• FAQs

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1) How do I know if leadership coaching is for me?

There are many reasons why leadership coaching could be right for you. For example:
If you’re wondering whether to take on a bigger leadership role

  • You’ve had challenging feedback about your leadership style which is confusing or too familiar
  • You’ve been appointed to a more senior role and you want to make sure you hit the decks running
  • You feel you have leadership potential which is not being recognised
  • You are at a career and life crossroads
  • You’re frustrated with the barriers preventing you taking on a leadership role
  • You want to accelerate your leadership capability and impact
  • You’re unhappy with your career and feel you need direction and clarity

I don’t just work with women in very senior leadership roles; I support women at many levels who have leadership responsibilities, or those wishing to take on a bigger leadership role. My clients are women of all ages, from across the globe, as my coaching is flexible, designed for you and can be delivered virtually.
If this sounds like it could work for you, get in touch!

2) Why does Penny de Valk specialise in coaching women?

I love helping anyone step into leadership roles with clarity and confidence, men and women. However, I have chosen at this stage of my career to focus my time and energy on coaching women. I believe I have unique experience of being in their world, and expertise in the specific challenges women are facing. I also believe it is important to harness all that female talent which is often wasted because navigating the landscape can be so tough and exhausting.

3) My employer has offered to support and fund my leadership development. Can I recommend Penny de Valk to them?

Absolutely. I support clients who approach me privately and are self-funding their coaching, and those who are being funded by their organisation.
If your employer or manager would like to have a chat with me, I am happy to discuss this with them so please urge them to get in touch.

4) I’m not UK based, can I still work with Penny, and if so how would it work?

Yes you can! I work with women from across the globe, as my coaching and support is bespoke, flexible, and can be delivered completely virtually, transcending different time zones. I like to make the most of tools like Skype, Zoom, Face Time, and the phone to provide unlimited access to my clients. I do this because it’s aligned with the way my clients like to work; I can have calls with women at 9pm once they’re back from the office and their kids are in bed, for example.

My coaching is agile and responsive to the needs of my clients. If you choose to work with me, I’ll give you access to my calendar and you can book in our sessions or catch ups directly.

I work globally, so I do also like to meet up if I’m in your town.

5) How will I be able to measure impact from my coaching?

I work with my clients to design their coaching programmes around them. We work together at the beginning to agree what the learning and development objectives are, and how you want success to be measured at the end. And if your firm is sponsoring the coaching we will have a three way with your manager to agree the development objectives.

6) Why Penny de Valk?

I know I’m not the only women’s leadership coach out there, but I believe I bring some unique experience and learnings to the table. As well as being a certified professional coach, I’ve held various Managing Director, Non-Executive Director, and CEO roles in the last 20 years, and I know how challenging it can be for women either in, or pursuing, leadership roles.

Leadership development has been a focus for me for more than two decades, and I’ve learned so much; I want to share those learnings with talented women who are struggling to achieve their potential – but in a way which reflects their busy lifestyle. That’s why I deliver my programmes with such flexibility, offering unlimited access over the six-month period and making the most of technology to provide support virtually and in a way which suits my clients.

7) What does a typical six-month coaching programme include?

Each programme is designed around you and what you want to achieve, and what that looks like is different for everyone. It is completely goal focused and time bound, but I do not limit my clients to a certain number of calls or discussions. My primary goal is to help clients step into their leadership identity with clarity and confidence, so that by the end of the programme, they can use their talent and energy to thrive, not just to survive, and we work together to achieve that in the most effective way.

8) I’m interested in a coaching programme, but I don’t think I need it for six months. Are there shorter programmes available?

In my 20+ years as a leadership development expert, I’ve supported many clients through both long and shorter-term coaching programmes, and it is possible to deliver coaching over a more condensed period so of course we can discuss that. Most programmes are six-months because I think this is the optimum length to develop new skills, hone existing ones, and importantly, practice!
Offering coaching over a six-month period also means I can support clients in their transition into a new leadership role or as they adjust to doing things differently which builds confidence more effectively.
If you don’t want to commit to a coaching programme but would like to talk to a trusted advisor, you could book in for a 90 minute mentoring session with me, which can give you clarity and ideas about a challenge you’re facing or an issue you’re struggling with.

