We as women often tend to be very critical of one another as well as of ourselves. Thus, I was surprised about a request by two very attractive middle-aged ladies who asked to be coached together, aiming to develop a more confident demeanor. I was compelled to take a moment to contemplate this request. Was this for financial reasons? Were they unsure of themselves? In response to my asking they assured me that the reason was nothing of the sort. They were merely confronted by the same challenges and wanted to address them together. They hoped to have more fun this way and were confident to reach their goals at a faster pace, as they know each other very well. The two ladies are similar in their presence and demeanor. They are familiar with one another as they have known each other for a long time. Their children are enrolled in the same institutions; the problems and challenges are alike. Only career wise they stopped on different rungs, having suspended their occupations at a different time. One had progressed relatively far in her profession, the other had stopped working at an earlier stage. But after years of intermission the same effect had emerged for both. An Effect that unfortunately occurs often for women who, for whatever reasons, don’t regain a foothold in the professional world, after taking a parental absence from their work-life: their self-confidence tends towards zero. This is also visible in their demeanor. Up until our first session, in which I thoroughly observed the two of them to decide whether a simultaneous couching would be a promising or problematic endeavor, the two of them were funny, humorous, self-critical and forthcoming. As we approached the subject of their current professional situations, however, the ladies fell silent, exchanged glances, their shoulders started to slouch and their backs, that had been bolt upright up until now, turned round. Their body language could hardly have been more evident. Feelings of inferiority resulting from an absence from work-life (often for familiar reasons) are a widespread phenomenon with women. Undoubtedly, our society does not always contribute towards providing women with sufficient appreciation for their achievements as a family manager. Moreover, we as women don’t make it any easier for each other either. If one works too much, it makes her selfish, if one does not work at all, others will either assume one has difficult children who need special supervision or that one has missed the train that would have led to the next station of one’s professional development. After a short pause, one of the two ladies revealed that both occupy distinguished voluntary positions with vast public impact. These high-level positions regularly require speeches before an audience, the conduct of conferences and interviews with the media. The way the two of them now depicted their volunteer-work, praising one another and evaluating each other’s performances, displayed an exemplary gift of constructive criticism. I was impressed. And, after contemplating for a moment, likewise convinced. The two of them did not only face the same challenges, they could also identify with and recognize themselves in the other person. Furthermore, they had a remarkable manner of constructively and honestly criticizing each other. My concerns that a joint session would hinder us from reaching a sensitive stage, due to the women not wanting to lose face in front of their friend, had subsided because of their caring and respectful means of communication. Precisely because they perceived their own flaws in the other woman’s respectively they dealt with these flaws with consideration. The weaknesses of the other did not serve to outshine her but as a mirror to detect the potential for one’s own improvements. Yet incidentally this does not mean that they did not feel any rivalry. It became evident rather quickly that both women are highly ambitious. And because they faced each other as though looking in a mirror, we reached our goal much faster than in several single sessions. The two of them were subject to an astounding transformation and shortly adopted a convincing and authentic outward appearance that proved itself resilient even after the first successful practical tests. Because of their courage to face a comparison and to discover their own potential in the challenges of the other, the two ladies had developed a completely new asset. Their susceptible encounter with their own reflection proved to have been worthwhile, as was confirmed by the delighted feedback from others which reinforces the two women on their newly pursued path.
The author Eva-Christine Bode graduated from an officially recognized drama school and has been starring on different prestigious stages throughout Germany for twenty years. She is the successful producer of many stage plays and screenplays, as well as sought after voice-over artist for audio dramas and commercials. She was featured in several educational movies, among others by the Film Academy Baden Württemberg, public TV stations and companies such as Rewe, Commerzbank and Metro Image. Additionally, Eva-Christine Bode has longstanding experience in teaching, e.g., in „Performing Arts “. She developed highly effective seminars about body language and coaches leading figures and their teams on outward presentation in front of clients, co-workers and supervisors. The optimization of one’s individual impact in the work environment is at the center of her coaching. In aiding clients to overcome stage fright and issues with expression and enunciation, Eva-Christine Bode prepares clients for challenging performances in the media or otherwise as well as for lectures and speeches. Also, part of her repertoire is the simulation of and preparation for job or appraisal interviews. In her "pitch trainings" teams and executives practice the presentation of products and decisive negotiations.