Developing Tomorrow’s Leaders Today: The Role of Coaching and Mentoring
About This Episode
How do we develop tomorrow’s leaders today? At Skillsoft, we recognize the critical function mentorship and coaching will play in the future of leadership development for the rising leader to the C-Suite. And so, to celebrate National Mentoring Day on October 27th, we’re having conversations with two leaders who are expert mentors and coaches – Caroline Taylor, former CMO for IBM’s Global Markets, and Beth Egan, an Executive Coach and Masterclass Speaker. They break down the difference between being a mentor and being a coach, when it’s best to implement each, and the benefits that mentorship and coaching brings for both the recipients and providers.
Interested in learning more?
- Click here to learn more about Pluma, Skillsoft’s leading digital professional development and executive coaching platform.
- To help your organization develop tomorrow’s leaders today, check out Skillsoft’s Leadership Development and Power Skill Solutions.
- Read more about our CMO, Michelle Boockoff-Bajdek’s personal experience with mentors in her blog “Passing the Torch for RBG: The Ultimate Mentor”
The views expressed by guests are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Skillsoft.
Read Transcript for Part I
The views expressed by guests are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Skillsoft.
Michelle 00:00:13 Welcome to the edge, a Skillsoft podcast for learners and leaders alike. In every episode, we engage in candid thought provoking conversations on the topic of learning and growth in the workplace. And on today's episode, we're going to celebrate those people who play pivotal roles in our lives, in our careers and in our personal professional growth. And these are our mentors and our coaches. And in case you didn't know today, October 27, it's national mentoring day. Yay. And this was started in 2014 by award-winning business mentor, Chelsea baker, to recognize and celebrate mentorship in all forms. Now I, myself am a huge believer in the transformative power of mentorship, and I've had several of my own along the way. I'd love to give a shout out to Kathy calling and nascent, Kathy Colta and Michelle Fitzpatrick. And, and frankly, all of those who followed I've also had the honor of serving as a mentor to others.
Michelle 00:01:15 And it is so rewarding to work with talented individuals and be a part of their growth. All right now onto the facts. Why is mentorship so important? And for those being mentored, we know that the benefits are clear, right? So in an analysis of 43 different studies from the past 30 years, SAP HR research found a positive correlation between career outcomes and mentorship. So compared to non mentored employees, mentored employees, a received higher compensation, B a greater number of promotions, C always feel more satisfied and committed than their non mentored peers and D are more likely to believe that they will advance in their career. But mentorship and coaching are also good for business. 71% of fortune 500 companies have mentoring programs and 63% of organizations use executive coaching to support their leaders. Why? Because investing in leadership development pays off in reduced employee turnover.
Michelle 00:02:27 It also improves business performance, productivity and innovation. And at Skillsoft, we recognize the critical function, mentorship and coaching play in developing tomorrow's leaders. Today, we recently acquired pluma a leading digital professional development and executive coaching platform deepening our own leadership portfolio by adding that individualized coaching component. And so today I could not be more excited to share with you two special conversations with two incredible female leaders on the topic of mentorship, coaching and the future of leadership development. Now it is my honor to sit down first with Caroline Taylor, an experienced international marketing leader and change agent, and oh yes. My mentor Caroline has spent more than 30 years in the technology sector. Most recently as chief marketing officer for IBM's global markets, she's a passionate advocate for diversity equity and inclusion. And in January of 2017, she was appointed an officer of the most excellent order of the British empire for her services to marketing diversity and the prevention of human trafficking.
Michelle 00:03:45 Now, I also had the privilege of speaking with Beth Egan and executive coach and masterclass speaker known as the growth mindset coach for executive Beth brings 21 years of strategic and operational experience with the Coca-Cola company to her role. As an executive coach, Beth combines her business experience with behavioral science as a certified professional coach and assessor to help clients accelerate their leadership potential. And we here at Skillsoft are lucky enough to call Beth a member of the family through her role as an executive coach. Pluma. Now, before we head into my conversation with Caroline, I thought I'd share a little bit of a background on how we became acquainted and how she became my mentor. Now here's a story. So I had joined IBM via the acquisition of the weather company and early on in my tenure at IBM, I traveled to the UK to participate in IBM's world of Watson event.
Michelle 00:04:45 The host Caroline was all inspiring. She was up on stage speaking with customers, thought leaders, as she provided her own perspective as well on the future of work, I was in awe fast forward a few months. And once again, I came face-to-face with Caroline because she was asked to speak with a number of marketing leaders from across newer acquisitions about how to navigate IBM. And she had shared some of her own experiences. And once again, I was mesmerized. I immediately reached out to my liaison, Carol and said, pulleys, will you make an introduction? And she did more than that. She asked Caroline, if she would serve as my mentor, it was life changing. And while I've long since gone from IBM and Caroline has retired from the company, I still seek her guidance. Recently, I asked her a question I've been grappling with, how do you move an organization through significant change, especially as people are starting to fatigue.
Michelle 00:05:47 And she had this to say, stay relentlessly positive, remind people of the why and demonstrate accomplishments already made, employ the nudge theory, get people to move towards something and make sure they feel invested. And then the third, and perhaps the most important look at the change through their eyes change is uncomfortable. And so you need to stay empathetic. And that has helped guide me through all of the change that we've experienced here at Skillsoft. And so I am thrilled to invite Caroline onto the edge for this very special episode. So with that, let's jump in Caroline. Welcome. Thank you for joining me on the edge of,
Caroline 00:06:36 I am delighted to be joining. You would be even more pleased if we were face-to-face Michelle, my friend, but it's delightful to see your lovely face fever wonders of the internet.
