INTERVIEWS | COACH SUPPLEMENT | LAW BUSINESS QUALITY 15/2018
Ilona Adamska: 23 years of professional experience in accounting and finance, currently working as CFO. Where did the passion for this area of business come from?
Urszula Graczyk: My expressive personality, attention to detail, and acceptance of everything that life brings me. I believe that money must circulate in the world and when put in motion, twice as many returns. Household budget or company budget may be in fact simplified to the same two major elements: inflows and outflows of money. It starts with planning, approving, spending, comparing variations from the plan. One must be able to manage it successfully, so “cash flow”, more commonly referred to as the “money” is properly recognised in terms of what it was spent on and where it came from.
After 20 years of work in finance, you needed a change. You started with post-graduate studies of the psychology of management and management coaching at the WSB University in Poznań.
They say: “you need a starting point in life”. I started with post-graduate studies of psychology of management at the WSB in Poznań. My promoting professor directed me to Małgorzata Leszczyńska within the studies cycle. I started the process as a coachee with the strong need for changing my job. Now, two years later, I can say that it was this coaching session that started my change process. I believe that everybody has incredible potential which they are often unable to release and benefit from, for various reasons. Hypnosis gives incredible results, as it works with the subconscious.
Why are so many people afraid of changes? It is the change that moves us forward towards better life and help in personal development…
Most people are afraid of changes because a change is a process in time. Not everyone is aware of what are the phases of a change. These are: pre-contemplation, contemplation, preparation, action, supportive actions, solution. During each stage, a different process is taking place in the person. It is crucial to be aware which stage we are currently going through. Quite regularly, upon the first stumble we are back to square one. In addition, our low self-esteem, no rewards, no support from relatives and our life environment all add up to our fear of change. People lack knowledge and courage. This is caused by our own beliefs and family patterns: “I will not make it”, “I do not need this”, “you better stay at home”, “I’m not good at this”, “your mother …”, “your father …”, “as a child I was told that …” etc.
You’re saying that you love people and that you love to observe them growing. Do you believe in solidarity of women in business? There are so many discussed examples of competition among women…
I know from my experience that personal relations we create are the most important thing. Because each of us communicates differently with others, depending on our personality. There are leadership methods and types that generate these various features. There is a myth that women like to argue and cannot cooperate with each other in purely female environment, so it is better when they are managed by a man. Sometimes women do not support each other too much, they do not become friends, they just work together. But when they have a wise female leader they create a wonderful team. They discover their inner motivations, follow their intuition. Women are very good managers. A person who experienced wise mentoring feels the need to help others. Based on my own experience I believe that the more female mentors are available, the more talented women will reach far more and will climb much higher.
What are the strengths of women in business? Is there such a thing as a feminine style of management?
The women’s strength is that they hear and see more than men. In business women’s advantages are: reliability – performing entrusted task with diligence, professional and perfectionist approach, so that no flaws can be found; responsibility – independent decision-making and being ready to face consequence; being trustworthy; communication skills – an effective method of delivering own communications and the ability to listen and understand others; cooperation – the ability to work with others in various circumstances, regardless of personal feelings; appreciating the input of other team members and being open to their needs; creativity and thinking outside the box – non-standard, flexible approach, sometimes against personal upbringing; the ability to find many solutions for problems; building social networks – the ability to gather and maintain valuable contacts that help in personal development, time management allowing both for networking and for personal meetings and honest discussion; leading others with charisma and giving an example; finding talents in others and assisting in developing these talents; supporting other women on their way to success. Women develop their soft skills very easily (namely their psychology skills, such as cooperation, communication skill, team management skills) and these are of key importance for subordinates. Information processing – and effective method of collecting and interpreting information; the ability to focus on detail while remembering; the ability to multi-task. This is our female nature and we are the ones who see multi- dimensional aspects of every situation, we analyse facts, what is said to us and pay attention to emotions. We observe non-verbal behaviours. These competences may be a great advantage in business and may bring very positive effects. Self-determination – the ability to act independently, freedom, ability to decide about self and to control own emotional reactions. Women are generally more open to emotions and feel more comfortable with emotions than men do. What is the main difference is our female intuition. Self-confidence and determination – believing in own abilities, being open to new challenges, ability to present own competences, charismatic style of management.
Apparently, word-of-mouth and recommendations are the best methods of finding new clients. But, are there any other effective methods of finding new assignments, new business partners and clients?
Whisper marketing is the best method of finding clients, namely through recommendations and references from existing clients, who already used certain services. Opinions may be found in social media. Another effective method of finding new assignments include mentoring, networking, self- presenting, building social networks.
You are also a hypnosis therapist. How did you become interested in hypnosis and who are your clients?
My intuition took me to the Polish Hypnosis Institute. I was interested in a coach business card, and enrolled to a training for Hypnosis Practices and Masters at the Polish Hypnosis Institute, which I am a member of, recorded on the list of Certified Hypnosis Therapists. My clients are those who are ready to trust me and participate in the process of work with the subconscious. I do not have a particular target group, but recently mainly managers are interested in the process. Some of them are just curious, others are overworked and have no life-work balance. I also help couples and married couples going through a crisis in their relationship.
What are the most common myths about hypnosis?
Will I be able to reach the hypnotic trance? Will I fall asleep? No, during the process you are not asleep, you can control and hear everything. Interestingly, almost every day we are in hypnotic trance, for instance when driving a car, running, waking up or brushing teeth. But usually, those who come to me for the process are fully aware and want to experience the work with subconscious in a hypnotic trance.
Many women have problems with speaking positively about themselves, with appreciating their abilities. Why do you think this is the case?
There are many factors affecting female self-esteem, for instance, the way of upbringing and culture in which we grow up. These factors shape our beliefs in how we should behave, what we should say and how we should look. Women often follow what they think they should or have to do, and not what they actually want. We do a lot of things just to please others, not to be exposed to criticism, as a bad mother, employee, or boss. But when we are successful or show our competences we tend to diminish our own achievements. Having performed a high-level task we assume that we just did our job. If a man does the same task he considers it a success he should boast about.
Plans for the future
Continued development, creating my personal brand as a freelance coach, mentor, change coach, hypnotherapist and developing competence related to managing own business and team. I will combine soft competences with hard know-how in the field of finance (US GAAP) and accounting (the Polish Accounting Act) and I will continue to have my impact on financial results of Sonoco-Alcore sp. z o.o., where I work.