Experience-based Leadership Training

Experience-based Leadership Training

At WILLO, our approach involves drawing upon not only our combined 70 years of business experience, but also current research and data about the topics we present. We share relevant personal stories and real-life examples to illustrate key messages, use humor, and solicit audience participation to bring home the lessons. Our delivery style reflects our passion for leadership excellence.

When we present to large groups, we use techniques like body polls, small group discussions, shout-outs, and other audience participation methods to engage the group and encourage interaction. For smaller groups, we promote interactive discussion to share experiences and solicit discovery of the material rather than relying solely upon lectures.

Remote Learning Delivery Options

Working remotely has created challenges and opportunities for organizations.  One of the challenges is designing training to combine the advantages of the interaction provided by live training with the safety and convenience of online training.  At WILLO, we have tailored program topics for experience-based leadership training to help organizations such as yours meet this challenge.   We offer several delivery options for virtual presentations.

  • Webinars for large groups – When we provide webinars for larger groups, we utilize dynamic visuals and promote interaction with the audience through group chat, polling, comment streams, and live word clouds. Participants are more engaged and retain the material better when they can actively participate in the presentation.
  • Online symposiums for small groups – For smaller groups, we provide group discussions using Zoom or your preferred platform. These discussions help participants discover how they can apply concepts rather than just listen to a presentation.
  • Coaching for individuals—As an added option, we can provide one on one coaching sessions to participants following the training where we assist the participants in setting personal goals and action plans related to the material. These goals can remain confidential or be shared with the team.  Training is most effective when the new skills are immediately practiced.  Session follow-up can be tailored to your team.
  • Lunch and learns—We also provide short sessions (1/2 hour) to accommodate teams that already spend multiple hours a day in virtual meetings and want to enhance their skills in quick doses rather than longer sessions.

Leadership Series

We also offer a WILLO leadership training series which will help prepare rising women leaders in your organization for leadership roles by providing them with the basic skills to navigate and advance their careers successfully. The series of four to six sessions build upon each other and are linked through individual action plans prepared by participants.

Mentoring – Additional Service

In conjunction with the Leadership Workshops or Facilitated Peer Coaching sessions, we can provide mentoring one on one sessions, phone calls or email follow-up for each participant as individually requested or for all participants as part of the formal program. The focus of the mentoring would be on the participants’ goals and action plans that correlate directly with the training topics.

Program Topics
The following training topics can be adapted for any size group or level of participants and can be delivered in person or remotely.  Let us know if these selections speak to your and your audience.

> That’s Not What I Said! – Deciphering Gender Differences in Communication — Have you been frustrated when someone misunderstands you? Or been told you need to change your style of speaking? Women use different language patterns than men when speaking with their own gender. Common business wisdom judges female genderlect as inferior, but that is a judgment through a male genderlect lens that is misguided at best.  Once you understand the differences in how men and women approach their genderlects, it is clear both styles are effective in the right setting.  We explore these gender speech patterns and the benefits of being “bilingual”.

> Discovering Career Aspirations — Over and over again, when we speak to people about what is holding them back from reaching their career aspirations, we hear that the underlying issue is “I don’t know what my career aspirations are.” Our practical, results-oriented approach is to provide a framework for you to articulate what you want out of your career by creating career criteria through exploring your values, skills, desired daily activity attributes, and rewards needed. This insight can become the springboard for you to make the most of your career as you adapt to the accelerating change of our current environment.

> Understanding and Responding to Unconscious Bias — We all have unconscious bias. Biases are natural, and everyone has them. Unfortunately, women face many biases that are unfounded and create unfair obstacles in the workplace.  By understanding the origins of gender biases, we can remove judgment and prompt positive action to reduce the disadvantages resulting from biases.  We will explore how you can respond to bias when you see it happening and what you can do as an individual or as a leader to counteract the consequences of biases.

> Conquering Your Fear of Networking —When you are told to “Network”, do you applaud, or is your heart struck with fear?  While some people may be natural networkers, networking is actually a learned skill. We provide you with tools to enhance your skills whether you are just starting or want to gain more proficiency.  We emphasize the need to design a personal networking action plan to fit your interests and experience.  We cover the whole process from choosing your network venues, prepping, working a room or meeting one-on-one, and follow-up activities.

> Negotiating for Career Success — News flash – the people we work with are not mind readers.  They don’t know what we want or even need to do our jobs unless we tell them.  Whether it’s access to resources, information, or other career support, a leader needs to know when and how to get what he or she needs to advance. Knowing what is an appropriate ask and how to get to “yes” is an important skill to cultivate.

