Power Circles: transformative from the start

If you had walked past my desk five years ago, you would have thought, ‘Now there’s a results-driven, resourceful woman who is clearly on top of it all’.

For the most part, your impression of me would’ve been accurate. My tasks were arranged in priority order, my meeting agendas were precisely mapped out, my ways of working were designed to achieve maximum productivity.

However, if you had probed a little deeper, or I should say, if I had allowed you to probe a little deeper, you would’ve found a woman who, while being the consummate professional, was also at a very low ebb.

You would’ve seen a woman who was in so much physical and mental discomfort in various parts of her life that she clung to structure and was white-knuckling it every day as a result.

Less thriving and on top of it all, more surviving under the weight of it all. You would’ve seen a woman on her knees, without the support she needed to get back on her feet.

Accepting coaching into my life all those years ago meant I could, in safety, and as a partnership, explore the reasons behind the highly reactive stance I took, which had nothing to do with my work or colleagues, but manifested in being ultra-prepared and showed up painfully in my body.

The support I got through coaching practice allows me to access the parts of me that know I’m experienced, resourceful and able to connect with others and hold space for my team without a rigid plan. I have tools to draw on which give me access to more choices from a calmer, more self-assured centre.

Keen to further cultivate my capacity as a woman leader, I joined a Power Circle last year. This was the first time in my professional life that I met with other senior women leaders in a space that supported total honesty.

I can test tools, ideas and tactics with other women in a unique group setting. Our shared experiences connect us. Our differences provide us with opportunities to learn and grow.

Gently guided by Eunice, I am always connected to the idea of responding authentically with grace and dignity. Power Circles have given me the space to remind me to be intentional, forward-looking and hold safe spaces for others to do the same. It’s a great act of self care.

One of the great things about Power Circles for me is that it was transformative from the start. The first woman who spoke in the first session was totally honest, frank and raw about her feelings, thoughts and ideas.

It was incredible because it confirmed to me that it was safe for me to do the same. This spirit then filtered down through me to my team who know it is safe for them to do the same. It’s the wonderful, positive ripple effect of Power Circles that you can’t replicate in the same way anywhere else.

It really is an honour to journey alongside them.

What’s next for me? The Fay of five years ago would have a plan. The Fay of today doesn’t know and is perfectly comfortable with that. I know who I am, how to access the resources inside me to access greater choice, to expand and grow freely.

This, for me, is pretty amazing and the fact that I can continue to do this alongside a group of fantastic strong, kind women is great.

If there’s even the tiniest part of you that has the curiosity or motivation to give it a try, you must.

Fay Hitchenor
People Director at a financial services firm

Coaching has been central to her development as a female leader.