Self Leadership: a Skill for Life Through the Eyes of Nancy Cooklin

Nancy Cooklin

On 13th of March, Woman In Business_Bocconi Female Students Association hosted a soft skill workshop in collaboration with Nancy Cooklin. Our association members had a unique opportunity to understand the tools, skills and techniques required in order to achieve excellence in our personal and professional life. Nancy Cooklin – an amazing woman – has devoted her career to life coaching, counselling and motivating people. Although she has studied Business Administration in Perù, she knew from the very beginning that her focus was closely related to people, relationships and positively impacting others. She further honed her vision by moving to Italy.

The focus of her workshop was leadership and its effects, especially Self-Leadership and what that means for young individuals such as ourselves. After the introduction, she began by explaining what it means to be your own leader – an approach vividly different from what we are taught in school. She talked about the fact that “whatever we are going to do in life, has to come from us”. This lead to a much bigger topic – Personal Branding. She helped us understand how important it is to correctly market yourself, especially when finding a job as a young graduate. An interesting statistic that she showed was one that presented predictions about the importance of soft skills (people management, creativity, emotional intelligence etc.) in application processes and in the work place in general. These soft skills are expected to become more in demand than the usual hard skills in the near future, posing a self-reflective question on everyone in the room.

Continuing the discussion about leadership, the one example that stood out the most was the safety procedures found in all airplane instructions: “put on your mask first, and then give it to everyone else”.  An interesting metaphor that explains how one can only become a successful leader when they have mastered the art of being in control of themselves. One must have a strong self- awareness, with their values and goals lined up, to be able to convince others to believe in those values. Social influence is one of the most important traits of leadership and people only believe in leaders they connect with. In relation to this, the leader must have systemic way of thinking in order to communicate his/her ideas with other people.

In the next part of the workshop she introduced an interesting exercise where we were asked to put our arms in a familiar, comfortable position and then to reverse them. When we did this the second time around, the “new, uncomfortable” position was not unfamiliar anymore. The point of this exercise was to show that if you get out of your comfort zone (by repeating a certain behavior that was previously unknown) you might find yourself opening up to new things and actually enjoying them. When we try to change our habits, we improve as individuals in ways previously never acquainted.

What we all could agree on is that Nancy Cooklin definitely has a unique way of capturing her audience’s attention through relatable examples and simple, yet cleverly designed, experiments. We are eagerly anticipating her second workshop taking place in April (in the series of three), where she will talk about emotional intelligence and why it is crucial to learn to control our emotions in different crises we are going to encounter through life. Stay tuned!


Mila Pavlovic

Women in Business_Bocconi Female Students Association