9) I’m not currently in a leadership role, would I still benefit from the coaching programme?

I coach women at many different levels, and my work is not limited to those in the most senior roles. My focus is on helping women achieve their leadership potential, so if you are not currently in a leadership position but want to be; perhaps you feel like you’re being held back from progressing into a leadership role, then I could potentially help you. Get in touch to find out more.

10) I’m interested in coaching, but not sure how it can work ‘virtually’ (i.e. with minimal face to face time). Can you explain what that looks like?

Virtual coaching is growing rapidly and studies indicate that virtual coaching is just as effective as face to face. In some instances coaches are more resistant to it than their clients! The reality is the best coach is not always the closest coach. Virtual coaching gives you access globally across time zones. Thanks to technological advances and the changing nature of our working lives, virtual coaching is now not only possible but often preferable. It is efficient, carbon friendly and powerful. Yes we have structured virtual meetings aligned with your development goals well as Skype/Zoom or phone calls when you need them as I like to be aligned with the way my clients like to work, and to offer support across different time zones. For example, organising calls once the children are in bed, or a Zoom call at 7am because you’re travelling but you want to discuss a particular challenge you’ve been facing that week. If you choose to work with me, I’ll give you access to my calendar and you can book in calls or catch ups directly.

I work globally so I like to organise meetings with clients when I’m in their town if that suits them.

11) How does the women’s mentoring session work?

Sometimes you don’t want or need to commit to a coaching programme but would value talking to a trusted advisor, and I am available to you for that. A 90-minute mentoring session can give you clarity and ideas about a challenge you have or an issue you are struggling with.
It gives you the chance to frame the problem and explore your options – getting an independent, supportive, expert view so you can move forward with more confidence.
You simply send me a summary of your issue, so I can be prepared and can give you the most value in our time together. If I don’t think I can help I will let you know well in advance and suggest alternatives. These sessions are held over Skype/ Zoom or phone.

12) What is ‘seat at the table’ and what’s the value of taking part?

Many of the women I work with recognise the value of networking, but it can be difficult to find the time to go to multiple events when your working life is already incredibly busy.

Seat at the Table gives you the chance to learn and network with peers, but in a fun, practical and time efficient way. The 90-minute virtual networking session will focus on an issue, for example negotiating, or building influence and credibility. If you relate to these issues, then taking part gives you the opportunity to discuss your challenges with like minded women. There is always rich content as well as pre and post reading/watching resources. The conversation remains confidential to those in the room and you will always know who else is at the table. You can join just one session or many.

All groups to date have been happy to share their contact details with one another and continue the conversations, building and enriching their network and relationships.

13) I’m interested in contributing to Penny de Valk’s blog/podcasts. How should I get in touch?

My aim is to keep adding rich and varied content to my site which is packed with insight that could benefit women leaders, or those looking to move into a leadership position as well those who are managing women leaders. I believe that is best achieved by welcoming insights from a range of contributors, so please do get in touch if you’ve got an idea you’d like to discuss.

14) I’ve written a book or have a resource I’d like Penny to include on her website. How should I get in touch?

I’m keen to keep the resource library on my site fresh and updated, so I welcome suggestions and additions from a range of contributors. Please do get in touch to discuss your book/resource with me.

15) I think a colleague would benefit from receiving coaching from Penny. How should I go about exploring that?

Half of my clients are funded by their organisation and I work with their manager to develop agreed development goals to support their success. Give me a no commitment call to discuss whether my coaching programme is right for a member of your team. .

16) I’m frustrated in my job but am not sure that progression is the answer. Would I still benefit from the coaching programme?

Coaching isn’t always about progression. I have helped many women over the years who have realised that a strategic side step is what they need to achieve fulfilment and happiness. Others have decided they’re in the wrong job completely and have made a fresh start in another organisation or exploring another type of work. I believe that leadership capability is an asset which women can take with them, whichever career path they choose to pursue, and I’m very comfortable coaching you if you’re not sure that you want to climb the ladder you’re currently on. As we will design the programme together, my coaching will help you to better understand what you want and need.