Michelle 00:06:45 One day, Caroline, soon, one day, I promise we will be there and it, you know, it is such a pleasure for me to have you on this. It, it, it feels a little bit like what we call here, old home day, connecting and catching up. And, you know, as I told everybody in my introduction, I have been fortunate enough to call you my mentor. And I am so grateful for the relationship that we developed and started, uh, at IBM. And look, it wasn't just that your leadership they are to me was so impressive, but it really was a lot of the work that I I've seen you do outside of IBM, including on behalf of stop the traffic, a pioneer in human traffic, trafficking prevention. And you've inspired so many people to recognize that work. Doesn't always have to be only about doing things, right, but also about doing the right thing.
Michelle 00:07:39 And so having you as a mentor has had a real transformational impact. I don't think I'd be working for a company that had this higher purpose calling without that notion of we can still do the right thing. And so I'm very grateful that you were my mentor. I'm grateful that we stayed in touch and I am thankful for all that you have done. Now I will stop with the kudos, but cause I'm a big fan, but before we jump into the discussion on mentorship, look, I don't think that I've done anything but scratch the surface on who you are and all of the amazing things about you. So why don't you tell us a little bit more about yourself, your impressive career and anything else you'd like to share with our listeners?
Caroline 00:08:20 Sure. Um, well, oh my goodness. I can't possibly live up to that introduction. So, uh, well, okay. I'm going to maybe I'll go backwards. So I'm currently on sabbatical. Um, I've had about 35 years in the corporate world in professional marketing. Um, most recently my, until I went on sabbatical, uh, last year, um, was working as the chief marketing officer for IBM's global markets, which really is that international marketing teams around the world, which was a, an amazing job. Albeit it did mean I spent a stupid amount of time in airports and on airplanes and all of that, but I did get to know people around the world, which is a complete privilege. Um, so I was at IBM for I think 23 and a bit years and did a number of a number of marketing leadership roles there and in the UK, uh, for Europe and then for the global team.
Caroline 00:09:12 Uh, so I'll just play back the thing. Um, I sort of fell into marketing somewhat accidentally many, many, many years ago. I didn't do a marketing degree. I studied life sciences at college. Um, didn't intend to be in marketing, certainly didn't intend to be in technology, uh, dabbled a little bit selling fine wine. That was that, that was a fun stage. Um, built some very useful personal knowledge there. So I've had this extraordinary career, which has just been one opportunity after another and, um, and you know, wherever, wherever I could. And it made sense, I kind of grabbed him with both hands and figured out what I might do with this new, new opportunity, new life, new, new world. Um, and the great thing about doing all of those jobs that I've done over the years, but IBM and other companies has been the opportunity to do other stuff that uses the skills that I was acquiring through the years.
Caroline 00:10:04 Um, so Michelle, you referenced, um, working with stop the traffic. Um, so I chaired their board, um, for seven years. Um, and I've worked with them for sort of seven years prior to that and still actually engaged with them as a strategic advisor. Um, so, and with other organizations as well, along the way. Um, and, and so it's a, it's an amazing opportunity to take your professional skills, um, and develop and develop and develop through different opportunities and different roles at one does, um, and, and apply them to something else. Um, and I think for a lot of us in our careers, we sort of, you feel this tension between, uh, a moral imperative to do something that's going to make the world a better place in some way, shape or form. And the reality of needing, needing a job, um, that is both fulfilling, but also pays the mortgage and all those other things.
Caroline 00:10:57 And actually, I think in this instance, one can have it all in as much as you can have the job that pays well and is fulfilling, but at the same time, you can then use some of your spare time, uh, carve out some spare time, uh, and use that to the benefit of organizations and causes that perhaps in a million years, couldn't afford to pay you what you currently are, uh, in, you know, um, but really, really would value your input, your help, your contributions. So it's been an amazing thing like that. And then I guess aside from that, um, I'm married. I have two up daughters, they're now both married and they each have two children, so I'm a granny. Um, and, uh, and that's probably my proudest role these days. Um, probably my proudest role ever curiously and certainly the most fun. Um, so there you go. I think that it does that kind of give a sense of who on earth this woman is.
Michelle 00:11:54 Absolutely. Absolutely. And, and, you know, you said something that I really, really loved this notion of opportunity taking advantage, full advantage of opportunities that came your way. But then also I would say probably giving opportunities to others, which, which would lead in then to our discussion on mentorship and look, it's October 27 national mentorship day. And I think it's important that we talk about what mentorship is, how it can be effective. And, you know, for me, I think what's most vital is how do you seek out and find someone who is going to be that right fit, who is going to be that support that guide and potentially be someone who can help you with opportunities. Um, but what does that mean really? What, what is the right fit? What makes for a successful and prosperous mentoring relationship? I'd love to get your thoughts on that.
Caroline 00:13:02 It's such an interesting one, isn't it? Because, um, we all have informal mentors in our friends and, uh, and you know, maybe people we grew up with in school, college, um, previous jobs, you know, um, and there are people that we can rely on for help and support and advice. And that's great, but I think one of the joys of mentorship is it gives you an extra, at least one extra human being that you have every right to call upon, uh, for, uh, for, you know, helping support guidance, um, as you've faced whatever opportunity or challenge you might be staring, staring up in the face. So, um, so I think that's that that's, that's really brilliant about it. So the don't have to be somebody you're going to be best friends with. They don't have to be somebody you want to go out for a drink on a Friday night with, they do need to be somebody that you're going to respect because you, because otherwise you're not going to really want to take much notice of their opinion.
