From Rowing Star to Business Gem: How Sarah Winckless Used her Passion to Help Others in Business

From Rowing Star to Business Gem: How Sarah Winckless Used her Passion to Help Others in Business

Olympic bronze medallist, two time World Rowing Champion, MBE…these are just a few accomplishments of Rower turned Expert Business Coach, Sarah Winckless. 

Her passion for sports has enabled her to hone skills that include team management, leadership development, and motivation. Through this, she is able to work with individuals and organisations to help them deliver their maximum potential as well as inspire and challenge others to work on strengths and remove obstacles. 

Speaking at the bfa’s Empowering Women in Business conference on November 14th, Sarah’s driven and warm approach will challenge attendees to realise their full potential. We speak to Sarah on what she believes makes a leader…

Business culture has been such a prevalent subject over the last few years, but how would you specifically define workplace culture?

Workplace culture is what people do when they think no one is watching. 

It stems from the stories and legends that are told and behaviours role modelled and tolerated or rewarded in the organisation. Often there is articulated culture, what is said, however where culture really sits in what is done.

What is the most important aspect of leadership? And how can we encourage more women into leadership positions?

Be clear on what you are intending to achieve as an organisation and why you are trying to achieve it. If you are changing strategy, what is the threat or opportunity that you are responding to. 
Communicate this so teams are empowered to play their part. Perhaps the most important aspect is to set the conditions for your people to do their best work, listen to what they are telling you and work to support their efforts.

Have you ever experienced a ‘stuck’ moment in your career? What advice would you give to someone seeking their motivation?

Go slow and take time to make the next step. My default response to ‘stuck’ is work harder. It was a strategy that got me a long way in education and in sport. However, in business and career decision, reflection, quality thinking and managing my energy have allowed me to make better quality decision and therefore actions. Also, to remember you’ll never be ‘ready’, even if you have all the qualities you still need to learn to do the job, so once you’ve reflected, be brave and jump – that is an energising place.

In your opinion, what is the key to unlocking leadership qualities, or cultivating them? 

I believe everyone has leadership potential. The first stage in understanding yourself – so you can be yourself with skill. Looking into your inner leader, your beliefs, values and strengths will give you a secure base to stretch and learn from. 

Lastly, what is the best piece of advice you could give businesswomen everywhere?

Remember you are capable of more than you ever believe you are, so trust yourself and go for it. Focus on doing the important things, and allow other to lead and support you with the rest.

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