Reflections on Coaching for Women in Digital

Coaching for Women in Digital is a 12-month program for talented Executive Level 1 (EL1) female, female-identifying and non-binary professionals in the APS. The program develops digital leaders in the public sector, increases diversity, and contributes to meaningful digital careers.

The Coaching for Women in Digital program gives participants the space to develop leadership skills in a supportive context.

We spoke to 2 previous participants, Moira Richards and Stacey Bishop. They reflected on their experience and the value their participation brought them and their agencies.

Applications for the 2021–22 Coaching for Women in Digital Program are open now. If you are interested, or know someone who might be, visit the program page to find out more.

Moira Richards, Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS)

Moira is the Assistant Director of the Enterprise Portfolio Management Office at the ABS. She found her experience rewarding and inspiring, finding a new network of like-minded digital professionals. The program gave her space to focus on developing her leadership skills in a supportive environment.

Why did you decide to take part in the program?

The program offered inspiring ideas and guidance to help me become a better leader in the digital space. I had a good experience participating in a one-day coaching session with my team many years ago and the idea of a 12-month program with peers across APS was very appealing.

What has the program been like for you? What are the benefits?

It's been a very rewarding experience. The program has had a big impact on my confidence and approach to challenging situations, opening new and unexpected opportunities. It's helped me better understand my leadership style and given me a practical toolkit to draw on. I've also met lovely women who work in similar digital professions.

Why is it important for programs like Coaching for Women in Digital to exist?

It is rare to find professional development programs specifically designed for women. The program provides a safe and positive environment where you learn together, share experiences, and support each other.

Would you encourage others to be part of the Coaching for Women in Digital program? Why?

Absolutely. Coaches deliver engaging sessions and are there for you every step of the way. The format and pace of the program is well-suited to busy professionals. You get to learn a bit of theory, put it into practice and then loop back learnings with your peers and coaches.

What is your top tip for new program participants?

Invest in yourself! The program offers you a unique opportunity to focus on you. It gives you time out to reflect, learn, and become a better leader. The effort you put in you'll get back in results – a gift that keeps on giving.

Stacey Bishop, Services Australia

Stacey is a Senior Communications Manager in the Service Delivery Capability Division at Services Australia. She fell into the program almost by accident, but is glad she did. When she started she was in a difficult work situation and didn’t understand the program, but found it a supportive space to develop solutions to these challenges. It gave her the tools and confidence she needed to move on to a more fulfilling and meaningful career.

Why did you decide to take part in the program?

I was nominated for the opportunity. I had no idea what it was all about. After I started, I felt very lucky to be selected.

What has the program been like for you? What are the benefits?

The program was a challenge for me to start with as I didn’t understand what it was about and I am an introvert. The ‘safe spaces’ the team creates allow people the chance to share experiences and grow in a guided forum. It has provided me the tools, tips and tricks to have meaningful self-reflection and be able to make active steps in my personal journey.

Why is it important for programs like Coaching for Women in Digital to exist?

I was in a challenging working environment when I started the course. It was through these sessions that I started to look at the leadership around me and what type of leader that I was or wanted to be. It gave me the background thinking and confidence in myself to make some tough calls. I have used the lessons, examples and the gained confidence to stand up and be counted. I have since moved onto a great job. I have used the tips and tricks (and increase in self-worth) to go after a job I really wanted – and was successful. I am relishing my new role and others I used to work for have commented on how much happier I seem. I know my output has increased, my leadership is truly recognised and I will exceed in my new area.

Would you encourage others to be part of the Coaching for Women in Digital program and why?

I would encourage anyone to be a part of the course. It is very engaging and it is a wonderful experience to think about you and where you want to go. One of the things I am most awed by was writing my personal brand. It really made me think!

What is your top tip for new program participants?

Make sure you are fully supported by your manager and allow yourself more than just the scheduled session times. You need time to do the activities and reflect to get the most from it.