In a city as big as Toronto, with its millions of people, it is ironic how very alone one can feel at times. It’s hard to feel a sense of community. The truth is, we are surrounded everyday by incredibly smart and talented people who are eager to offer support to those who need it and are willing to ask. The final Women in Tech Coaching Circle workshop for 2018 – “Build and Leverage Your Bench Strength” – was about empowering each other to create a community of support for ourselves. Each of us had the opportunity to name an area for growth and explore who to ask and how to ask for support. No one is in this alone!
There are dozens of areas I could choose to grow…how do I pick one?
Start by answering these questions about work:
What do you love to do that you are amazing at?
What do you like to do that you’re good at?
What do you dislike doing that you’re also good enough at?
What do you hate doing that you’re terrible at?
The answers to these questions hold the key to the one area that would have the greatest impact on your growth. And be very honest with yourself. The area you want support in doesn’t have to be in the “hate/terrible” area. Maybe you need more support in the “like/good” area or even the “love/great”! Go with your gut. And ask yourself “If I focused on this area – what would it give me?”
Who do I ask?
Now that you’ve identified your area for growth, it might be clear who to ask for support. Who is amazing at the thing in which you need support?
Not clear yet? Start with the ideal! What would your perfect “bench” look like? Who would it include? Ruth Bader Ginsburg? The Dalai Lama? Michelle Obama? No matter who you choose ask yourself, what would it give me to have access to them? What kind of support would I ask for? These types of questions will help you begin to create clarity around who you need and what you need.
Okay, so now what? Start with the person sitting right next to you – a leader or colleague you trust. Simply sharing with someone where you want to grow and the types of people you need to support you could get you pointed in the right direction. It might even open a floodgate of people and resources!
How do I ask?
Congratulations! You have now identified one or two people you want to approach to ask for help. Time to prepare. Grab a notebook and jot down the answers to some questions.
Who is this person?
What’s my intention for them?
What do I hope to accomplish?
What might be a benefit for them?
Would they be open to supporting my growth?
The point here is to get clear on what exactly you are asking of them and how you see this relationship benefitting the both of you. And work on the next steps together! Allow the other person to offer how they can best support you. Make sure to close the feedback loop, when and how can we follow-up with one another? And finally, thank the person!
It’s easy, right?
Sure! It’s not hard to ask for support. And putting ourselves in the vulnerable position of asking for help can feel uncomfortable. And that’s okay. We encourage you to reach out and build your bench even if it feels uncomfortable at first. The reward is that, together, we can have an even greater impact on the world than we could alone.
As 2018 draws to a close, our team is reflecting on what we’ve accomplished together. We have hosted 8 workshops and welcomed almost 100 amazing women into this community – 99 to be exact! We are so grateful to you for showing up and sharing your strengths, your challenges, and your insights with us. All this talk of bench strength and community has us wondering what’s possible for the Women in Tech Coaching Circle community in 2019? There is such a wealth of knowledge and experience and we’re starting to ask ourselves, how can we leverage each other even more in the coming year? Thanks for joining our bench! We’re excited for what’s to come.
If you’d like to dive deeper into this topic, here are some extra resources for you to check out!
If You Want it Done Right, You Don’t Have to Do It Yourself by Donna M. Gennett (Book)