> Mastering Gourmet Meetings — People can spend 25% to 35% of their workweek in meetings. Accordingly, career success can be significantly impacted by how effective a person is in meetings, both live and virtual. We utilize a gourmet meal as an analogy to help you understand how to plan, execute, and follow up on a meeting. Using the shared strategies, you can reduce the time spent in meetings, have more focused discussions, and increase productive outcomes from their meetings. We share how you can maximize your impact in achieving meeting objectives whether you are leading or just attending a meeting.

> Finding and Using a Mentor Effectively — Employees are 20% more likely to be promoted if they have a mentor. Even more important is having a personal board of directors to help guide their careers. The ultimate goal should be finding sponsors who provide opportunities and support for risk-taking. We will explore how to identify and cultivate mentor relationships and a meaningful personal board.  We address how to overcome the challenges of accessing mentors caused by working remotely.

> Work-Life Choices — Pursuing a successful career while cultivating a meaningful personal life has always been a constant tug-of-war.  As employees work remotely, they are finding the boundaries between work and home life blurred, creating additional challenges. Too often people leave a job when the stress of integrating personal and professional commitments becomes too difficult.  Understanding that “having it all” doesn’t mean having it all at once, we explore how to use the same skills that you use to solve work-related problems to find ways to structure your own career and personal life choices.

> Cultivating Positive Perceptions — Doing good work is its own reward – but getting recognized for your work is even better.  However, everyone views the world through their own filters based on experiences. Your audience may discount your expertise based on criteria that they are not even aware of. Unfair! However, you can overcome these biases by consistently promoting your brand through your communications, management style, and other actions. As we move away from remote working and return to face-to-face communications, this is the perfect time to perfect your brand!

> Visual Impressions to Enhance Your Career — In the world of “business casual,” determining appropriate attire can be a challenge. Women, in particular, can underestimate the impact their attire has on their perceived credibility. We will discuss the visual markers that undermine or enhance a woman’s leadership efforts.

> Supervising for All Seasons—Everyone knows what a bad supervisor looks like, but how do you make sure that you do not fall into that category?   Our scalable model for supervising can be applied to entry-level staff or corporate executives. We start with understanding the objectives that supervisors have: an effective and high-performing team with engaged employees.  We then explore how the key activities of supervising can support these objectives.  These activities include establishing a work environment and culture, giving out new assignments, dealing with underperforming staff, establishing communication channels, and promoting the growth of employees and the team.

>Embracing Equity: We Are All the Same – We Are All Different–We are all unique products of our experiences which can be shaped by differences in culture, family dynamics, education, previous employment, race, gender, taste in music, height, where we live, etc. Often we focus on a limited population of differences, including gender, in making assumptions about people. Before we can truly appreciate someone we need to embrace that they are not the same as ourselves, no matter how much we have in common. At the same time, we may assume that people who look and sound different from us have nothing in common with us. But everyone wants to be successful, have good relationships, and be appreciated. We may not recognize these similarities because how I define “success” is probably different than how you define it. This workshop explores how to recognize our connections and honor our differences in promoting an equitable workplace.

>What Makes Initiatives for Women in Leadership Successful?–Study after study supports that having a strong representation of women in leadership within an organization leads to improved performance. Yet organizations are stymied about how to support the advancement and retention of women leaders. Frequently they establish a networking group for women and then are puzzled why that does not change the outcome. This session outlines the more common challenges that women face and how organizations can take practical steps to change the culture leading to improved diversity in the leadership pipeline.  This is the perfect starting point for your executive team seeking to improve diversity, equity, and inclusion in your organization.


If you are interested in other topics, just let us know. We’d be happy to develop a session for you or we can put you in touch with other speakers who specialize in topics of interest.

When to Have Women-only Training?
While we provide training on topics for both men and women, there are times when providing separate training for women is preferable. Additionally, some topics that we cover address specific challenges that women face that men do not. For example, when we discuss making good visual impressions, the topic is more challenging for women because women have many more choices in attire. However, other topics for leadership training are applicable to both men and women. Therefore, we are often asked why women should have their own training. The two main reasons are gender differences in group dynamics and in access to role models. Women are less likely to speak out in coed groups and tend to be more candid in women-only sessions. Therefore, we can explore the unique needs of the group better in women-only sessions.

Women frequently do not have as many role models of their own gender. Therefore, things that men may learn through observation of role models or mentors of the same gender are not as accessible to women. Training for just women allows them to pick up skills that they would otherwise learn from a mentor or role model.

Would you like to know more?