Playing confidently on the field, not on the sidelines

Business coach Claire Buckley on why the Lionesses’ win is about more than football and why equality of opportunity is good for everyone.

Women's soccer player on training.

I was so inspired by the British Lionesses’ recent victory at the Women’s European Football 2022 Championship. In the lead-up, I even wrote them a letter, (from myself and my daughter), which I posted on LinkedIn, each team member’s individual Instagram accounts and Serena Wiegman’s, (the Lionesses’ female football coach).

Why did I go to these lengths? And what does it have to do with flexible working, and equality in the workplace? Well, (in my humble opinion), it has everything to do with it. And it’s 100% relevant.

The Lionesses embodied the spirit of promoting true equal opportunity. Not just in sport, but in all walks of life. Their quiet passion, skills, determination and courage powered them through. Against the odds. They ‘role-modelled’ what these attributes can achieve when given a platform. This is how it translates to work and life….

Too many of us commented and shared on social media, stories of never getting the chance to ‘play’; football at school for me, (and my generation of girls), netball for the boys. A journalist I have recently come to know, and greatly respect, told me about her daughters’ school all girls football team. They had funding by the FA for a year, won their regional tournament, gained freedom of the parish. Then the funding stopped….

Let me be 100 % transparent, before I write more. I believe in equal opportunity. Not one gender, race, class, religion, community, being advantaged over the other. For me, it’s about individuals, prepared to put the work in, being given the platform to shine.

It’s the same in the workplace. Too often my clients talk about leaving organisations to gain opportunity, flexibility, recognition, success. There’s an army of talent now running their own businesses as a result. Worse still, an army of talent, sitting on the sidelines, not ‘playing’. This exodus will continue if there’s no change. But there’s a way out for organisations and all types of teams.

By ensuring real equality, this will positively translate in results to an organisations’ bottom line and their culture. Here’s five reasons why:

1: Increased Confidence: As in sport, when you give an individual the chance to ‘play’, to ‘shine’, their confidence will skyrocket. So will their creativity.

2: Teamwork: Creating equal, diverse teams, means true representation of talent, skill and opinion. Well harnessed, (back to Head Women’s coach Serena Wiegman again), and your initiatives, games, and projects will flourish.

3: Resilience: Equality, with opportunity, gives a team the chance to experience success and setbacks. Both will enhance them. Again, harnessed well, the organisation/team reaps the rewards.

4: Skill: Equal teams, with increased confidence and a sense of ‘belonging’ to a team, will be more motivated and loyal. Think decreased turnover and increased productivity.

5: Passion: Last, but not least. Increased confidence, teamwork, resilience and skill fuels passion. And passion is where true creativity lies. I’m a Business Coach. I know this is true. I’m passionate about my work, empowering people to be their best selves. Working with ambitious, inspiring people who want to make a positive impact in the world. Empowering others to be their best. Because that’s how everyone wins.

Here’s to true equality in teams and organisations so that everyone wins.

*Claire Buckley is a business coach. If this blog resonates with you, or you would like to know more about her 1:1, group and team coaching then she would love to hear from you. Contact her via her website: 


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