It's no secret that decision makers within the majority of companies are usually men, but in an attempt to help women develop business skills and elevate them to higher levels of responsibility, training providers are developing courses specifically for them. SMU Cox Executive Education is part of the Dallas-based university business school, which recently launched its 'women in motion' course. The course is based on a research-based curriculum and personal coaching. 'The advancement of women to senior ranks of corporations really hasn't changed much in the last 20 years,' said Kym Sosolik, director of leadership and organisational development for SMU Cox Executive Education. A 2007 McKinsey study suggested that American companies with 30 per cent or more women in senior management teams achieved higher average scores for organisational excellence. The course will focus participants on self-awareness, which will change personal behaviour through experiential learning and personal coaching. 'This will be a unique experience for women to learn how to increase business results through enhanced authentic leadership capabilities,' Ms Sosolik said. In Hong Kong, consulting and training specialist Potential Dialogue runs women-only training programmes for executives. Founder and managing director Peter Nixon said he had been approached by women-only groups that offered training to members. His training for the groups has covered business development and dispute resolution issues for women in finance, business and publishing. Mr Nixon said he believed that women formed these groups because of the safety they felt excluding men and the resulting issues that men could bring. He said that women-only groups offered certain advantages. 'As a trainer, I find the time it takes to achieve a sense of openness and intimacy in an all-female group is shorter than with mixed groups, but I guess this is largely because men are slower to open up than women.' Mr Nixon said the groups he has worked with tend to be female-only groups not because they want to learn without men, but because they support each other professionally. Some of the issues he has been asked to address include gender bias issues as they relate to negotiation. Mr Nixon said it was useful to address men and women separately because their issues were different. He said training sessions he ran for women produced some interesting situations, such as the time he had to deal with men who participated in after-hours activities with women but excluded female executives 'who for obvious reasons are not attracted to such activities'. 'My work on this front is related more to mending fences between genders for what was perceived on both sides as bad team spirit.'