Your Brilliant Career Podcast

The go-to resource for getting the most out of your career

This podcast provides an injection of energy and practical insights to women who are committed to their career. I share tactics, tools and stories that inspire capable women to think bigger and unapologetically achieve the success they deserve.

One of my early realisations was that there are many unwritten rules about career success that no one tells you. Smart women are tired of generic career tips. They want accessible, relevant and practical tips. Each episode includes content that inspires women to step up in their career and experience the energy and reward of being more.

Your Brilliant Career is a podcast that aims to help more women rise and reach new heights in their career.



Antonia Bowring is a top executive coach from New York city and author of "Coach Yourself! Increase Awareness, Change Behavior, And Thrive".

In this conversation, Antonia shares some down-to-earth strategies and frameworks for DIY coaching, such as the importance of being clear on your values and using them to steer your long-term goals and everyday decisions. And while not everyone has access to a career coach, Antonia has plenty of advice on how to tackle those tough conversations with poise, or perhaps help you become the leader you want to be.

Antonia shares many frameworks in her book, but in this conversation she touches on the Gap Framework, an excellent tool for focusing on your personal growth to take you from where you are now to where you want to be.

Antonia is an absolute delight to listen to. She’s generous with her personal stories and knowledge and she is so full of energy. Be sure to stay until the end for some really valuable advice!

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Links we talked about on the podcast include:

Antonia Bowring on LinkedIn

Coach Yourself! Increase Awareness, Change Behavior and Thrive -- buy the book from Amazon

Antonia Bowring 963 on TikTok

 RISE Accelerate program

FREE GUIDE: Confident, Not Cocky: The Executive Woman's Guide to Strategic Self-Promotion

