We recently chatted with coaching and negotiation expert Lois Frankel, PhD. We are looking forward to her negotiation tactics morning session with Carol Frohlinger, JD, during this year's conference.
What woman in business - current or former - do you most admire? What has she taught you?
The late Mary Kay Ash, founder of Mary Kay Cosmetics, is a business woman I admire who taught me several invaluable lessons. She started her business with a clear and compelling vision; she knew how to motivate people and engender uncommon loyalty to her and her brand; and she believed that you should treat everyone with whom you interact as if they are wearing a sign that says, "make me feel important." I have put all of these lessons to work in my own enterprise and they have paid off exponentially.
How did you get started in your career?
By taking risks and doing things outside my comfort zone. I quit a prestigious job to start a private practice of psychotherapy, only to find soon after that I wasn't fulfilled being a therapist. As I was pondering my options, a colleague called and asked if I would "coach" someone. This was 25 years ago and there were no business coaches at the time, but I said I would if she would tell me what she was looking for. She said, "You've done training, therapy, and worked in business. Put them together and you have a coach." It changed my life.
What do you like most about your job?
As an executive coach I always treasured the opportunity to work one-on-one with people to help them achieve their goals. As an author and keynote speaker I love to do the same thing but on a larger scale. As an entrepreneur, I value being able to work independently and know that I earn my way every single day.
What's the best piece of career advice you've gotten along the way?
When you need a relationship, it's too late to build it. Time and again, taking the time to build relationships before I needed them has paid dividends.
Why do you think women still have not attained more leadership positions in all industries/careers?
This is a complex and multifaceted question, but I see two primary impediments. The first is the male system that is invested in perpetuating itself. When women begin to make strides the system starts to close again, making it difficult for women to gain access to the most senior roles. The second is women themselves who don't learn the rules of the game, fear being perceived as less than feminine and therefore don't act or communicate in influential ways, and fail to bring other women along with them as they climb the corporate ladder.
What was the last book you read?
Why Men Don't Listen and Women Can't Read Maps by Allan and Barbara Pease. It talks about the differences in how men and women think and respond.
Any tips for work/life balance?
One of the greatest impediments to a more balanced life is striving for perfection. Once you understand you will never be perfect and shouldn't even try to be, you have more time to do the things you really want to do.
Do you have a favorite quote?
Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back... the moment one definitely commits oneself then Providence moves too. Goethe
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