The campaign theme of International Women’s Day this year is Inspire Inclusion: when we inspire others to value women's inclusion, we forge a better world. 
Leadership Coach, Beth O’Neill shares more on why positive recognition and a coaching approach is necessary to lead confidently and inspire, include, and empower more women. 
The gifts I see in you 
I’ll never forget it - the final day of my coaching qualification. I left the conference centre buzzing! Although the achievement was huge, I was actually buzzing about something else... the positive recognition I received from my classmates. They spoke specific, powerful, and genuine words over me that I have returned to time and time again - whenever I need a confidence boost! 
We took part in an exercise called, the gifts I see in you, and it’s something I have continued to use for all my group programmes. The safety, shared experience and support that is created through this exercise provides fertile ground for people to share more deeply and flourish as a result. 
Call out the gold through positive recognition. 
It’s easy to positively recognise people who are excelling, but what about people who aren’t? I love the phrase ‘calling out the gold’ - being intentional about recognising and sharing someone’s unique strengths, attributes or contributions and the impact this has on their work or those around them. 
I once coached a senior leader who shared that she didn’t positively recognise her team, because most of the time they were simply not meeting her expectations. We discussed what would happen if she was to positively recognise them more which included: trust increase, stress release, more acknowledgement of ‘what’s working,’ awareness raising, confidence building and an opportunity to explore the challenges. 
Leadership Coach and Founder of Time to Think, Nancy Kline, promotes a 5:1 ratio of genuine appreciation to challenge, and, in my experience, I’ve found that the more that people feel included and valued, the more receptive they are to receiving challenge. A coaching culture requires both high support and high challenge. 
How to positively recognise people at work. 
“Catch people doing something right” - Ken Blanchard 
Make it specific - Be on the look-out for the gold you see in others and when you notice it, take a moment to reflect on exactly what you noticed and its impact. 
Make it genuine - The impact needs to be genuine. You don’t need to go overboard but make sure it’s clearly communicated. The impact is where the recognition holds the most weight as people take notice when they feel like they’ve positively impacted others (the same goes for constructive feedback). 
Make it regular - Let them know right away, or make a note to share with them at a later date: in-person, via email, in a letter, with a gift etc. You don’t need to reserve positive recognition for the end of projects, on someone’s birthday or when they decide to leave the company! You can choose to do it whenever you like. Team meetings are a great way to do it: celebrate the wins and people’s unique contributions to help people feel valued, included and engaged. 
“Well done” is nice but how much better is: “Sarah, during the X meeting this morning I noticed that you spoke with clarity and conviction around X and shared insightful information which helped us understand the project more fully. As a result, my team would like to do X.” 
Who can you positively recognise this week? 
Inspire inclusion with a coaching approach to leadership 
I am passionate about helping leaders adopt a coaching approach to leadership, unlocking and maximising the potential in themselves and those they lead. 
This April I am launching Women in Leadership, a 12-week practical training programme for female leaders looking to lead with a transformative coaching approach. You’ll network, connect and learn from other women in leadership and work through the 5 pillars of a coaching approach to leadership, built upon the International Coaching Federation (ICF) core competencies. 
As a HR professional you’re most likely already using some coaching skills but if you want to develop as a leader and increase your confidence and effectiveness in coaching, communication and facilitation, join us: https://www.bethoneillcoaching.com/women-in-leadership - I also run CORE Leadership for leadership and management teams. 
Beth O’Neill, PCC is an International Coaching Federation (ICF) credentialed Leadership Coach and accredited C-me Colour Profiling facilitator. Beth helps leaders adopt a coaching approach to leadership through practical training programmes and executive coaching. 
Please enter your email address in the box below if you’d like to hear more about upcoming webinars. 
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