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Your transcript

Gillian: [00:00:00] Well, it's not very often you get to interview one of the top coaches from New York city. Yes, that's right. Antonia Bowring is a new friend in my professional world. And she asked to come on the podcast to talk about her new book, Coach Yourself: Increase Awareness, Change Behavior, And Thrive. Now I'm a bit picky about people coming on the podcast with books and promotional things, just in case the book is boring or perhaps they are. Even worse, right?
But Antonia has written an excellent book and I thought it was very relevant to you because sometimes there are situations where you just can't be coached by a professional executive coach.
Perhaps there's not the time or the budget, the resources to enable it. Yet, you might be desperate to get some advice on a difficult conversation or a framework to help you become a better leader. Well, it is all in this book. It's fundamentally about becoming the best version of yourself but using her very practical frameworks.
[00:01:06] Having read the book and chatted with Antonia about it, I feel her greatest gift is the communication strategies that she shares in her book, and we'll cover this in our conversation today because I know when you are tested with tricky situations at work where you need to be articulate, thoughtful, maybe even a bit more assertive than you ordinarily are, you need to know how to tackle those conversations.
So I think you're going to thoroughly enjoy this conversation and walk away with lots of tips. I should add here that Antonia is a treat. And I'm not sure I showcased this as much as I would have liked to. But as a person, she is so energetic and generous and fun to chat with. I really hope you enjoy it. Let's dive in!
Gillian: Well, Antonia, welcome to the show. It is such a pleasure to have you here.
Antonia: I'm very happy to be here. Thank you for having me.
Gillian: You might be possibly one of our very few international guests, which feels a little bit extra special. Yeah. And I should tell people that you are such a highly credentialed top New York coach. I feel like you are very accomplished and I've thoroughly enjoyed reading your book, which we'll talk about today, but let me kick off with this question.
What drew you to be a coach? Like what, what did you see in that profession that attracted you to it?
Antonia: Yeah. Well, two things very specifically. Three! One, I really liked the intersection of when I was COO and executive director and things like that, of the intersection of talent development and strategy. I always found that really kind of the favourite part of my job. And then secondly, I used to work internationally on very big issues, women's access to credit, to finance, to legal services. And I got to a point where I wanted to touch the results and so make a difference, but in a way I could touch and feel, and that came more easily coaching individuals than teams.
Gillian: Interesting. Interesting. I love some of the stats that you report in the book. And I've just captured them here. You said that 80 percent of people who are coached report increased confidence. We have to love that. And, then you also companies that invest in coaching say they recoup their investment because of the increased performance. And in fact, the medium ROI is seven times the investment. They are brilliant stats, aren't they?
Antonia: They are. And the stats are hard to come by, you know, these are not always the easiest things to measure, but I would say though, at this point in the executive coaching industry, there is so much more acceptance of executive coaching as something you layer into a compensation package, an expectation when you get a big promotion. It's kind of not standard practice, but very much seen as part of what you get with the job, which I think is fantastic.
Gillian: Yeah, I know. Because it's the time you need that help, isn't it, to get the results faster and build your confidence and all of those sort of things.
I love the saying and you used it and it kind of, my eyes lit up when I saw it in the book. What got you here won't get you there. Because I think it summarises so much sometimes, but how do you see this play out for women that you coach?
Antonia: Well, I do think many of us know all those statistics, like women think they need to know 90 percent of a job in order to apply for it and men think it's between 50 and 60 percent. There are these generalisations, which I think many are true, that women think they just put their head down, work hard, develop the technical skill and that they will be recognized or what they do and for their contribution. And it's more complicated than that. And a lot of it is getting yourself in position so that people hear what you do and know what you do and being comfortable talking about it. So, to go from just a strong performer to a leader, really means you have to get much better at authentically talking about what you do and how you do it and showing leadership qualities. – could poss capture next question too madi
[00:06:40] Gillian: And why don't you think women are more inclined to do that? Is it because they're not taught as formal practice or they're too humble and they're not leaning into that process? Like, what do you think is the hindrance?
Antonia: I think our expectations of leadership are changing. I mean, there are also a lot of statistics that show that women are appreciated as leaders enormously because of some of their humbleness, because they are, general speaking, better listeners and things like that. So I think there is change and a recognition that diversity brings better results for the team and for the business. At the same time, but we also have been socialised and conditioned to behave in certain ways and that needs to be changed.
