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Enhancing Female Leadership Potential: A Case Study of the EmpowerHer Program at a Large Regional Bank

June 27, 2023

Posted by BOLDLY

Executive Summary:

The following case study explores the implementation and success of the EmpowerHer Program, one of the leading female leadership development programs, with our client, a large regional bank operating across Asia Pacific and with offices globally. This was a high-potential female leaders initiative that combined comprehensive training workshops and group coaching sessions delivered over a 6-month period.

The bank preferred to stay anonymous in this case. The bank had seen a significant decline in its female succession plans in the previous 2 years, having invested heavily in building out the internal candidate pool over the previous 5 years. This drop had been deemed related to the internal culture at the executive level, which was still dominated by males and expats. It was perceived that while females were being promoted in token instances, there had been little movement at the top table. This program was aimed at invigorating the high-profile strategy to promote female leaders.

The client engaged BOLDLY to deliver the program, which was termed internally as “EmpowerHer” with the objective of fostering and empowering high-potential female leaders across the bank. The program aimed to equip participants with the necessary skills, knowledge, and support to accelerate their career growth and make significant contributions to their geographies and to ensure a succession of female candidates for future internal hiring and rotation.

The EmpowerHer Program consisted of the following key learning and development components:

Training Workshops:

Participants attended two comprehensive three-day workshops delivered in-person, with 3 x 90 minute online meetings in between designed to enhance their leadership skills, communication abilities, and strategic thinking. The program included 20 previously identified high-potential females within the bank. Topics covered included leadership fundamentals, effective decision-making, personal branding, and navigating workplace challenges and was facilitated by an experienced executive BOLDLY coach. The workshops gave a strong opportunity for practical skills development as well as peer collaboration and feedback on executive presence.

Group Coaching:

To complement the workshop learnings, participants were assigned to small coaching groups led by experienced BOLDLY coaches in regional hubs. These group coaching sessions provided a supportive environment for sharing experiences, addressing challenges, and receiving personalised guidance from peers on themes related to the program curriculum. Group coaching ensured that in-session training content was reinforced with discussion and live application.

In particular, we discovered that these coaching opportunities were used for participants to discuss the “double-bind” they find themselves in. Female leaders often face a double-bind dilemma, where they are expected to demonstrate assertiveness and confidence while simultaneously conforming to societal expectations of femininity. Striking the right balance between being seen as competent and likable can be challenging and requires executives to navigate complex social expectations. Our BOLDLY coaches were able to use these coaching sessions to deeply explore and open up options for dealing with these two-edged swords.

Results and Impact:

The EmpowerHer Program witnessed significant success and positive outcomes, both for the participants and the program itself. Participants and their direct managers reported a perceived shift in their leadership abilities and self-confidence after completing the program. Numerous testimonials and success stories were collected, showcasing the program's effectiveness and contributing to its credibility and reputation. The EmpowerHer Program gained significant recognition internally and was strongly supported to be run annually.

The EmpowerHer Program serves as a compelling case study that highlights the power of combining training workshops and group coaching to unlock the leadership potential of high-potential women.

If you're seeking to empower and cultivate the leadership potential of women in your organisation, reach out to us at Our expert team at BOLDLY is ready to partner with you and tailor a program that meets your specific needs, enabling you to drive organisational growth, diversity, and inclusion through empowered female leadership.