Caroline 00:14:01 Um, and that, and that's really important. Um, I think that, I think that, I mean, I'm just trying to think back, cause I've kind of looked for mentors. Um, over the years, you, you look for somebody who maybe has been where you are and has moved through that phase. And so maybe have some life experience that would be valuable. Um, that could be as simple as, um, you've got young, a young family and maybe you're newly back to work after maternity leave. And, and, uh, maybe in that particular moment, you might really value a mentor who was a working mother, you know, or, or, or a working father who has primary childcare responsibility, because some of the little challenges you're going to face and have to deal with may, well, you know, fall into that space, it's finding some of this, that there needs to be some connection, something that you have in common with that person, it might be, uh, it might be that you, um, really would value somebody who to mental you, who may have got past different obstacles and the ones you think you are facing, but nonetheless, um, they they've managed it.
Caroline 00:15:13 And so learning from their experience would be really, really helpful. Um, Michelle, do you, and I, I mean, I, I guess our first connection point was that we both got acquired by IBM at some point in our, in our careers. And, um, and so the navigating of that was a, you know, it was a, uh, uh, uh, a common point that we could start from. Um, so, so I think it has all of those things. And quite often it's reaching out to somebody else in the, in your organization. So I'd really love. I really would like to get a mentor. And these are the things I'm thinking about and is there somebody you would recommend? Um, and then even once you've identified a potential mentor, then it's really important to meet and to have a really open and honest chat to make sure that you both believe you can build the trust that will be necessary for that relationship to be really fruitful.
Michelle 00:16:02 You know, it's funny, I will, I think you probably know this, but the first time I saw you was not, when we were having that conversation with all of the other newly acquired marketing leaders. But, but when I saw you on stage at world of Watson and I, my, my initial reaction was I want to be her. I mean, and I don't mean that in a, you know, it, but, but really this is what I aspire to do. And to be, you were having conversations with customers and with luminaries and, and you put on an event that was so powerful for the organization. And for me, it was this, the type of career that I would love to have. I didn't know who you were as a person until you did come and speak to us. And then I talked to Carol being about you.
Michelle 00:16:50 And, and that, that I think was the moment at which I recognized. It's great to see someone and say, yes, I would love to have her or him or them as a mentor, but is, can we build that trust? And you just talked a little bit about trust, both having it and creating it. And inevitably I think trust is really that magical element that's needed to create a safe space so that the individual who's being mentored feels comfortable, raising problems, challenges, maybe needs to bend. I know you and I had had, we've had a couple of venting sessions ourselves, but then also to be proud enough to share successes, I remember walking into your office one day and I just couldn't even, I was brimming with excitement over something amazing that had happened and I wanted to share it. And so it was a source of pride to be able to do that with you. So, you know what, I think it'd be great to talk a little bit about ways in which you've seen mentorship be successful, but also about those elements that are so in fact critical.
Caroline 00:18:04 Yeah. Um, isn't it, it's so interesting, isn't it? I mean, I've been assigned mentors, you know, in a, in a formal program in my career that were completely pointless and meaningless and had one meeting and never went any further than that, because there wa there was no spark, there was no interest, um, from the, from the proposed mentor, almost like I have to have a mentee. So you might as well be it kind of attitude. Um, I think one of the things that I found is is that if you, as the, as the mentor are willing to be open and maybe share personal or more challenging things that you probably wouldn't share on a stage in front of a hundred people, um, I think that starts to really build trust that willingness to share, um, your own vulnerability, uh, really helps to build trust and makes, I mean, it's almost like, you know, you are giving away not quite a secret, but you know what I mean, a moment of vulnerability you're giving away something of yourself to that person.
Caroline 00:19:08 It gives them the confidence that they actually could do the same in return. Um, and so I think, I think that's, I've found that's worked, um, well to sort of just get that, get over that first hurdle. And then of course, it's, it's conversation by conversation, um, that builds piece by piece by piece, like it does in, in any relationship. Um, and of course the point is to never do anything that breaks that trust. So one of the things I've been in situations where some mentee has wanted to talk to me about something, you know, difficult for them and, and the right next step, as far as I could see was to take it to a another person. But obviously you could only do that with the express permission of the, of the mentee who who's brought you that challenge or whatever. So, um, so I think now that, you know, making sure you never overstep, uh, you know, your, um, your own, uh, role in this, um, um, making sure you're not kind of take over or make decisions for them.
Caroline 00:20:13 Um, I think that's been really, really important. Um, and I just think that the, the mentors I had over the years that really helped me were also people who did, were able to do quite practical things. So sometimes the smallest act can actually make a huge difference. I, I, when I was early in IBM, come in through acquisition, um, I had, uh, I had a great role. Um, I was up for promotion. There was a very formal process in Europe at that stage about promotions. And we went to this promotion board. None of them had the faintest clue who on earth I was, and on that basis, they weren't going to approve the promotion. Um, and so I got assigned a mentor on the back of that experience and he was fabulous and he said, well, we'll fix that one straight away. It's as much on them that they don't know you, but, you know, nevermind.
Caroline 00:21:07 Well, you know, we will let's work with what we've got. So he just started inviting me to meetings that were literally nothing to do with me just, but not even as an observer. Yeah. Because Caroline come in and you can pretend you're a consultant, you know, come into the meeting and, you know, um, and you'll meet all these people. And, um, and if you have something to contribute, then contribute to it, you know, feel free. And like, I, he very rapidly helped me establish a network within the bigger mainstream IBM and the people who would be influential when my promotion, uh, approval came back up again. And so it was a really practical, simple thing that he was able to do by dent of his role. But, but, but, but actually made the most enormous difference. You know, I say sometimes I think a lot of it is about finding those opportunities to, to be seen. Um, I I've spent my career telling people that it's important to be fabulous. Yeah.