Gillian: Yeah, it does. It does. Well, let's talk about values because you talk a lot about values in the book and why we need them for our careers, why we need them for our lives. You talk about them not being differentiated. Yet, my observation is that a lot of people don't know how to bring their values to life in a way where they're using those values to guide them and make good decisions and I love the process that you talk about in the book, where you take those readers through identifying their values. You strip it back to their core values, and then you so effectively explore how to activate them. Talk to us a little bit about that part, Antonia, because I feel like that's the most important part. People can do the process of finding their values, but activating them and leveraging those values in their day to day life is where the real magic happens, isn't it?
[00:08:28] Antonia: Yeah. It is where the real magic happens. And I think it's thinking about values, I'm going to say three ways. One is, I don't know how you have a North star if you don't know your values. So your values really, really are critically important for your long term goal setting both in your career and in your personal life. So that's kind of one piece and you can activate them through your goal setting. And equally important is how are you activating your values day by day? And I mean, I'll give you an example, the grocery store where I shop one of my core values, that’s why I'm a coach, is to be in service of others and I do it through coaching. And I was walking into my local grocery store and I was in a rush, typical in New York city, and there was someone, a gentleman, a homeless gentleman at the door and I rushed by him and then I thought, okay, that is not living your values. Go back, like first of all, just make eye contact, say hello and ask him what he wants. And I hope it, made him feel seen, but it certainly also me and it certainly made me feel like I activated my value of being in service of others. And I try and go through my core values. I don't always do it daily. But, oh, am I showing gratitude? That is a core value. How am I utilizing a learning mindset? And they kind of keep me honest.
[00:10:18] Gillian: Yeah, I can see that. I think that's a great example as well in terms of bringing it to life in other aspects of your world.
Gillian: You use a lot of frameworks. I mean, your book is incredibly detailed and informative. It really is. It's got so much great content. And when I was reading it, one of the things that struck me, as a coach, was the gap framework. And you so beautifully articulated it as that place between our current state, where we are now and our future state, where we want to be. So the middle part is where the coaching work takes place. And I think this is such a simple and clear explanation to people. You know what I mean? Of what's going to unfold or where the focus is going to be. And I say this next part as a coach, Antonia, and I hope you agree that there is something so glorious about helping people define their future state. And their future vision, and what they're going to do differently in that future and then getting excited about it. And I think it gives us all such a compelling reason to do the work, to jump into the gap and the coaching process. I just think it's such a lovely explanation to people around what that coaching journey can reveal and achieve for them. But tell me, how do you want people to use your book coach yourself?
[00:12:04] Antonia: Yeah. Yeah. Well, thank you for that comment first about the framework. And I agree. And the one thing I would add is when we think about our future state to your point, getting people excited about doing the work because they have this clear vision, is using as many of our senses as possible. Where are you, what are you doing? What are you smelling? What are you feeling? What are you wearing?
And I feel like that gives it just texture and character that’s really helpful. So I wanted to make that point, but how do I want people to use the book a very good question. So I don't think of it as a book you're going to necessarily sit down and read through cover to cover. I think of it more as a book that's on your shelf that you flipped through when you got it, so that you know what's in it. And I want it to be a book you look at either because you have hit a bump in the road or there's something, you know, that you want to work on and so there are some frameworks in it about like getting going in coaching yourself. The values exercise is one example. There's a big section on communication frameworks for different kinds of critical conversations, or when you really want to emphasise the relationship versus the outcome and best practices of communication. And then there's a big section on management, both as a manager or someone being managed. What are best practices?
Then finally, there's a section on habits. If we've changed awareness and behaviour, how do we keep it going? So, I think of it as a very friendly, DIY book, do it yourself coaching textbook.
[00:14:09] Gillian: Yeah, I can see that I read it from front to cover, but I can see how people could dip in and out of it. And when I got to the critical conversations, and I know lots of people talk about critical conversations, but you know, you do cover that I think very eloquently and it is one of the things that I'm sure that people are going to be drawn to in your book, because no one likes a challenging conversation. And most people have had an experience where they haven't handled things as graciously or as thoughtfully or as assertively as they might like to and the fact is, as you get more senior in business, you have to get more equipped to be able to deliver these difficult conversations.
Why did you include that in the book? Why did you see that as such an important component?
Antonia: Oh, because, well, I mean, it goes to actually a broader point, which is every framework in this book. These are literally the frameworks I use the most. I don't have one coaching client who doesn't have trouble with critical conversations, right? I think I have shared that framework with every single client I have. So that's why it's in the book because I know how powerful it is and I know that, generally speaking, the most damage in companies is not through bully, domineering bosses. It's through a lack of transparency and a kind of passivity about sharing information. That's much more damaging in the long run where people don't really know what's going on because people don't want to have those hard conversations.
