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Meet the Mentor: Yvonne Coburn, CEO CreatingWe ANZ Pty Ltd

Yvonne Coburn

Yvonne Coburn

Based in Sydney, Australia, Yvonne Coburn is an experienced human resource professional with a background in the delivery of executive leadership programs designed to achieve cultural transformation for client organisations, and in providing those services she encourages the application of the principles of Conversational Intelligence.

What do you personally find rewarding about being a Mentor?

I find it rewarding to be able to assist talented women in their career journey and further develop their self-belief.

When women support each other, incredible things happen in my experience.

What do you think are the key traits of a good leader?

The best traits of good leadership in my view include humility, being a good listener, communication skills, truthfulness, responsibility, accountability, self-awareness, and vision.

Why is strong leadership important in business?

Strong leadership is critical in business as it encourages a culture where people are disciplined and where people can adapt themselves with persistence. It inspires and motivates a group of people to exert themselves to help achieve a common goal.

Who in a company is responsible for the quality of leadership and what can they do to facilitate strong and effective leadership?

In my experience the CEO sets the tone by their leadership qualities “the fish rots from the head down”. Strong and effective leadership is not a position but a process that can be learned. It is learning to lead individuals and teams through intrapersonal (ie self-awareness and self-management) and interpersonal (ie social awareness and social skill) development.

What has been your biggest “aha” moment in business?

I have owned and grown my own leadership and executive coaching consultancy and also worked for large organisations and in both cases the biggest “aha” is that using ‘Conversational Intelligence’ to build trust changes the culture and gets extraordinary results.

Judith Glaser was the pioneer of this concept of Conversational Intelligence and she presents a really clear framework for knowing which kinds of conversations trigger the lower, more primitive brain and which activate the higher level intelligences such as trust, integrity, empathy, and good judgement. Conversational Intelligence can be grafted into organisations in multiple ways in order to activate a new and healthier “chemistry of conversations” in the workplace. It is a platform that introduces new rituals and a new language for change that appeals to people throughout the company.

The best definition by Judith Glaser is that the premise of Conversational Intelligence is “to get to the next level of greatness depends on the quality of our relationships, which depends on the quality of our conversations. Everything happens through conversations.”

What is your driver for helping people to grow?

I am passionate about feminist leadership and gender equity.

What advice would you give to someone whose career is stuck in a rut? What can they do to create a catalyst for positive growth?

I think it is really important to get support when your career is stuck in a rut whether that is a friend, family member, mentor or coach. They can take you off the dancefloor and onto the balcony so that you can view things more objectively. They encourage you to have important conversations and share thoughts.

It is important to develop positive social connections so that mental health and wellbeing is not negatively affected. Also networking can often introduce other career opportunities and open doors for new work.

Using career planning tools may be helpful also including personality assessments like Myers Briggs can give greater insight.

Which sources of business wisdom do you turn to when you are stuck?

I speak to my own Mentors and have done over all my professional years. They have been great sounding boards and I always remember these wise words “Remember you choose, don’t be chosen”!

What would you say to someone considering becoming a Mentor?

“Go for it!” Enabling others to discover their own potential is a great gift and there is huge learning for both Mentor and Mentee in the mutual exchange of ideas. Magic happens and you often form long-lasting friendships in the process.

Anything else you would like to add?

I love being a Mentor with Rare Birds and just want to thank you for the opportunity. Happy to speak to anyone, for further insights please contact me at www.creatingwe.com.au