Read Transcript for Part II
The views expressed by guests are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Skillsoft.
Michelle 00:00:01 Welcome to the edge, a Skillsoft podcast for learners and leaders alike. In every episode, we engage in candid thought provoking conversations on the topic of learning and growth in the workplace. And on today's episode, we are continuing our conversation on the people who play pivotal roles in our lives, in our careers and in our personal and professional growth mentors and coaches. Now, in part one of this episode, you listen to my conversation with one of my very favorite people of all time. Caroline Taylor, who's an experienced international marketing leader and change agent. Caroline spent more than 30 years in the tech sector, most notably and most recently serving as chief marketing officer for IBM's global markets. Not only this, but I am so lucky to call Caroline my very own mentor.
Michelle 00:00:55 Now, during our time together, we discussed the importance of mentorship and career development and personal growth. But today I want to transition this conversation to the role that coaching plays in professional growth. Now we know mentorship and coaching are both critical to leadership development, but there is an important distinction between these two. And we need to recognize when it's best to identify, to work with a coach versus just having a mentor. And while a mentor takes on the role of being an active speaker supporter in your life. A coach takes on the role of being an active listener. And this is something we are going to dive more deeply into today. As we pick back up with Beth Egan and executive coach and masterclass speaker known as the growth mindset coach for executives, Beth brings 21 years of strategic and operational experience with the Coca-Cola company to her role as an executive coach. And we at Skillsoft are lucky enough to call her a member of our family through her role as an executive coach for pluma our leading digital professional development and executive coaching platform. Beth. Welcome. Thank you so much for joining us on the edge.
Beth 00:02:11 Michelle, thank you for having me. I'm really looking forward to diving into this important conversation today. I am too.
Michelle 00:02:17 Now, before we dive in, why don't we tell our listeners a little bit about you, maybe you could share a little bit about your professional background and then also I think it's important for them to understand how you found and developed this career as an executive coach.
Beth 00:02:32 Oh, I appreciate that, Michelle. Yes, I have a story and I spent, I spent over 30 years in corporate leadership positions, the last 21 at the Coca-Cola company. So I bring that, that frontline leadership experience to executive coaching, but the, um, the transitional moment for me, when I really from leading the business to leadership development, which has become a real passion point for me back in 2013, uh, my kids had gone off to college. I was newly single. I was open to the possibilities and I went on a yoga retreat to Hawaii with my yoga teacher. And there, the yoga retreat was a cohort of coaches. These were all women who I found, spoke to one, another spoke to others, um, solved problems. They had this, this way of connecting and interacting that was so uplifting and empowering. And I said to myself, I want some of that.
Beth 00:03:46 And I actually signed up with an ICF certification to get my coaching certification, not knowing what I was going to do with that at the time, but I immediately began integrating it in my work at Coca-Cola. And I became, I began to be seen as a thought leader as a thought leader. And at the time the new CEO, James Quincy came into the organization and started talking about a growth culture and a growth mindset and culture transformation. And that's where I emerged as a, uh, a thought leader around, um, really shifting from this fixed to growth mindset. And I helped globally with culture transformation and best practices because the CEO believed that top-down wasn't going to do it. It was bottom up, it was creating a movement. And so that's how I evolved into this growth mindset coach at the Coca-Cola company. And then in 2018, the company offered early retirement and I said, Michelle, I'm not ready.
Beth 00:05:04 I'm hitting my stride. I'm really this, this is the most fulfilled I've ever been in my career. And fortunately they give us 60 days to make the decision. And I had to have some tough coaching conversations with myself. And I said, ah, if not now, when, when are you going to step out into the broader world externally and do this work? And that's when I got clarity and made the decision to take the leap. And on my way, I connected with my network at Coca-Cola, who then introduced me to Alexandra Connell, who was the founder of pluma, which is now pluma skill Skillsoft coaching. And so, uh, it evolved for me very organically and in a way that is, um, has enabled to learn and to grow and to really feel fulfilled.
Michelle 00:06:02 Okay. That may be one of the most fascinating backstories truly. I've had the opportunity to hear on this podcast. So thank you for that. I'm completely enamored. I've so many questions, but okay. So let's get, let's get started. I look, I had the chance to watch you speak about your work as the growth mindset coach for executives. And I love that and you touched on growth mindset and at Skillsoft, we advocate for that. We advocate for developing a growth mindset. And we know that research shows you probably know this better than I, that leaders who adopt one tend to be more successful and fulfilled than those who maintain this, this fixed mindset. And you're probably going to have to, you know, we could have an entire separate conversation about all of this, but I think it is important. You know, when we, when we think about leadership development and the role that coaching plays in helping leaders become better at what they do this notion of a growth mindset is so important. So tell me a little bit about where coaching fits in. As we think about growth mindset as potentially the, the future aware leadership development needs to go.
