The rise of women in leadership positions has been one of the defining trends of the past decade. From boardrooms to corner offices, women are increasingly taking on positions of power and responsibility. Yet, despite these advances, women still face significant challenges in the workplace.
In this blog, we look at the challenges women face in the workplace, advancing women's careers with leadership coaching, and the steps you can take to start your leadership coaching journey.
Examining the Current State of Women in the Workplace
There is no question that women have come a long way in the workplace. We have made great strides, but there is still room for improvement, especially when it comes to advancing women's careers.
This is especially true when we consider that:
Women currently fill less than 25% of c-suite roles.
Women of colour are less likely to fulfil leadership roles, with only 4% of women of colour in c-suite roles, 5% of women of colour in senior vice president roles, and 9% in senior manager or director roles.
Women are 14% less likely to receive a promotion than their male counterparts, even if they have the same experience.
Identifying the Challenges Women Face in the Workplace
As we look at advancing women's careers with leadership coaching, it's important to take a look at some of the challenges women face at work.
In recent years, there has been an increased focus on women's challenges in the workplace. At present, some of the challenges women face in the workplace include:
Glass ceiling: Preventing women from advancing to leadership positions, gender inequality sees women frequently overlooked for promotions and leadership roles.
Gender pay gap: Women are often paid less than men for doing the same job, with research showing that men are more likely to receive bonuses and the median pay for women is approximately 14.9% less than men.
Sexual harassment: Sexual harassment is also a major problem for women in the workplace. This can include everything from unwanted sexual advances to lewd comments and jokes. Unfortunately, sexual harassment is still very common, and many women feel like they have to put up with it to keep their job.
Work-life balance: In many cultures, women are the primary caregivers for children and elderly parents. Sometimes, this can present a challenge for women looking to advance their careers, with research showing that women are more likely to miss out on promotions after having children.
Life events: Various life events, such as perimenopause and menopause, can impact women’s working lives. Unfortunately, physical and psychological symptoms associated with menopause can cause absences from work or lead to reduced working hours. Whilst this should affect a woman’s career, sadly, due to gender bias, women going through menopause may miss out on career advancements, such as promotions.
In addition to the above, women are more likely to have their decisions and choices questioned by others within their organisation, as confirmed by McKinsey & Company women in the workplace report. This can sadly lead to a lack of self-confidence.
Advancing Women's Careers With Leadership Coaching
There are many benefits to working with a leadership coach. In addition to helping women develop the necessary leadership skills to advance their careers, leadership coaching can help them build relationships with influential people in their field, create a support network, and develop a clear career plan. Furthermore, leadership coaching can help women by:
Providing a safe environment for them to share and openly express their goals, ideas, and opinions.
Helping them identify and address underlying assumptions and beliefs that are holding them back from professional growth.
Guiding them through difficult conversations and challenging situations.
Supporting them in gaining clarity and perspective.
Optimising their executive presence and communication strategies to effectively influence stakeholders.
Providing strategies and tools to manage and address organisational and cultural changes.
Helping them to develop their own leadership skills and styles that resonate with their peers, staff, and superiors.
Steps Women Can Take To Start Their Leadership Coaching Journey
Leadership coaching is a process that helps you identify your strengths and weaknesses, set goals, and create action plans to achieve those goals. A leadership coach will help you to clarify your vision, set achievable goals, and create a plan to achieve them.
If you’re interested in starting your leadership coaching journey, here are a few steps to get you started:
Consider what you’re currently doing well.
Before getting started on your leadership coaching journey, take a moment to think about what’s currently going well in your career. Likewise, thinking about where there’s room for improvement can support you in advancing your career.
As you do this, factor in any feedback you’ve received from your peers, your manager, your leaders, and your team about your leadership skills, for example. Is there anything that stands out that offers direction for what you might need from leadership coaching as you look to advance your career?
Think about your goals.
Once you’ve made a note of what’s going well and where there’s room for improvement, turn your thoughts to your goals.
What are your aspirations? Where do you see yourself in six months, one year, and even five years? What do you hope to be doing in your career in the far future? For some women, goals include a promotion, a new role, completing continued professional development training, or enhancing leadership skills. For others, career goals include a better work-life balance or improving career well-being.
Determine your leadership coaching needs.
Determining what your leadership coaching needs are can be tricky. You may have some thoughts, but if you’ve never experienced coaching, you might not know what coaching can help you with.
If you’re unsure of your leadership coaching needs, that’s okay. As you get started with coaching, your coach will help you identify your needs to ensure you make the most of leadership coaching. Remember, it’s normal for your goals change as coaching progresses.
For some women looking to advance their careers, leadership coaching needs may include:
Increasing potential in their current role
Identifying their next career move
Enhancing their confidence in leading other people
Improving time management and leadership skills
Find a leadership coach who you can trust and who has experience working with women.
Searching for leadership coaches via Google is a great place to start when you’re ready to find a leadership coach to work with. Although several coaches offer services, including one-to-one leadership coaching, executive coaching, and mentoring programmes, it’s important that you find a coach with experience working with women.
To find a coach that has the experience to support you, we recommend taking a look at their:
Areas of expertise
Arrange a chemistry call with a coach or two.
As you begin to research and look for coaches that you think might be able to support you in advancing your career, it’s best to arrange a chemistry call with them before signing any contracts.
A chemistry call will allow you to meet selected coaches – usually via Zoom or telephone – and get a feel for whether working with them is best for you.
The chemistry call is the time for you to really get to know the coach as a person and a coach, so don’t be afraid to ask any questions you might have. Coaching is a big investment, so it’s important that you work with the right person.
Don’t feel you have to commit after a chemistry call, either. If talking with the coach doesn’t leave you feeling optimistic, continue your search until you find a coach that leaves you excited about what the future holds for your career.
To Conclude: Advancing Women’s Careers With Leadership Coaching
At The Leadership Coaches, many of our credible coaches have experience working with women looking to advance their careers with leadership coaching.
Hand-picked by our director of coaching, Zoé Lewis, our coaches all have 100% success track records. Including Sukhy, Nicky, and Carol, many of our coaches have experience in women’s leadership, performance, and talent development. They have supported women with various needs, including increasing confidence, overcoming imposter syndrome, and preparing for future roles.
Now, they’re here to support you too.
Written by Rebekah @ The Leadership Coaches.