Over a decade ago I launched my consultancy, Jane Benston, delivering leadership coaching to women in mid-career roles looking to step up the corporate ladder without burning out or selling their soul, two critical caveats to success in my world view! So, how did I come to be a women’s leadership coach?
Like all good stories, the journey wasn’t all smooth sailing. I help women dig deep from a place not just of expertise but also from experience. I’ve felt that sense of career frustration and resentment. Let me tell you my story…
My about page shares some of the not-so-pretty details about my own personal career journey and path to my role now as a leadership coach for women. I thought I’d share a bit more of the story of how a girl from a sheep and cattle farm in central Victoria came to be working with incredible women from across Australia achieving remarkable feats in their careers, and more importantly, loving their work.
I’ve worked extensively as a women’s leadership coach, corporate trainer and career strategist since starting my business in 2011. Prior to this, I had over 15 years’ experience working in corporate leadership. I experienced first hand the impact of strong, female leadership both on the bottom line of a business as well as from a workplace culture perspective. Today, I absolutely love that I continue to play a part in nurturing female leadership.
My career started as an Occupational Therapist before quickly transitioning to working for 2 incredibly talented strong women in a small but rapidly growing dynamic business, negotiating return to work solutions for injured workers.
Next came my step into the corporate Health and Safety space.
For the first fifteen years or so in the workforce I had regular promotions and new opportunities as I followed a path and climbed a somewhat predictable career ladder. I loved my work, I loved making a difference and I really, really loved how easily the pay rises and promotions came my way!
I was proud of how my income was affording me a wonderful lifestyle – enjoying fabulous holidays and adventures overseas and independently purchasing my first home. My role also included a ton of interstate travel which, again, as a farm girl, never stopped being a ‘pinch me’ moment. My parents also took it as confirmation that their girl had made it!
As my career progressed, my leadership skills and strong results were recognised more and more. I had incredible mentors and cheerleaders who were in my corner, supporting me, advocating for me and encouraging me.
As a single woman without children, my work was incredibly important to me and was closely attached to my sense of self. I was fiercely independent, I wanted to make a real difference and I knew I had the skills and expertise to do that.
Everything was going according to plan, my plan, until it wasn’t.
Enter a corporate takeover which saw me working in a position and a role that just wasn’t me. It didn’t fit. I didn’t fit. I was that proverbial square peg in a round hole, or to use one of Dad’s favourite farming sayings, I was flogging a dead horse. I lost my mojo, my sense of direction and all belief in my skills. With that loss followed my sense of identity. The result? My confidence was in tatters.
Every time I walked through the office doors my heart would sink. It’s a feeling that’s difficult to describe, but one that’s familiar to anyone knowing intrinsically that they’re not where they should be. It was like walking around with a boulder in the pit of my stomach. Happy, fulfilled and engaged at work? I think not!
Here’s the thing with psychological stress – very rarely does it restrict itself to a mindset issue.
My health fell apart. My brain was foggy. My joints ached. My sleep was disturbed, I experienced unexplained dizziness. I’d cry for no good reason. I was EXHAUSTED. Put simply, I felt like crap. All the time.
I made the difficult decision to put my health first and walk away from my corporate career, saying goodbye to a great salary and job security. With my confidence already shot, it was incredibly scary to make that move, but I knew I needed to make a change. I also knew I didn’t want to make that change alone.
My first step was to find a coach to guide me through this huge transition. I didn’t want to just survive, I wanted to thrive… and I knew I was going to have to bare my soul, so the coach had to be someone that could give me a safe space.
The coaching process led me to the world of self-development. I was fascinated by the amazing world of neuroscience, and I invested a ton into my own personal development. I buried myself in every book and course I could find, as well as throwing myself into learning about human behaviour and the importance of empowered feminine leadership.
I learnt the secret code for controlling the inner critic and boosting confidence. I discovered simple language structures for becoming an influential communicator and recognising behaviours that get in the way of success. I applied everything I learnt to myself and in response? Everything changed.
Investing in myself paid off, big time, across all measures.
I was happier, healthier and more fulfilled than I had been in years. I found more confidence, more clarity and more direction than ever before. I loved the person I was becoming – and, for the first time ever, I believed with absolute certainty that I could achieve anything I wanted.
Fast forward to today… and not only am I reaching all my goals, I’m helping other women to do the same.
My corporate experience is backed up with qualifications in behaviour profiling, executive coaching and neuroscience. My approach is fresh, warm and energetic, and I believe in making every coaching experience fun and transformational. I’ve worked with some of the biggest names and brightest minds in Australian business, and helped hundreds of women to believe in themselves, to find their perfect next role and to lead in a way that’s congruent with who they are.
I love helping driven women unlock their limitless potential – both personally and professionally – and I’ve dedicated my career to doing just that. I work with women to get the results they deserve. I’m rarely without fresh flowers on my desk, a candle nearby and a glass of bubbles on hand for when women bring their aspirations to life.
To find out more about working with me, please reach out.