Ansa Javed’s career is a resounding success. Previously with Mercer, Nestlé, O2 and HSBC, she’s worked hard to become a trusted, senior executive with a leading global financial services company. Yet Ansa kept receiving feedback that she needed to elevate her communication in leadership meetings - and be more succinct. The trouble was she didn’t know how to do it.
Seeing the value
Ansa wasn’t seeking a coach when she attended a workshop Susan ran for the Association of Foreign Banks. Indeed, she’d never heard of business voice and communication coaching. But Susan’s short session was bursting with practical exercises.
"I could immediately see the value in what Susan was sharing and how I could use it. She has a lovely calming presence and I loved how comfortable she made her audience. Her communications style is fabulous. I guess what she said really resonated with me that day. I had to convince myself first and then my bosses, but eventually I got the green light to go ahead and explore," says Ansa.
That exploratory journey started right from the outset, with clear objectives which spanned
everything from handling challenging communications; flexing communication styles; improving confidence as a presenter; establishing leadership style; and reinforcing brand presence.
"Getting to the answers was emotive because I was having to understand what was driving my thinking and behaviour. I didn’t realise how much I’d need to open up to help myself. I think for many people there’s always a ‘work’ self and a ‘home’ self. To get beneath what was driving my reactions it was impossible to separate the two".
A relationship of trust
Bringing down barriers between her personal and professional realms was one of the most challenging but important aspects for Ansa. "It’s critical you find a coach you can build a relationship of trust with. You don’t want to be holding back because, if you do, you are holding back help. You have to be brave enough to truly open up. When you do, the benefits are inestimable. I was fortunate I found that trusted coach in Susan. I think we were destined to work together."
"Just the process of talking through my experiences would often enable me to find the answer from within. But Susan has a great way of extracting answers from you. She also offers tips and tools that may seem small but are incredibly powerful."
Being brave and trying things
Ansa admits to being hesitant about putting some of these tools and techniques into practice at first. "When I was outside that safe coaching space and my actions mattered, I doubted myself. That little voice would creep in and tell me: ‘This isn’t working’. But I was brave and tried a few things, determined to get a better result in those leadership meetings. What I quickly saw was ‘this is totally working’. Then my confidence grew. The more I did, the more positive feedback I got."
In 2021, Ansa moved to a more generalist HR role, with a broader range of stakeholders and a greater focus on her communications. She worked with Susan to ensure a smooth transition.
“I think coaching is helpful at different stages in your career. The results weren’t just evident to me but those I worked with. So, when I knew my role was to change, I could see the benefits of embarking on coaching with Susan again. When others started noticing a positive change, that became the motivation to continue to be brave, to use these tools and carry on. And the impacts are lasting. I’ve moderated external panels – something I would never have previously had the confidence to do."
In 2022, Ansa was promoted to Senior Vice President, Head of International Compensation and Benefits. "What’s been great is I’ve made tangible progress over a very short space of time. I’ve seen a direct correlation between my time with Susan and improved results."
Want to communicate with greater confidence, authority and presence?
I offer five online business voice coaching solutions to suit different needs and budgets. All are designed to give you tailored advice and support. Whether you’re preparing an important interview, pitch, appraisal, meeting, conversation, project or presentation, or just want an objective opinion on how you come across, I’ll give you perspective, feedback and practical things you can do straightaway.