Coaching has helped GSK address the issue of gender imbalance at middle and senior leadership levels, supporting females to become more self-aware and self-confident, among others. The Accelerating Difference (AD) initiative combined individual and group coaching, sponsorship and dialogues. It was put in place after an internal review showed the percentage of women was diminishing at increasing leadership levels. A study by GSK’s Sally Bonneywell analysed multiple perspectives from female leaders being coached, the coaches and members of the steering team of the AD initiative. According to Bonneywell, the overall finding was that the coaching “supported the development of female […]


Companies with a female chief executive or board chair have almost twice as many female board members as those led by men, suggests research by professional services firm Deloitte. The fifth edition of Deloitte Global’s Women in the Boardroom: A Global Perspective publication found that women constituted 29% of board members in companies with a female chair or chief executive, compared to 16% with a male chair and 15% with a male chief executive. Overall, however, despite continued efforts to improve diversity, women are still largely under-represented on corporate boards, the report highlights. The findings show there has been only […]


Nicole Berg concludes this column on gender with a two-part exploration of domestic abuse, a pervasive issue, yet still very much unreported. Part 1: setting the scene This column began one year ago as part of Coaching at Work’s Campaign for Gender Equality. Over the year, we’ve examined gendered personality traits, gender conditioning, expansion into our respective ‘feminine’ and ‘masculine’ ranges, life balance, emotion and social group dominance. Together, these have shaped our thoughts on culturally ubiquitous beliefs – and actions that stem from these – and how we may begin to address these in our lives, the lives of […]


In this two-part series, angel investor and coach/mentor Bridget Connell explores why and how to support women entrepreneurs. Part 1 highlighted the untapped potential in this group. In Part 2, she delves into what supporting women start-up entrepreneurs means in practice I’m passionate about supporting women in business. As I highlighted in Part 1* of this series, women represent an untapped potential contribution of £10.1 billion to the UK economy alone. However, they’re held back by unconscious bias, lack of confidence and access to the right networks. Drawing on my work as an angel investor concentrating on technology businesses founded […]


Men as a group hold disproportionate power and freedoms compared with women. Many societies have group-based dominance, in which a social group enjoys special privileges while at least one other group has relatively little power. Coaching can help dominant clients ‘self-parent’ that critical voice – and instead listen to their compassionate inner child By Nicole Berg I was at an evening networking event some time ago where I met a man called Matt (not his real name). A fellow entrepreneur, he and I were swapping stories and tips, when he brought up the topic of people management. Steeped in my […]


This two-part series explores coaching women entrepreneurs. Part One: Setting the scene. Angel investor and coach Bridget Connell reports By Bridget Connell   The World Bank 2020 Goal of Universal Financial Access recognises that financial inclusion is a critical tool to promote economic growth. Yet universal access to finance has a huge gender gap. Women find it harder than men to raise capital to grow a business and are half as likely as men to start their own. Access to finance is one of the key reasons given. Research by the consultancy firm, Development Economics, estimates that 2.7m women in […]


A two-day workshop, Women in Leadership: Purpose, Power and Presence, with Hetty Einzig and Liz Rivers, examines a new kind of leadership, with women at its centre By Liz Hall I’m in the heart of London with a bunch of sassy women leaders, participating in a coaching programme on developing purpose, power and presence. As we share our experiences of power plays at work, I’m struck by how forceful stories can be. Not only in how they land in the moment when spoken, but in how they take root in our psyches, shaping how we show up, and what we […]


Coaching At Work Annual Conference 2016, 6 July, Holiday Inn Bloomsbury, London With the number of women above director level within GSK growing at only 1% a year, it would take 21 years for women to reach parity with men. However, a specialised internal coaching programme is successfully speeding up the process. The Accelerating Difference programme is the brainchild of Sally Bonneywell, GSK vice president, coaching. Since the introduction of the programme, Bonneywell says there have been shifts in attitudes from male leaders who are increasingly open to recruiting a higher percentage of women. Some 59% of the women have […]


Men and women, from a very early age, are encouraged to express different types of emotions. While women are ‘allowed’ to show their feelings more than men, the latter are taught to ‘man up’ rather than cry. Yet it is socially acceptable for men to show one emotion – anger. How do these gender-specific differences affect our clients, ourselves and our work as coaches? By Nicole Berg As I sit down to plan this article on emotion, it comes to my attention that here’s an opportunity. Perhaps I could write this piece in a more emotional way. Immediately I think […]


Pedal power Liz Dimmock Liz Dimmock, founder of Women Ahead, shares lessons for mentoring and coaching from the sports world. This year she is leading a team of women cyclists around the world. In my last column I wrote about the importance of learning from role models, coaches and mentors. In recent months I’ve had the pleasure of working alongside (and learning from) a remarkable woman called Patsy Rodenburg. As well as playing a unique role at Women Ahead, Patsy is a world-renowned voice and acting coach, a global authority on Shakespeare and a best-selling author. She has worked with […]