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Inspire Inclusion with Positive Recognition

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. This blog reveals why positive recognition and a coaching approach is necessary to lead confidently and inspire, include and empower women in your world and workplace.

a woman holding up a mirror
Ethically hand-crafted Recognised mirror

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 at the MOE Foundation. 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 practically use positive recognition

“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.”

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. Inspire, empower and positively influence others and unlock your greatest leadership potential. I also run CORE Leadership for mixed leadership and managements teams.

Who can you positively recognise this week?

For International Women's Day we held a Women in Leadership workshop at SMUK London and partnered with Recognised - a jewellery and gifting organisation that supports powerful causes. All the women at the event received a beautiful hand-crafted mirror (see image above) with a personal message to positively recognise them in their value and strength as a woman.

The Recognised brand give recognition to individuals, causes and charities to raise awareness, spark conversations and bring solidarity. If you're ever looking to positively recognise a woman in your world or workplace with a gift, we recommend looking up the Recognised collection.

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