A 4 minute read on investment in people across the legal profession, encompassing cultural embedding of progression, support and welfare, and how coaching, mentoring and inspirational speaking events can help forge the way to a new way of working.
International Women’s Day Speaker
Increasingly around this time, I’m invited to speak at events up and down the country to celebrate International Women’s Day, Friday 8th March. This year, 2024, is no exception, with Conference events, Keynote Speeches, podcast appearances, online webinars and legal lunches, to name but a few, already booked and paid for. Evidence that there’s real appetite for the work I do supporting law firms, barristers’ Chambers and other legal organisations to retain and elevate female talent, particularly in the space of women’s leadership and career break returner coaching and training.
Coaching for female Lawyers
To be clear, though, this isn’t a case of fixing women. Quite the contrary. When a sports personality like Andy Murray has, or changes, a coach, in his case from Judy, his mother, to Ivan Lendl, no one came at it from the position that Murray was in any way “broken”. It was all about wanting to perform better. Converting good play into great. To bring the medals, and Grand Slam titles, home. Better is, after all, better than best!
Coaching in the workplace should be treated no differently. It is an absolute force for positive growth: improved performance; increased productivity; inspiring promotions.
One Hit Wonder
Have you ever felt current International Women’s Day celebrations are on occasion misplaced? Skin-deep lip-service being paid to one-off events surrounding the day, as opposed to focussing on, and investing in, doing any of the harder, more meaningful work?
You only need take a quick look at the brand damage wreaked by the Gender Pay Gap Bot’s work on X, formerly Twitter, over the last few International Women’s Days to conclude that it should be viewed as way more than a “one-day only” deal, if it is truly to be championed as a catalyst for embedding sustainable change.
Going beyond the Talk
I’ve written many times before over the last few years, around International Women’s Day, about what companies can do to challenge the status quo, particularly post-pandemic, and to influence a real and lasting difference to the opportunities and prospects for women to succeed at work.
- Approaching challenge and change with a growth as opposed to fixed mindset;
- embracing flexible, hybrid working;
- rewarding performance/ productivity as opposed to office presenteeism; and
- coaching leaders, not just women, on how to create inclusive working practices and workplace cultures.
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The organisations with whom I work recognise the importance of culture in this whole piece. No point laying the foundations for women to succeed within a workplace where those women don’t actually see themselves or, worse, don’t even want to remain.
Promoting psychologically safe working environments support this approach too, where people can, without fear, raise concerns, propose and try out the implementation of new ideas and ways of working, and approach things with a growth not fixed, or risk averse, mindset.
By all means, bring in a coach. Hold that inspirational event.
- There, individuals should find, or be, the role models they want to see.
- By so doing, Law firms, barristers’ chambers and other legal organisations have it within their gift, of course, to break the taboo around coaching.
And do so with a view to showcasing the likely topics female talent retention specialists, like myself, might cover. Over and above culture change, my focus is usually mindset/ resilience and confidence.
Walking the Talk
But be mindful of the increased Return on Investment if you go that extra mile; that little bit further to underpin a good, motivational speech with the truly transformational work – the investment in further coaching and training over a period – to make a real difference.
The evidence in support of doing so speaks for itself. In the late 90s, an American study for the Public Personnel Management Association examined the impact on managers of a two-month, one hour a week, one to one coaching programme in comparison to classroom style training workshops. The training intervention increased manager productivity by 22%. Great result, of course. But by adding the eight-week coaching programme, after the training, productivity increased to an even more impressive 88%. Training and coaching works best then when delivered in conjunction, together.
Doing so sends out a real message that companies are willing to invest fully in their people. They want to see them not only retained but elevated. And, of course, they are culturally embedding things, getting everyone, not just a singled-out few, to walk the talk, so to speak, going way more than skin deep.
Objectives and True Return on Investment
What’s the narrative around female talent retention and elevation at your workplace?
Will you be investing in a speaker to do a short motivational keynote speech?
Or can this be enhanced by additional support, whether through sponsorship, mentoring and coaching, to create and influence real and lasting change?
“Nikki is an impeccable motivational speaker, and an inspirational coach. She takes the time to ensure knowledge is not only passed on, but she also provides practical tools to help implement strategies for growth and success. Nikki is informative, positive, energetic and she really cares about helping other women in law thrive.”
Elizabeth Gibbison, Associate Solicitor at Irwin Mitchell.
To book Nikki to speak at your International Women’s Day 2024 event, please email email@example.com.
Nikki Alderson Biography
Nikki Alderson, specialist coach, speaker and author, and former Criminal Barrister with 19 years’ experience:
- supports organisations, law firms and barristers’ Chambers to retain female talent; and
- empowers female lawyers to achieve career ambitions.
Nikki specialises in 3 areas:
- Women leadership transition and change;
- Enhanced career break returner support; and
- Workplace resilience, mental toughness, confidence and wellness.
She is the author of Amazon No.1 Bestseller Raising the Bar: empowering female lawyers through coaching, (https://amzn.to/3fodKQX) nominee for the Inspirational Women Awards, Champion of the Year Category and finalist in the 2020 Women in Law Awards, Legal Services Innovator of the Year and 2019 International Coaching Awards, International Coach of the Year Category.