There is a popular narrative that women are less confident than men. But is this borne out in the data? Recently, I presented to a group of university students who were members of a Women in Asset Management club. And it seemed to me, in a somewhat troubling way, that the popular narrative that women are less confident than men has become accepted as a truth, one that has even become internalized by young women at a young age.
We set out to tackle this issue and convened a panel of two executive coaches and one executive search expert to debate this issue of confidence, share what they see from their perspective. Kate Grussing works in Executive Search at Sapphire Partners. Kathryn Heslin is an executive coach and management consultant. She is managing partner of Change Associates based in Dublin. Brian Hillery was introduced to me by Kathryn and is also based in Dublin. He’s a partner and Head of Coaching at Eisneramper, a specialist accountancy firm.
Our discussion reveals that lack of self-confidence can be an issue for far more people than we might think, and that it is pervasive among both women and men, at every level in professions and even ebbing and flowing in a career. We speak about how sometimes it derives from the stories we tell ourselves and can manifest physically, and how it can often hold people back from seeking promotions, seeking stretch opportunities and making professional moves. Brian and Kathryn, as executive coaches, speak about the action plans that they develop with their clients to overcome confidence issues – how this can involve visualization, goal setting and small actions to make a difference. Kate shares how lack of self confidence manifests at the job search stage, how different candidates can have different assessments of their own competence and how searching for case studies of achievements and examples can be empowering in shaping an employment profile. Kate recommends building support circles and even a personal Board of Directors which can be consulted in advance of career moves or important milestones. A career in investing is both exciting and rewarding. Girls are Investors (GAIN) is here to inspire girls to get into the industry through inspirational talks, career support and opportunities.