When the COVID pandemic struck, it changed the landscape for everyone, none more so than for Frederique Dennison, Microsoft Alliance Lead at Avanade Accenture. At the time, she was a well-respected General Manager at technology consultants Six Pivot.
Fred always placed a high value on culture and team, so when she found herself questioning her own performance, she knew she needed to take a different approach.
The pressure she was putting herself under affected her behaviour and undermined her confidence, so she reached out to Vannessa McCamley from Link Success for coaching and guidance.
A structured program
Partnering with Vannessa, Fred participated in a 90-day coaching program, leveraging brain-friendly neuroscience evidence-based tools and strategies to support her learning journey. Vannessa’s structured and empathetic coaching style enabled Fred to draw out the solutions that lay deep within herself and provided her with models and frameworks that are easy to use beyond the end of the program.
“What I discovered really quickly is Vannessa’s incredible ability to listen and adapt to the conversation that she was bringing out of me. The structure she had put in place would help us be rigorous and measure, but at the same time, all the progress we would measure together would come from within me. And that was a really important thing. That’s a takeaway that I can take away and keep with me after the program.”
Fred also appreciated Vannessa’s human approach, a combination of love and passion supported by science in a very programmatic approach.
Core skills for success
During the program, Fred was able to identify specific skills that were important to her, what she was doing well and what skills she should focus on developing. By focusing on 2-3 core skills to develop, relevant to her role and industry, Vannessa was able to tailor each coaching session to help Fred achieve her goals. She also helped Fred reposition her professional and personal goals and align them so she could show up authentically both at work and home.
Fred also appreciated the accountability built into the program, which is very structured and easy to follow. After each session, Vannessa provides a detailed coaching report that clearly articulates the next steps, breaking them down into bite-sized pieces. This makes it very easy for everyone to be on the same page and aligned on the agenda for the next session.
Fred lets go of fear, uncertainty, and doubts (the Imposter Monster)
The biggest impact Link Success has had on Fred is that it gave her the confidence to let go of fear because she came to the realisation that she had the power within herself all along.
“It is all within me. But by being the orchestrator of what you want to achieve, you are not living someone else’s life. That’s when you realize you can let go of fear. By knowing who you are, what you can do, and doing your best (it doesn’t have to be perfect) every day, you can let go of all kinds of situations that your mind created. You can just remain very clear on what you can control, not worry about what you can’t control and let go of the rest. It’s that simple. “
That’s not to say she doesn’t have doubts from time to time. The difference now is that she can quickly recognize it for what it is. “I feel like I’m wasting so much less time than before. I’m much more aware of that crazy mind starting to tell myself stories. I just recognize it for what it is now. And I use the little tricks that we put in place when we were going through the program.”
Fred has embraced the concept of creating space with techniques to help her achieve clarity. These include journalling, which she views as a time for reflection and even, in some instances, celebration, running to seek clarity when she’s faced with a problem to solve, and thirdly, she doesn’t take herself too seriously. She allows herself (and others) to be human and with a motto of ‘always do your best’.
When asked how the program has impacted her, Fred says it’s been a game changer.
She is now an orchestrator of her destiny. Through the program, she has learned to let go of fear rise in times of challenge, even if it’s difficult and she doesn’t have the answers. Fred now understands the value of neuroplasticity and has the courage to try new behaviours, leverage her new skills to seek clarity and build more authentic relationships.
“At the time, I was so concerned about my own performance that I was imposing behaviours on me that weren’t me. The impact on my team wasn’t great. With customers was probably mediocre. And suddenly, even at home, my impact wasn’t great. The moment I realized it was all within me, it’s not about changing who you are.
“I had the power to recognise who I was, and I was just enough. But I probably had to change a couple of things to achieve something that was with my own strengths according to my own goals that I was setting”.
The impact on her personal and professional relationships is remarkable. “People around you, whether they are work connections, team connections, customers, neighbours, husband, children, totally see through that. It comes across very, very clearly when you are happy or not comfortable with yourself. When you are comfortable in your own shoes, not trying to be something that you are not, you provide the space where people want to be a part of, and it’s just a lovely experience.”
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