[00:15:55] Gillian: So true. It's so true. And as I always say, the conversation is less hard if you get on with it versus, you know what I mean? Climaxing to this incredibly difficult and emotional conversation. But in the book, you give this lovely example. I'm just opening up here about Lenny, and Lenny is the creative director. He's all excited. He gets, appointed by the founder of the organisation to lead that division, but he walks into the role and it's not what he expects. He's under-resourced. The business isn't thriving as he was led to believe. And he pretty quickly works out, I've got to get out of here and I've got to resign.
So it's a tough conversation and he uses the coin framework that you use. And I just love some of the language that you bring to it. I'm going to read it out cause I think people will really enjoy some of this Antonia. So your core message is, we both want this company to have the best creative director for this role in place. Like that is the thing that connects you both. But then in the, in the narrative, you talk about he's sitting in the conversation, Carla, the founder is there, she's a bit miffed and she says, I thought I'd found a true creative partner to help me refocus and redirect the brand. I can't tell you how disappointed I am. Which is such a true scenario, right?
Cause that's exactly what happens and the guilt sets in, but he sits there and listens and he talked about his mixed feelings. He said, I love the brand and I wanted to help it soar even higher, but at this point in my career, I'm not prepared to do the work of junior designers because of budget challenges, like just using the data. That is the evidence. It's not his view of the world. It is the very specific business-related reason.
[00:17:50] Antonia: Yeah. Yeah. It's funny that when you read that out, I think the more I do this work, the more I realise truly great leadership is when you can hold two conflicting emotions and sort of look at it from both sides and just sit with it without reacting emotionally.
Because sometimes there is no right or wrong answer. There is no truth and it takes patience and a certain amount of wisdom, let's say, to be able to just sit in the moment and hold that both. A little bit of time helps. Like they did get to a place where they had an amicable separation, but that wasn't going to happen in that first meeting. And it's having the maturity to hold that discomfort. To work through to something more comfortable.
Gillian: That is such a great message, Antonia, because I think people want the win, don't they? They want in that first meeting and then they feel like they've failed or it hasn't been successful. But you've got to be consistent in your pursuit and really manage your emotional state too through that process.
Antonia: Yeah. And really develop the ability to see the other perspective. Not because they're right and you're wrong, but to just understand how they may be seeing it. I think it's a huge leadership skill.
Gillian: And you give good examples in the book of questions to ask in that, because I think putting things into your toolkit is always helpful, right? Do you know what I mean? If you've got some things in your toolkit in that moment, you can draw on them. So, what's one of your proudest moments as a coach? I'm so fascinated to know this, like what is one of your proudest moments in your career as a coach?
[00:19:57] Antonia: That is a great question. No one has asked me that. I'm going to say the other day I came back from visiting my mother in Canada and I had a card from a client, a holiday card with a beautiful gift and we've worked on and off together for six or eight years, in and out, as she's had different roles and she said in the card, I would not be where I am today without you and our work together. And I just deeply appreciate you and wanted you to know that.
Gillian: That's gorgeous. Isn't it?
Antonia: That felt really good.
Gillian: That's why you do what you do, Antonia. Isn't it?
Antonia: Yeah, it is.
Gillian: Yeah, that's lovely. And such a beautiful thing to make the effort to do that as well. That definitely would fill you cup. I love that. What advice would you give to our female listeners who are navigating their career in corporate workplace in Australia? Like perhaps it's the advice that you wish that you got in your career, Antonia, what would you say to them?
Antonia: My goodness. Okay. The first thing I would say is… you are enough.
Gillian: Oh, beautiful.
Antonia: You are enough. And if you start from that vantage point, things will unfold the way they should. You need to know you are enough. I'm going to just stop there. I could say 10 more things, but I wish someone had told me that. I wish I'd had a career coach in my early thirties who told me, stop going back to school because you feel a lack of confidence. You don't need another degree. You are enough. You can learn what you need to know. You have skills and characteristics already that are enough. Just go and try.
Gillian: Yeah. It's a beautiful message. It's a beautiful message. I wish I had a career coach too. So tell us where can people find you and your terrific book.
Antonia: Yeah. Yeah. Thank you. So the book is on Amazon. Coach Yourself, Increase Awareness, Change Behavior and Thrive. It’s easy to find on Amazon or, or through my name, Antonia Bowring. I'm on LinkedIn - Antonia Bowring and my passion project, although I failed to post yet today for the first time in months. My passion project is Antonia Bowring 963 on, TikTok where I post every day about ADHD.
Gillian: My God. You're too cool for school being on TikTok. Okay. That's great. And what an important topic,
Antonia: Someone said to me, you're really natural looking, which means, I look a mess basically.
Gillian: You know, we need some more natural looking though in, a very, coutured world. I'm sure it's welcome. We'll check that out and we'll put all those links, Antonia, in the show notes so people can access and check it out themselves. But thank you so much for coming on the show today. Congratulations on your book, Antonia, and all your success, and for sharing all your tips and insights today. It's been fabulous.
Antonia: I have really enjoyed it and thank you for great questions and a really engaging and enjoyable time.