17) I am interested in the six-month coaching programme, but don’t want my employers to know that I’m doing it. How can I ensure the necessary discretion?

Many of my clients are in this situation. It is not uncommon for women to seek out coaching and mentoring support that they fund themselves, but on the proviso that their employer doesn’t know they’re doing so. My interaction with you is entirely confidential, and because my service is virtual, I can organise the support outside of your working day so that it causes minimal disruption.

18) Does Penny de Valk offer group coaching sessions?

As well as on one to one coaching and mentoring I facilitate groups virtually and in person. I have also created the Seat at the table events. These are 90-minute virtual sessions, which explore specific issues or challenges in detail, with a maximum 10 participants. Seat at the Table sessions allow each participant to learn and focus on their leadership development, while building their network and relationships in a fun, practical and time efficient way. These can tailored for a group in one organisation and can be designed as ongoing sessions in an in-house programme.
If you know a group of women that would like to take part, or perhaps you have a particular topic or challenge in mind that collectively, you would like to explore, please let me know. I’m keen to design the ongoing programme of these events around the needs of my network.

  • “Penny’s compelling approach to leadership is steeped in her wealth of experience, knowledge and wisdom – she is an insightful and empowering mentor whose guidance has had a hugely positive effect on my approach to matters of presence, impact, self-awareness and authenticity.”

    Emma James COO Kamwell
  • “Penny for me is a stand out role model of women in leadership. She fought for my career, believed in me and showed firsthand what being a powerful woman in business can look like. For this especially I am eternally grateful.”

    Celine Floyd, Director of Leadership Assessment Capp & Co Ltd
  • “Penny was a catalyst for significant change, redefining the strategy and structure, developing the senior team to achieve their best through her coaching style and driving a more commercial approach. I am proud to have had the opportunity to work with such an inspirational, innovative and insightful leader.”

    Gaynor Lewis. Head of Commercial Development. ILM
  • “Penny is without hesitation one of the best CEOs I have worked with. …She is results focussed driven and challenging combined with an engaging style, an incredible sense of warmth and a clear passion for business.”

    Sara Barrie – Sara Barrie & Associates
  • “Penny is one of the most accomplished professionals I have had the privilege of working for and with…She has a real focus on results but creates an environment/culture that allows people to be their best”

    Stephen Randall Partner Melior HR
  • “Superb at managing stakeholders, calm in a crisis and always with her sense of humour close to the surface, Penny is one of the best CEOs I’ve ever worked with and I’d have no hesitation in recommending anyone take the opportunity to work with her if they get the chance”

    Kerry Simmons Marketing Director LHH
  • “Penny was my boss and inspiration for over three years…With Penny you want to work hard and be your best. And work hard we did, but we also had a great deal of fun and satisfaction in making a difference at ILM under Penny’s leadership”

    Helen Oldfield, Sales and Marketing Director, MRS
  • “She has a strong focus on customer experience and cutting through ‘stuff’ to deliver results. I can’t think of anyone better placed to provide first class advice on business and personal growth”

    Hilary Hall, Chief Executive, National Hairdressers Federation
  • “Penny is without doubt one of the most impressive senior professionals working in the people space. Her presence, intellect and stature dictate that Penny is a leading light in her field, bringing both a commercial and deeply wise approach to business. She has other rare qualities for a senior executive, genuine charm, authenticity and humility. It is always a happy experience when one gets the chance to work with Penny and a fabulous opportunity to learn.”

    John Renz, Director at Executive Action
  • “Penny was (and remains to this day) an inspiration to me and so many others. Working with her is a highlight of my career, and one that I sincerely hope happens again!”

    Rob Sayers-Brown, Customer Relationship Manager at Eliesha Training Ltd
  • “Penny is simply outstanding in the capacity of coach and mentor. She has a warm personality which coupled with her sharp business acumen, professionalism and generosity in the way she invests in others professional growth is something which I have rarely seen in leaders who have held positions such as Penny has.”

    Caroline Mellor, Global HR Director, Transformation and Effectiveness at Dentsu Aegis Network