I paid far too much attention to the things I wasn’t good at.  However, through our coaching work, I now focus far more on my strengths and how I achieve the outcomes I want rather than worrying about one underdeveloped trait.”

Over a 2-year period, Paul had a series of coaching sessions with Lynn White, WDI and some of the development areas included:

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Women leaders: How to break the habits holding you back

In How Women Rise: Break the 12 Habits Holding You Back (Amazon UKUS) authors Sally Helgesen and Marshall Goldsmith identify 12 habits that commonly hold women leaders back as they endeavour to advance to the next stage in their careers. This article provides a summary of those 12 habits, plus a list of powerful questions posed to you by myself and Lynn White, leadership expert and Principal Partner at WDI Consulting.

We hope this summary, and our questions, will help you to explore and unleash your full leadership potential, and the potential of your team and organisation.

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Masthaven launches Women in Leadership programme

We are pleased to share with you this article, featured in 'Financial Reporter'. We would like to acknowledge Masthaven Bank for their vision and commitment and the women in the leadership team who are engaging with such energy in this programme. We are excited to share this journey with you all.    ...

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WDI’s Women’s Leadership Online Programme

We are so proud of the launch today of WDI's Women's Leadership Online Programme. A huge thank you to the WDI team for making this vision a reality and enabling us to share our passion and expertise with so many. If you would like to discuss this programme with us, please contact us - we are very proud of the content and would be delighted to speak with you about it.    ...

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Insider Progress Launch Event

We want to share some of the key themes to emerge from the launch of the Insider Progress initiative. These provide valuable insight and a ‘pulse check’ for the insurance sector. Read more ...

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A Heroine’s Reinvention

We are pleased to share with you this article, featured in 'Women In Leadership Publication - The Power of Influence edition'. In this article Clare Russell, Consultant WDI Consulting explores the value of offering coaching and leadership development from the heroine's perspective.  Of using this article to generate discussion with your colleagues. 'Women In Leadership Publication' contains valuable perspectives from a wide variety of influencers and thought leaders....

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Futures Coaching

A well-known aphorism, probably made most famous by Stephen Covey and earlier by an American monk called Thomas Merton, runs something like this: “We may spend the whole of our life climbing the ladder of success only to find that when we get to the top, our ladder has been leaning against the wrong wall.”

So how do we know?  Probably the most asked question arising in my coaching practice, in some form or other, is: “What might I do in the future?”  It might be framed as where am I going?  What might my next job/ career role be?  Is it time to push for the next big job? Is it time for a new opportunity?  Or maybe there’s a completely alternative future out there for me?

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The unseen role models that inspire women leaders

At 18-months old, my daughter is a playful, curious, vocal tot who loves to boldly crash her way around the kitchen with her walker, offers regular cuddles to her soft toys and with focused concentration builds her stickle brick structures.  She is (of course especially in my eyes), totally adorable with a winning smile, regularly told by everyone that she is cute, and validated for being clever.  However, I also notice the absence of words such as ‘bold’ or ‘brave’ that subtly add stereotypes on what a good girl is or is not.

I greatly want to protect her from the programming of gender, and equally know that I won’t be totally able to. But, I have a plan; to introduce her to the many amazing role models and female super heroes who give her a map to develop her potential without false limitations.

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Are you wilfully blind to your own life?

In her fabulous book, Willful Blindness, Margaret Heffernan says “we choose, sometimes consciously but mostly not, to remain unseeing in situations where we could know, and should know, but don’t know because it makes us feel better not to know.”

My own wilful blindness showed up in my late 40’s when, on the receiving end of coaching questions, I realised I had been overly investing time, energy and attention in my business at the expense of the other aspects of my life.

Avoiding wilful blindness is not for the faint hearted.  The busyness of everyday life with widely dispersed families, financial pressures, and ever-present technology means that few of us have the time or courage to shine a light into the blind-spots of our lives by reflecting on questions such as “who am I?”, “why do I do what I do?” and “what do I want to achieve in this world?”

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Confidence is a gendered word

In the wake of the latest reporting, firms are likely looking yet again at how to solve the ‘women’s issue’. An important message in this article is that the “women need to be more confident” message is an outdated myth. ...

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Celebrating the difference women leaders bring

On International Women’s Day, we wanted to share our commitment to supporting women leaders.  Our passion is to see more women leading ‘their way’, with purpose and presence, to achieve their greatest goals and aspirations. ...

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Strategies for the next generation of female executives

Thank you, Korn Ferry for this insightful female CEO profiling report,  ‘Women CEO’s Speak. Strategies for the next generation of female executives and how companies can pave the road.’ There is so much in here that organisations can take away and action.  ...

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Creating contagion in a global transformation

In this final video of our series, Nicola Parton describes how she and her team worked with WDI Consulting to deepen their personal connection with the team throughout the change process – enabling them to build trust and encourage people to ‘test and learn’ new behaviours before the introduction of hard measures. This reduced the ‘anxiety in the system’ and Nicola outlines some of the fabulous results they achieved.

Nicola Parton is Group Managing Director, Head P&C Business Management, Swiss Reinsurance.

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Balancing drive for results and relationships in a global transformation

In this second video of our series on leading a successful global transformation, Nicola Parton continues to talk personally about her experience and in so doing demonstrates one of WDI Consulting’s underpinning beliefs, that change leadership is not about driving for results or engaging sensitively with your people – it is about doing both.

Nicola Parton is Group Managing Director, Head P&C Business Management, Swiss Reinsurance.

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