Beth 00:07:12 Yeah, well and growth mindset. Michelle, I define this for my clients. As your skills can be improved. It's a belief that your skills can be improved and are not fixed. And it's based on Carol Dweck's work, the social psychologist out of Stanford university and a growth mindset is a belief. So let's say that in an assessment, your high ambition, but maybe you might be low, um, social interaction. Well, it doesn't mean you can't build the muscle. And so it's a belief that it, you, your skill may not be an eight. Empathy is an example of a power skill that is very often, uh, comes to the forefront as a development area. And it doesn't mean that that, because some people have an eight empathy, um, orientation, some don't, everyone can learn and build the muscle with the tools and the practice. And so I'll give you an example of growth, fixed and growth mindset, um, in organizations, um, in, in a think of that person in the meeting.
Beth 00:08:30 So the person with the fixed mindset is going to be trying to prove themselves because they don't believe they can improve. The growth mindset is focused on improving, always questioning the status quo. The fixed mindset person is going to be focused on demonstrating their skills. They want to be the smartest guy in the room, the growth mindset person focused on developing their skills. And finally, the fixed mindset person, uh, is comparing themselves to others. The others in the room, the growth mindset person is comparing themselves to themselves, to themselves yesterday, to becoming the best, to getting better. So think of the culture change from that fixed mindset and that resistance intention in the room versus the growth mindset. That's so open to the possibilities.
Michelle 00:09:26 And so it sounds to me like coaching can help you even think through how to, how to adopt that growth mindset, because I would imagine a lot of people come to a coach perhaps maybe with a more fixed mindset, not even realizing that they have that mindset and this opens them up a bit. Am I leading though? I feel like I'm leading the witness a little bit here.
Beth 00:09:50 So it is, it is the definition of coaching and coaching is that w that we listen to the client and we listen for, um, what might be a blind spot. And we challenge that assumption because that's where the real growth happens. And so the, the work in coaching is about helping the client to bring new awareness to the forefront. And then with that new awareness applying and practicing and reflecting upon some tools that we might put in place to help with that development. And then the work is to come back with the reflections, what worked, what didn't work, how can we make it better?
Michelle 00:10:38 So it's really interesting that, you know, when I, when I introduced you, I talked about this notion of mentoring. When somebody, when somebody is mentoring, they are actively speaking, they're promoting they're, they're, they're helping, um, they're helping you navigate, but they're doing a lot more of the speaking where you just talked about the fact that coaching is more about active listening. So let's expand here because I think it's important that we talk about coaching versus mentoring versus sponsorship. Um, so, so sometimes I, and I bet a lot of people would think coaching, mentoring, maybe similar, maybe synonymous, but having a coach should be, and is a very different experience. So as a coach, I'd love to hear your perspective on these concepts, like the three concepts and how they differ, but more importantly, what does coaching get or where, and how should you have perhaps all three in your toolbox?
Beth 00:11:38 Yeah, it's, it's a, they're, they're differentiated Michelle coaching, sponsorship and mentoring. They're all really valuable. Here's how I break it down for my clients. Um, it, cause it's important that they understand what coaching is to really optimize the experience. So I consider mentoring to be, um, support. That's a person who can support your career, who can role model. This might be a senior person. It could also be a junior person think about, um, a millennial helping a, um, you know, a gen X really understand the language, the culture, the mindset, the social media. So it could be, it isn't just that rise senior person, but it could be modern. Mentoring could be, could be really anyone who has something to share, but it's support. And it's role modeling in an area where the other person has expertise. So that's mentoring, I'll take sponsorship. Next sponsorship is so important, particularly for our female leaders.
Beth 00:12:50 The sponsor is your advocate. It's your advocate for getting a promotion or getting a growth opportunity. And this is typically an individual, a senior leader with power and influence. The reason sponsorship is so important for, for all, but, but also for our women and our people of color is to have the person in the room. Who's going to advocate for you. Who's going to ensure that when they're talking about potential, we often talk about potential for, uh, people who might look like us. And we talk about, um, performance for others. So, so a woman or person of color might be held to the performance standard while others might be held to the potential, which is a much bigger, broader. So that sponsor is so important, but that's your advocate now executive. So coach, so I like to say in this context that your coach is your empowerment partner.
Beth 00:13:56 If your mentor is support, your sponsor is advocate, your coaches, your empowerment, power partner. Um, I say that because your coach is going to bring an awareness to what strengths are really propelling you forward. And we want to focus in lean into those, what derailers might be holding you back and bring that awareness to the forefront. We talk a lot about perceptions because if those perceive you differently than you intend them to, then there's a gap and you want to make some shifts, some authentic shifts to ensure that the perceptions of others owner in alignment with your intention. So this is your empowerment partner.
Michelle 00:14:43 I love that. And I really love the distinction. So I just, I want to make sure everybody got that meant your mentor is your support. Your sponsor is your advocate and your coach is your empowerment partner. And I love that very simple definition because it makes it so easy to understand, by the way, you're going to love this. And I did not. Pre-seed this, everybody listening. I did not tell Beth this at all, but I met with my, I think she may even be gen Z she's, she's definitely millennial or younger men. I will officially call her my mentor, but we met yesterday so that she could give me some tips and help me through social media. So we that's the meeting I had yesterday. I am going to ask her to be my official mentor now, because I love that notion. And I don't think it's even reverse mentoring. I think it really is. You're getting support from somebody who is an expert in an area and, and she can serve as a role model. So I am thrilled that I am going to go ask this young woman now to be my mentor.
Beth 00:15:52 Ah, that's. That is a great example, Michelle of modern mentoring, reaching to someone yeah. Of, uh, of, of much younger who has a certain lifestyle expertise. Yeah.
