Nexans launched the Women in Nexans initiative in March 2018 as part of its policy to develop diversity in the group. This would prove prescient, as the COVID-19 pandemic raised the issue of equitable access to career opportunities for women after data showed one in four women considered scaling back their careers to look after their families at this time. As part of their strategy to unlock the potential of women in leadership, the company offers coaching to women leaders, talents and high potentials, in order to encourage their personal development and the evolution of their career.
Mary Malone talks about the stakes behind this program.
CoachHub: Can you tell us more about the origins of this project?
Malone: At Nexans, as well as in many other major industrial groups, matters of diversity and gender equality present significant challenges. In 2018, only 15% of women had prominent leadership positions and 23.7% had management ones. Our aim was to reach 25% of women managers by 2022. To do so, we launched a program to develop the potential and position of women which we called, Women in Nexans (WiN). It was the first time Nexans launched an online coaching project of such magnitude. I am pleased that Nexans’ talented women get to benefit from it. Digital coaching allows us to cover the needs of the entire group as we have participants located all over the world.
CoachHub: What challenges did you want to address?
Malone: We wished to provide participants with more visibility, so they could have the same opportunities as men. It was vital that they be able to position themselves as true talents at Nexans, and that they felt legitimate asking to be presented with more challenges and development courses.
In terms of group stakes, we wished to create and develop diversity in management. We wanted to nourish women’s evolution at Nexans, and really insist on a leadership role for them.
CoachHub: Can you describe the Women in Nexans initiative that CoachHub’s coaching program builds into?
Malone: We started the WiN program in a context of promotion of diversity within the group. Its aim was to be able to make cultural diversity thrive in our environment at an international level. WiN is an internal network whose aim is to boost knowledge sharing as well as personal and career development, all the while raising the stakeholders’ awareness about the determining effect of gender diversity and equity from a business level.
CoachHub: Why did you choose CoachHub?
Malone: CoachHub designed a professional coaching solution that builds into WiN’s work stream on developing a pipeline of women susceptible of taking on leadership and management positions. We launched the project as a pilot for top leaders, to test the platform and collect feedback.
It was then extended to talents and high potentials. The digital approach of the solution offers great flexibility of use and allows beneficiaries to talk with their coach freely, anywhere and at anytime. Nexans can support its participants in their mother tongue thanks to its global reach and a community of multilingual coaches (built by CoachHub).
CoachHub: What results did you obtain?
Malone: The women who profited from CoachHub’s coaching were able to develop their capacity to give positive feedback, manage teams successfully and handle responsibilities more effectively. They were also able to develop their leadership, reinforce their explicit and implicit communication and improve their team’s performance. The participants’ managers also detected an enhanced self-confidence and an increased assertiveness.