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Helen Mason

Women's Leadership and Parental Transition Coach 
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I’m a qualified and accredited Women’s Leadership and Parental Transition Coach, empowering women to find the balance between career and family life that works for them.

My motivation stems from a passion to see more women in senior positions able to embrace their unique leadership style.

The need for better gender diversity

The benefits of a gender diversity in leadership are well documented. It’s not just improved profitability. Better gender equity on senior teams has been shown to improve collective intelligence, drive better team dynamics and infers superior organisational trust.

There has been some improvement in the representation of women on leadership teams in recent years. Yet we still see that as of 2022  only 18% of executive directors are women in the FTSE 250.

The main ‘leak’ in the pipeline of women leaders is at the point where they become parents. Mothers are subject to the ‘Motherhood penalty’ – earning on average 11% less than their childfree counterparts, whereas fathers experience a ‘Fatherhood Bonus' - earning on average 21% more than childfree colleagues. 

Mothers often find their careers stalling or flatlining at this stage with the assumption being that their ambition dampens. I believe this is a misconception. Mother’s don’t become less ambitious or capable once they have children (in fact it can bring a whole new skill set). What they need isn’t less challenge, it’s more flexibility.

Causes of this issue are multiple but boil down to a wider culture that holds outdated gender stereotypes for both men and women. Often women experience the ‘double-bind dilemma’. If they display communal traits, collaborating and including - they’re expected to ‘toughen up’. However if they display directive behaviours, making decisions and taking control – they’re told they too ‘self promoting’.

Often it’s inferred that women are the problem – they are told they have imposter syndrome or experience micro-aggressions about how they balance their career and family. Women are absorbing the faults as theirs rather than recognising that they are operating in a broken system with outdated expectations.

About my style

I work with professional women at all stages of the parental transition journey. I can’t promise we’ll fix the system but we’ll make a plan for you to navigate the gendered landscape and make the career progression you want, be the role model you were always missing and balance that with being the parent you want to be.

I don’t just work with you but also the system in which you are operating. My packages include time with your line manager if appropriate and 360 feedback from peers. You’ll end with a clear view of your own leadership style, confident to take that forward to the world.

My style is relaxed and informal yet challenging. I'll ask questions no-one else has and listen without judgement to all the things that need to be said. I enjoy using physical techniques and find working in the outdoors powerful when weather allows. I will work with you to shift your mindset and move you towards taking action.

I work in both 121 and group settings and can work either face to face or online. See my services page for more on the details and logistics.

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Qualifications and Training 

I have been coaching since 2019 and am accredited by the Association for Coaching (one of the three main coaching bodies) which means I have demonstrated a minimum number of coaching hours, engage in regular supervision (like coaching for coaches) and keep my knowledge and skills sharp with CPD (continuing professional development).

I’m also an NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) Practitioner and use these techniques in my work with clients.

I have specific training in Women’s Leadership from Simmons University in Boston and have completed the Tara Mohr Playing Big Facilitator’s Training. Tara Mohr is an American coach who specialises in empowering women to ‘play bigger’ in their lives by tackling common issues such as inner critic and communicating powerfully. I highly recommend her book Playing Big.

Am I the right coach for you?

You’re pregnant and worried about how you’re going to balance the future when little one arrives.
You‘re returning from maternity leave and your confidence is feeling low after a sustained period away from your role, and you’re trying to find how to balance this new life.
You have young children and have navigated your work and career thus far, but you’re burnt out and need a change to how you live your life.
You’re one half of a dual career couple with children and both you and your partner are struggling to navigate the split of care-giving.
You’re a few years post-graduation and the idea of family is just something on the horizon, but you’re already wondering how you set yourself up for success when the time comes to navigate that path.
You’re a parent or expectant-mum experiencing pressure from well-meaning family or friends implying that you’re not doing ‘enough’ for the family.
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I spent nearly two decades working in corporate marketing roles working my way up to leading teams and ultimately became the Marketing Director for a billion pound corporate veterinary company.  

I was first made aware of the ‘double-bind dilemma’ on a women’s leadership course at Simmons University in Boston in 2017. That realisation lit a fire in me that has turned into my passion for empowering women to be the leaders they want to be rather than who others expect them to be.

When my son was born in 2020 the challenges of balancing a career and being a mother were brought into sharp focus. I often felt like I was doing a mediocre job at both being a parent and a leader and wrestled with the concept of other women ‘having it all’ (newsflash – they don’t).

My belief in the need for more support for women to be successful in senior roles led me to make the leap away from employed life and into coaching. In this field I can work with purpose and have impact in ways that are meaningful to me, including being the parent I want to be.  

In my work I'm able to blend my marketing and coaching experience, empowering clients to work out what it is they stand for, help them value their qualities and promote what they have to offer to the world with confidence. I'll support them to become the working parent role models the world needs. 

I live on the Bedfordshire/Buckinghamshire border with my husband, son and spaniels Stella and Milly. My happy place is walking in nature with my dogs or on horseback and I can also often be found on my yoga mat or out running – doing both badly but they are good for my body and soul!

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