While over Xmas I am enjoying a well-earned break with my biggest fan, my husband, Geoff. He is a great source of support and humour when I am taking myself too seriously and getting uptight. Sound familiar, ladies? Luckily I am not alone. In the interviews with successful women in male-dominated fields for my upcoming book, I am reassured by how many women have supportive partners who are either stay at home fathers or who have less high profile roles than their wives and girlfriends. It is almost as if that to be successful, you need a supportive other in the wings – something generations of men have known. Avon, the cosmetic company, did a global study of 30,000 women in 33 countries. It found that a supportive spouse or partner was considered to be the most important factor for success in starting a business. For me, Geoff is extremely supportive in my career – we met shortly before I started my Ph.D at Cambridge and so he knew a professional career would likely always be important to me.
He knows how much I value my work and is not threatened by my success, often telling others about my work and how coaching has been useful to him personally and professionally. The irony is that we have recently come out of a period where he was away for work many evenings each week. As he has deliberately taken a more 9-5 position, our roles have reversed and he shows the understanding he came to expect from me earlier in our relationship. What has having a supportive partner given you?