Michelle 00:16:07 So, so then let's, so this is a great segue, I think, you know, on the topic of, of coaching and the future, because it sounds like this, this modern mentorship, or, you know, the, the, when we think about where coaching is going, what are some of the trends that are rising to the fore? And I would ask you then how has coaching changed in the past five years? And actually, I should probably say past 18 months, because I would, I would imagine that it's taken on a whole new, um, role for people, this empowerment advocate, this empowerment partner during the pandemic. Yeah.
Beth 00:16:50 It at Michelle, it has add, but group coaching had been growing exponentially even before the pandemic. And it has accelerated exponentially since the pandemic. And, um, it, the, it, some of the trends that have, are, are really at the forefront that, that are escalating, this growth are this idea of democratization, democratizing coaching coaching. Isn't just for the, C-suite, it isn't just for the few, but coaching is for everyone. Everyone in your organization can benefit from coaching. And at, at pluma, we coach globally across six continents, we coaches speak 20 languages. And so it is a really a global trend, um, around this highly personalized one-on-one leadership development and growth opportunity. So it's the democratization broadening and expanding coaching. The second trend is digitization. And while digitization is, is, you know, important and every aspect of all of our businesses, it's enabled coaching to scale. So now the efficiencies of an online platform have now allowed many work coaches.
Beth 00:18:21 I can coach anyone in the world today and I do coach around the world. Um, and so it has really opened up a, um, it's simplified, it's efficient, um, and it is really effective. And you asked about pre post pandemic, and I will tell you that 90% of my coaching was digital before the pandemic. Interesting. And now it's a hundred percent. I just don't go to, to the Coca Cola building for a few of my clients that I have there, but so it had already been going in that direction. And now it is perceived as a really as, as the only way as the best way. It's no longer, um, second rate, but it really is, um, highly, um, that human interaction is so much more efficient on the digital platform. Uh, and then the third trend, uh, we, we call power skills. We've talked about those a moment ago, but it is this awareness that the, these emotional intelligence empathy, you know, the confidence, this awareness is what propels a leader as leaders shift from being doers to leaders. It's about the people skills and it's about inspiring others. And so this, um, this really heightened awareness of the power of these power skills, um, as a leader to motivate and inspire and influence has really accelerated coaching, uh, because those technical skills are what got all of us where we are. It's the power skills that are going to propel us forward.
Michelle 00:20:11 You know, you are speaking my language, anybody who has heard me podcast or talk power skills, it's something that we are such big proponents of here at Skillsoft. And I, you know, I'm a, I'm a firm believer in the fact that while the sort of role-based hard skills help you do things right, it's the power skills that help you do the right thing, which is so essential to becoming an effective leader. And now I want to, I want to talk a little bit about something that I think is important, this notion of confidence versus right. Um, because I think it's fascinating and it really made me think about, um, a topic. I know so many people out there have a sense of imposter syndrome, where we doubt our abilities, where we might feel like a fraud at work. And, and, you know, it's, it's this, I think it's this idea of confidence versus competence. And I think it is something to, and I've talked about this before in, uh, the pink pandemic work that we've done, but it disproportionately affects women as, as compared to their male counterparts. So I'd love to talk more about how coaching women in leadership positions can help move women away from some of these feelings of imposter syndrome, because we know that women tend to feel them more than their male counterparts. You want to touch on that for us?
Beth 00:21:43 Yeah. And Michelle, that's such a, um, it's, it's I see it every day in my coaching. Um, and it's real and the confidence competence gap, the data behind it is that in the gender data behind it, is that when a man is ready for a promotion, when he's about 60% ready, he raises his hand and says, I'm in, I'm ready. Now, a woman, when she feels ready is at what percent do you think?
Michelle 00:22:19 Oh my goodness. I don't know, but I will tell you that I like to do the job before I asked for the job, is that what you're going to tell me?
Beth 00:22:27 That's it it's a hundred percent and it doesn't surprise me. And so that is it. And so I bring the data to the forefront with my female clients. So they can recognize that some people at the table when they're at 60% believe they're there. And when we behave and they observe that we need to be a hundred percent, that's perceived as a confidence gap. And it is, that is the confidence competence, because the woman's at a hundred when she steps in the man's at 60, when he steps in. So that's a competence confidence gap. It's important to bring that to the forefront with my female clients, so that they recognize that, that this is a self-imposed mindset that may be holding them back. And that's what leads to the imposter syndrome because imposter syndrome is feeling inadequate, despite the evidence feeling inadequate. And I see this with my C C suite clients that are so competent, and it is that feeling.
Beth 00:23:36 And, um, and, and that, Michelle's where growth mindset. That's where we really work on growth mindset. And it's about reframing from the, um, I'm not ready to I'm ready enough. And when we reframe, then, then that builds the confidence. And, um, it, it, it really leads to action. Um, but it, it's a lot of work around growth mindset and scenarios around imposter syndrome and just naming it and bringing it to the forefront. Uh, but there's also a third area. Um, it's perceptual that really leads to this confidence competence gap. And it is, um, it's the language we use and there's research done by Dr. Deborah Tannen. Who's a linguistics, uh, CEO brought her in because he was told there were no females ready on the bench. And he didn't believe that he brought her in to do a study. And what she, what she concluded and brought forth in her study is that the language we use it because in our girl play groups versus the boy play groups, the, the boys were rewarded for charging the hill for being the alpha male for being the leader.
