Seven secrets to stronger professional confidence

Highlights from the HBA Atlanta chapter March 31 presentation “Mentoring, Coaching and Sponsorship: How beneficial are they to our career?”
By Jean Hodges, positioning and branding expert; Mentor HBA Atlanta chapter marketing committee volunteer

Isabel Carrion, vice president, US and Canada, and Patricia A. Fritz, vice president, corporate affairs and operations, both at UCB, promote women’s mentoring, coaching and sponsorship programs within their company as well as locally and globally. Highly energetic, thoughtful, astute business leaders, they shared the benefits of garnering support to take your career to the next level at our March 27 HBA Atlanta chapter event.

HBA Atlanta chapter
Presenter: Patricia Fritz, VP, corporate affairs and operations, UCB, Inc.

Before the meeting started, I conducted an informal survey with ten women about what they wanted to get from a mentoring relationship.

  • The #1 reason rising leaders attended this event was to improve their self confidence in being an effective leader and team player. 
  • Other reasons were to gain a balance of work/life and to develop a strategy to be successful

According to Isabel and Patricia, mentoring can help with all of these professional and personal needs. In fact, they state, “mentoring is a development accelerator that can have a higher impact than formal learning.” 

HBA Atlanta chapter

(Left) Nicole Blue, grants coordinator, UCB, Inc. (Right) Alphia Jones, principle safety officer, UCB, Inc.

To get the most from mentoring they recommend:

  1. Ask for what you need. If you need a mentor, ask if your company has a mentoring program or seek someone in the company who is known to be a respected mentor.
  2. Find a mentor who you completely trust. Trust forms the foundation for growth to occur in the mentor and mentee relationship.
  3. Be clear in what you want to accomplish. The mentor and the mentee need to embrace this goal wholeheartedly.
  4. Be self aware and fearless in looking at behaviors/patterns that may be holding you back professionally.
  5. Use who you are naturally and capitalize on your strengths of introversion or extroversion.
  6. Put mentoring on your list as a serious “must do, want to do” professional recharge plan
  7. Be passionate about it. It is, after all, about you, and if you aren’t passionate about yourself, who will be?

A word about coaching and sponsorship:
These are additional tools you can use as part of your strategy to accelerate your career. Coaching is most often used to accomplish a specific individual performance goal. On the other hand, sponsorship is “awarded” to you because a colleague or manager recognizes the contributions you’ve made to the organization and wants to personally recommend, acknowledge and promote you within the organization. Sponsorship, according to Isabel and Patricia, has to be earned, while coaching can be something you seek on your own. 

To get more information about coaching and sponsoring, the benefits of mentoring for the mentor as well as the mentee and how to leverage these tools to recharge yourself and your career, see Isabel and Patricia’s presentation.

Resources to jump start your career confidence:
Isabel recommends two books for women who want to accelerate their career growth through professional reading:

Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg
Dream Manager by Matthew Kelly
My recommendation: Women Put Competence Before Confidence.  
(Take a look at how a man might handle competence and confidence.)

Register for the next HBA educational session “Marriage of IT and Healthcare—What’s In It For You?” on April 24.


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