We often idolize those, who are in a position where being influential and inspirational is evident. Seldom do we comprehend or try to fathom the immense amount of effort, sheer dedication, unwavering commitment and a prolonged strife that person had to endure to reach there.
When it comes to considering or acknowledging women on such positions, why do the aforesaid requirements become tenfold? Even though the gender gap pertaining to pay and position is being fought against, it still lies dormant and is evidently becoming a hurdle for women with significant potential.
To seek and bring into spotlight, such women who’ve successfully overcome barriers of biases, misogyny, baseless gender pay gaps and many others, and have redefined benchmarks in their respective work spheres, is what this issues, The Most Influential Women to Watch, 2019, aims at.
In this endeavor, we came across a plethora of women who’ve built businesses from scratch and shouldered the foundations of organizations, and dedicated their personal and professional lives to make the world a better place. One amongst such profound and prolific women is Jane Adshead-Grant, an Executive Coach, a Facilitator, and a Speaker.
Jane’s journey began at 20 years of age after she left secretarial college and entered the workplace. With the caring leadership of Francesca, PA to the Chief Executive of an International Investment Bank, Jane learned what it took to be a professional, to care about the people she worked for, and to care about the work she did.
She was inspired to develop, to learn more and to seek out opportunities, but not in a way one would imagine. She left her job after 3 years, rented out her flat and bought a ticket to travel the world and for the following 14 months, travelled the world. She met some amazing people, had some fun and meaningful jobs, and learned loads. It changed her life. It changed how she connected with people. This experience taught her about culture, difference, appreciation, connection, hard work, living out of one’s comfort zone, resourcefulness and resilience.
After she became a mother of two children, Jane set up her leadership coaching practice and continued with her journey. With the responsibility of her motherhood on her shoulders, taking a post graduate diploma in psychological coaching and developing her business meant that she had to make sacrifices. She continually juggled priorities, continued to learn from her mistakes and continued to grow her skills and experience.
Today, Jane is a Master Certified Coach with the International Coach Federation; one of just 4% at this level globally. She was awarded ‘Best Executive Coach in South East England in 2016 and 2017’.
“I am fortunate that my practice continues to grow year on year where I have the privilege of working with some incredible clients; those who are keen to develop people-centric leadership and cultures to grow themselves and their people to grow their business,” Jane expresses.
Jane’s current and former clients work within Deloitte, Columbia Threadneedle, Rothschild, Unilabs, Bank of Montreal, Punter Southall, KPMG, Charles Russel Speechley, MunichRe and the 5th largest Housing Group in the UK.
Jane is of the opinion that the role and responsibility of leadership is critical not only for business but also for team members, customers, and our communities, in fact all stakeholders in business.
“I believe as a leader it begins with you, how you see and accept yourself,” states Jane. She considers that without this clarity one may be more susceptible to being distracted, taken off course even, and following routes that don’t fit with where one wants to go and feel like their confidence is being eroded. “Understanding who you are as a leader is to think about your values, your unique capabilities, what you stand for, and knowing why you do what you do is critical,” adds Jane.
The vital attributes according to Jane that make outstanding leaders, include their capacity to care about all stakeholders, have courage; willing to be vulnerable and who seek to create value not just for the business itself but for team members, the community, the markets within which they operate and the impact on the environment.
When it comes to working with clients, as a coach, Jane’s approach is to generate their own independent thinking to solve their own issues and challenges and create their own opportunities. In this way, Jane believes that value is self-generated, deep seated, transformative and owned by her clients, rather than being dependent upon her ideas.
As a leadership facilitator, Jane helps leaders, teams and organisations create cultures that grow people and performance in harmony. Where individuals feel connected to the organisational purpose, where teams have a voice in how they work together in service of their goals, where leaders build trust and grow their team members recognising both who they are and what they do as human beings, rather than solving their problems for them and seeing them simply as a function.
Creating More Leaders
In her recommendation to the emerging generation of leaders and influencers, Jane says, “Invest in a mentor inside or outside of your organisation and learn from them. Observe the behaviours in leaders who have the greatest positive impact and witness how they are being and what they are doing. What questions do they ask? How do they listen? What do they care about? What or who inspires them? What legacy do they want to create? And then, begin to develop your own brand of leadership. One that is true to you and one that is in alignment with your values.”
A prominent question that Jane would invite aspiring business women to think about is, if they knew they couldn’t fail what would they do now? She encourages women to trust in their unique qualities, capitalise on their strengths and seek out others to who will mitigate their less developed capabilities.
Jane believes that every day she learns something for her own personal or professional development. She envisions her future together with her husband, inspiring their two teenage daughters, producing a second edition of her book ‘Are you Listening or Just Waiting to Speak?’ and contributing more to her local community.
Jane also envisions inspiring others to develop cultures where everybody matters through her coaching, in-person and online training programs and open workshops.