Beth 00:24:53 The girls were, were rewarded for holding back and not being all of that, not thinking too highly of themselves and being just holding themselves back and not being sort of all that is, is, was, was the quote. And so, because we learned this language and behavior as children, we bring it into the board room and the perception of a woman who might be saying, well, you know, I I'm really not, um, or who might be starting sentences with I'm sorry, but, uh, that's perceived as lack of confidence. So it's this, it's this 60 versus a hundred percent readiness. It's the linguistics. And then it's this imposter syndrome, um, which is, you know, feeling inadequate despite the evidence. So that's the area in our coaching that we really work on reframing and shifting, and then applying more empowering thoughts and behaviors.
Michelle 00:26:04 I, I love that insight. And I'm, I, I love that definition too, of imposter syndrome feeling inadequate, despite the evidence, because of what that suggests is, women are ready and they are competent, but it is in fact, a confidence issue. And we really need to, we need to teach ourselves to stand up for and be open to new possibilities, even when they're a little scary.
Beth 00:26:37 Yeah. Especially when they're a little scary, because that's where the real growth. I love
Michelle 00:26:44 That. I love that. I feel like this is a wonderful coaching session for me. I think I'm getting so much out of this bath now, before I jump into my last question, I think it would be great if there, you know, if we've all got this toolbox and you're going to fill it with essential tools that we all need now, again, this isn't where we're, we're not, we're not coaching the world, but, but you know, what are those things, those essential tools that you would recommend leaders have in their toolbox so that they can be more effective so they can lead others successfully what what's in our toolbox.
Beth 00:27:17 Yeah. So two things I'll bring to the forefront. One is the behavior change model around a growth mindset. And the theory of the model is that your thoughts impact your feelings, which impact your actions. So you want to shift, catch and shift the thought. So if it's scary, what's a more empowering thought. What's the opportunity. What's the excitement. So shifting from the threat to the opportunity response then shifts the feeling from self doubt to confidence. And then when you have that feeling of confidence, that it impacts the action versus the inaction of the threat response. So the thought impacts the feeling impacts the action. So catch the thought and practice shifting the thought, because that's how you build a new neural pathway to hardwire yourself for confidence and continue to build that muscle. I had a client, Michelle, who, who, when we went through this, um, thought feeling action, she said, oh, it's like snowboarding.
Beth 00:28:34 If you lean your shoulder into the hill, your body follows. And I love that analogy because if you shift the thought, your feelings and your actions follow, so it really simplifies this behavior shift, this mindset shift to that thought catching and shifting the thought and allowing the feeling and the action to follow. So that's that the first and that can be applied to so many things. The second tool in the toolbox is listen and respond with empathy. And that is so powerful. One of my clients called it magic the other day. It, because it is being fully present, it's listening to the facts and the feelings. So you have a sense of where the other person might be coming from so that you can connect with them in a way they feel heard and understood. So number one is be present fully present, listen, to understand, not to respond, uh, listen for the feelings and the facts. So you understand their perspective from their point of view. And three ask, don't tell, follow with an empowering question, not go do this, or here's how I would do it, but follow with an empowering question. So how is that going to move your business forward? Whatever the question might be, but listening and responding with empathy, builds, trust, influence, and inspires others. And it really is a powerful tool.
Michelle 00:30:17 You know, I know that we haven't been on for very long, but I've learned so much and I love all of this guidance and I encourage everybody. You know, I'm going to go back and listen to this again. And again, because I think there's a lot of wisdom here and a lot of real, tangible guidance that can be applied in the now. So thank you, Beth for that. And I I've been taking notes as I'm sure you've seen and not everybody can see us. Um, he, you know, we don't have that. We don't have the visual today, but, but I have been taking notes furiously, and it's been such an incredible conversation. Now I do have one final question and I've asked this of all our guests since I started as it's actually a three-part or so you kind of, you may, you may need to take a note, but, um, as we reflect on the past year, we've all had a different experience when it comes to the impact that the pandemic has had on our lives. So the question is this number one, what have you learned about yourself in the Pendo during the pandemic? Number two, have you applied what you've learned in the flow of work and the flow of life, and then finally, what advice might you share with others based on that knowledge? So what have you learned, have you applied it and what advice would you give?
Beth 00:31:34 What have I learned? How would I apply it? What advice would I give? And Michelle, I am the first to say that I am a work in progress. This is a lifelong journey. Um, and the pandemic, you know, what I, what I really learned is it's okay to slow down. I am an extrovert, I get energy from people. I have an active social life, um, social and business travel, and all of that has, has come to a halt. And so what can I do? I've learned that it's okay. I have filled that. How have I applied it? I feel that with, with home family and self, um, at home, we bought a new home we're renovating and, um, it just really putting our resources into just, just creating this nest, um, in terms of family, my partner, Paula, and I decided to get married recently.
Beth 00:32:42 and that really, that really came out of, I did have a, I did have COVID I had, uh, a mild to moderate version of COVID. I lost a brother-in-law from COVID. And so we thank you. And so we really looked at what matters most and how we want to live our lives. And so that's a commitment that was scary. That is now just really the, the, the, um, uh, the, the, the beautiful thing to do. Um, and so w just working on the home and evolving in, in, um, in my relationships and I'm experimenting at work, um, I've just taken on a role as a recruiter with Plumas. So I'm helping to find coaches globally, which is work. I never thought I would. I never thought I would do, but I absolutely loved speaking to these wonderful, brilliant people globally. So that's my current state, um, of applying what I've learned, um, in the slow down, um, my advice is to adapt, continue to adapt, to change, continue to find opportunities to learn and grow from it. I love what I, I saw a quote from, from Darwin. And he said that, that, and he's talking about the animals, of course, but he said, it's not the smartest or the strongest who survived, but it's the most adaptable. And so it's, it's yeah. Just continue to adapt and find the real joy in the challenge.
