Leni De Goeyse is a Trainer-Advisor Personal & Talent Development at KBC Bank and Insurance in Belgium. Leni also worked a couple of years ago in Budapest as a Lean Coach, enhancing her colorful and complex way of work and methodology listing several creative tools and approaches. Her specific area of coaching and training at the bank currently is ‘Coping with change’ and ‘Innovative/Creative Thinking’. Leni is a dynamic (enter)trainer, motivator, creative brain, out of the box facilitator, storyteller and think-tank. This makes that, next to her full-time job at the bank, Leni is an energetic coach who likes to approach things a little different. Find out more on www.feelingirie.be or www.facebook.com/feelingirie.leni
When I was asked to write an article for this magazine (on the above mentioned topic) my mind went whoopie! This is so cool! I could write hours and hours about this stuff.
By the time my head was stuffed with everything I thought and felt about the topic hardly anything would come out of my pen.
So I did what I very often do when I feel a little stuck. I sought for guidance, I looked for inspiration. I looked up things in some books and looked for articles online.
I’m a bit of a blabbermouth, most of the time my heart is on my tongue and will not hesitate to say what I think. Is this a typical male dynamic? Stereotyping? Then what about this one? Women always want to talk about their feelings. Hm, yeah, maybe we do. But imagine how frustrating it is not finding the words to do that. Is that male? Female? I want to talk about what I feel yet I cannot find the words. Or do I fear the words I’m looking for? Fear the result they might have when I speak them? Do women really care about what and how things are being said? Do men really say what they think and then … that’s that? Case closed?
If only it were that easy.
So how do I see male-female dynamics? While doing my research I was having a discussion on the topic with a male friend of mine. I stated that in my coaching practice I did not see a big difference in the ‘why’ people come to my practice. Often men and women are looking for the same thing when coming to me. They are insecure about themselves, their lives, their choices, their jobs, their relationships. They want to be ‘succesful’ on different levels. My friend countered this and said “I must disagree. In my job I see that men are straight to the point and have a no nonsense approach, a let’s just do this approach. This makes them less precise and more nonchalant. Women on the other hand are usually more insecure in their approach to work, especially when they want to try something new. They think about things more before taking action. Women identify problems more quickly and work more precise.”
And now, this is the actual question, not?
Is something typical for men of for women?
Or are we indeed talking about the ‘dynamics’ and can men and women have both?
In big companies, like the one I work for during regular working hours, they usually ensure a good balance between men/women in certain positions by installing a program. Most of these programs contain the following: a quota (they must hire x% of women on a certain level), a mentoring program (mostly focused on leadership skills), they hire an external party to coach them on ‘gender’ and very often they set up an internal community that sets up activities around gender and diversity. And no matter how we turn it (at least in my vision), these programs are mostly about ‘checking the box’. Showing the outside world they have a ‘gender program’. Focusing on quota and not really coaching an ‘individual’ in their career.
And now we’re getting to the coaching part.
Occasionally something pops up, involving male-female dynamics, I find rather interesting. Like this one.
The ‘man-woman game’ exists out of 88 cards. On each card masculine or feminine qualities are marked. These qualities are divided in 4 domain that are work related (relevant): Do-Be, Think-Feel, Divide-Connect and Shaping-Inspiring.
In itself, the game displays a person's self-image; the practice is that the game functions as a mirror and this is sometimes very confrontational. If a coaching session takes place on the basis of game, a coach can discover value patterns which will allow the coachee to understand the underlying motives and values.
In my coaching practice I sometimes take a coachee outside and we go for a walk in nature. I will ask the coachee to look for something that gets her/his attention and then we focus on that. Why did they choose it? What is so striking? What do they feel when they look at it? Why? Very often nature will be a mirror (just like the cards) for their talents, frustrations, motives and/or values.
Making the link to another part of my coaching is ‘visualizing’. When a coachee has discovered her/his coaching question and the desired outcome we create something tangible, a strong image as a constant reminder. It could be a symbol, it could be something from nature, it could be one of the cards from the game deck they want to focus on more and they ‘see’ what they want it to be in the future. So they can paint, make a collage, write or even make a little something in nature. Actually CREATING that desired future, making it real and visible is a strong step forward.
Below is an example made in nature. A nature collage of YOU. Everything in this piece of work represents a part of you. Talking about it gives a coachee great insight.
So male-female dynamics? In my coaching practice, and hopefully in most other practices, it is about focusing on the coachee, whether they be male-female-transgender-etc., finding a way to help them. It is about the person. Let’s not put them in boxes. Part of our job as a coach is getting them out of those boxes and show them that there is so much more.
Leni De Goeyse