Women who are in leadership roles face many of the same challenges as men but tend to handle these challenges differently. They look for a coach who will listen to them and help them find the answers to the questions they have, both about themselves and about their position.
Differences Between a Consultant vs Coach
A consultant works by giving answers or by giving a program for something you may not want to do. They are telling you what to do, and how to do it. A problem with consultants, and even mentors, is that no one really ever wants advice. Even if we ask for advice, we usually take the advice only if it aligns with what we already want to do. If the advice doesn't align, we think, "Well, they just don’t get me."
An executive coach is someone who works in partnership with leaders to achieve different results. They will walk alongside you, asking powerful questions that will motivate and draw out your wisdom. A coach helps you figure out what is best for you. Coaches work with the belief that you have your own answers. They help you arrive at the right answers on your own. Coming up with your own ideas, as opposed to getting told, is much more powerful.
An executive coach for women will help to build your “executive presence.” Your presence is what you bring to the table during casual meetings and difficult confrontations. It encompasses everything from how you dress to how you speak. It's in your walk and your demeanor. It's in the level of confidence and self-assurance you have when you present an idea or speak to a group of colleagues. It's the thing that people see when they read between the lines when looking at you.
Challenges Women Face
Everyone has their own brand of struggles. Women face many challenges as leaders. One of the most common challenges women leaders face are around balance and integrating the career success with other aspects of their life. Women are more likely to take on emotional labor in both the office and at home. This often includes caretaking or "office housework".
For example, cleaning up after a meeting or ordering dinner. Women are also more likely to recognize, for example, their co-worker is going through something hard at home. This leads women to work extra to make it easier on said co-worker, thus hurting their own balance. This additional emotional labor women tend to take on, often leads them to run themselves ragged. Coaches help women overcome this by identifying key goals around self care. For instance, getting X more hours of sleep each night.
Another challenge women often face is the “get stuff done mentality.” While it is a great concept, the GSD mentality is not scalable. The fact is that as a leader, being able to delegate is more important than doing everything yourself. Leadership means enabling others and giving them an opportunity to carry their share of the load. Things still get done, but a more stabilized balance is achieved in the process. When balance is achieved, you are able to bring your “best self” to the table every time, so you can produce positive results.
Foundational beliefs are the things you believe that cause you to act in a certain way, ultimately impacting results. Most people are not aware of the foundational beliefs they hold. A coach has a trained ear to identify foundational beliefs that are limiting you. They then bring them to your attention. Awareness alone is a critical step in overcoming these beliefs.
For example, if you believe you aren't good enough, you will tend to relay that message in your actions. Once you are aware of the belief, shifting your mindset to turn those negatives into positives will help you to rebuild those foundational beliefs. This helps you bring a more positive outlook to all of your endeavors.
Leadership Can Be Lonely
Leadership is lonely and women who are in leadership roles can be even more lonely. This is because, statistically, there aren't as many women executives as there are men. This adds another layer of loneliness to women in leadership roles. Leaders need someone to talk to and confide in that will challenge their way of thinking without offering unwanted, and in some cases, unnecessary advice.
An executive coach for women will travel the journey with them and ask the powerful questions that will stimulate their creativity and raise their motivation. The right questions will help her find the answers she needs without going outside herself to do so.
Women in leadership roles are stronger than they realize. With a coach by your side, you will continue to learn about yourself and your abilities, thus allowing you to grow into a well-respected, successful leader who can achieve whatever she sets her mind to.