Michelle 00:34:24 Yeah. I love that, Beth. Thank you so much. It has been a tremendous pleasure to have you on the edge.
Beth 00:34:33 Well, Michelle, thank you. And I am so privileged to be able to talk to you and to speak out to your audience about the value and power of coaching
Michelle 00:34:49 And, you know, look, great leaders never stop growing, no matter their job level or title or the amount of success they achieve. And even as a chief marketing officer, I still rely on mentorship and coaching to help me learn and grow and become a more effective leader. And throughout my life, I've had the wonderful pleasure of meeting with people like Caroline and with Beth. And I I've come to see that we are better together. So I'm going to leave you with this. If you don't already have one, Caroline told you find a mentor, also find a coach or find a sponsor who can serve to support you on your professional and personal journey. And if you have already marked the path, reach out and invite someone to learn from you and what you've experienced and to our listeners, thank you for tuning into this and to every episode as we unleash our edge together. And on behalf of the entire Skillsoft team, we encourage you to keep learning, keep growing and in light of our conversation today, consider reaching out to those people who have supported you on your journey and share your thanks in honor of national mentoring day, I'm Michelle BB. This is the edge until next time be well.
About Our Guest
Caroline Taylor is an experienced international marketing leader and change agent. After an early career in Fine Wine Retail, she has spent more than 30 years in the technology sector, most recently as Chief Marketing Officer for IBM’s Global Markets, gaining deep experience of transforming organisations and developing teams across the globe.
Caroline is a passionate advocate for diversity and inclusion; as an executive sponsor for Gender inclusion, a proud LGBT+ Ally, and an active coach and mentor.
Caroline is a director and trustee of Oasis Charitable Trust, a community and inclusion focused charity, and was previously chair of the board of trustees of Stop the Traffik, a charity which is pioneering intelligence-led prevention of human trafficking. Caroline also has a long standing personal and professional interest in sustainability issues, and in 2009 led IBM’s founding partnership with Start, HRH the Prince of Wales’ sustainability initiative.
In the January 2017 New Year Honours Caroline was appointed as an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE), for services to Marketing, Diversity and Prevention of Human Trafficking.
Caroline is a Fellow of The Marketing Society, a Marketing Week Top 100 Most Effective Marketing Leader, and a frequent keynote speaker and commentator on a wide range of interests across marketing, diversity and inclusion, and leadership.
Caroline retired from IBM in April 2020 and is currently enjoying a sabbatical before starting her next adventure.
About Our Guest
Known as The Growth Mindset Coach for Executives, Beth brings thirty-five years of strategic and operational business experience to executive coaching. She is passionate about helping clients reframe thoughts and shift mindsets to accelerate their leadership potential, create innovative solutions and lead with confidence.
Ms. Egan’s business experience includes building flagship brands, managing P&L responsibility, and developing capabilities with industry leading Fortune 100 companies. She integrates her business acumen, an MBA, and Professional Certified Coach (PCC) credentials to advance leadership development with Director, VP, and C-Suite executives. Ms. Egan has strong expertise in Executive Leadership Development, Coaching for Emotional Intelligence, and Advancing Female Talent.
Prior to becoming an Executive Coach, Ms. Egan served in various leadership roles at The Coca- Cola Company for 21 years. She was an advisor to the Global Transformation Leaders Forum for the Office of the CEO, inspiring large-scale adoption of behavior change initiatives including Agile Methodology, Organizational Growth Mindset, and TED Talks for Business. She has also built Marketing and Commercial capability, led planning and execution cycles, developed brand strategies, and created innovation pipelines. Beth volunteers her time to coach first generation/immigrant college students on culture and transition.
Coaching and leadership development engagements include Starbucks, Uber, Adobe, UPS, The Home Depot, The Coca-Cola Co., Raymond James Financial, Somos, EY, Capital One, Walmart, Nestle, Cox Enterprises, Merck, Atrium, Eaton, LabCorp and Adecco for leaders across the Americas, Europe, Asia, and Africa.
About Our Host
As Chief Marketing Officer, Michelle leads a global marketing organization, focused on transforming today’s workforce for tomorrow’s economy. Since joining the company, she has been responsible for Skillsoft’s global marketing strategy, which includes generating awareness, driving preference, and building affinity for Skillsoft. Additionally – and perhaps most importantly – Michelle serves as the company's brand evangelist, helping to build a vibrant community of passionate learners.
With more than 25 years of marketing, branding, and strategy experience, Michelle has made it her personal mission to support the advancement of women in business. Prior to Skillsoft, she served as Chief Marketing Officer of IBM Watson, where she was instrumental in developing the first “Women Leaders in AI” program, which honors women who put AI to work across industries and around the globe. She also served as the global head of marketing for The Weather Company, an IBM Business, helping companies understand how to anticipate, plan for, and ultimately make better decisions – with greater confidence – in the face of weather.
Michelle is a prolific speaker on a range of topics, including the war for talent, digital transformation, and marketing in a post-pandemic world. She covers these topics and more as the host of Skillsoft's podcast, The Edge, now in its second season. She has authored countless papers covering a range of business and marketing topics, was at the center of Skillsoft’s leadership role in DEI through free “Leadercamps,” and has taught two Percipio courses on the Pink Pandemic and Public Speaking.
Michelle is also a founding member of CMO Huddles, a group dedicated to bringing together and empowering highly effective B2B CMOs to share, care, and dare each other to greatness. Michelle holds a Master’s degree from Simmons University and sits on the pro side of the Oxford comma debate.