Maximizing Women’s Leadership Capacities through Coaching

Women Leadership Coaching

In my 3 decades of work life, I have seen a significant change in the number of women at work place. Even for jobs , which were considered non-traditional for women when I was growing up, like corporate leadership, entrepreneurship, sports, drivers, conductors, petrol pump assistants, police, armed forces, pilots etc., we are seeing a complete shift. In fact, now it almost seems like in every second or third flight I take in India, there is a woman pilot. If this year’s WPL is anything to by, it has proved that women cricketers are not behind their men counterparts.  

As the world begins to recognize the benefits of women in leadership, there is a new pledge to ensure that even more women are placed in positions of power. IWD or International Women’s Day that is celebrated on March 8 every year is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women.  As powerful agents of change, women bring the much needed diversity and gender equality in leadership.  

Though women are under-represented in politics, businesses, and communities globally, the Indian numbers seem to be promising. A 2023 Report found that India has a total of 36% women in the senior management positions in mid-market businesses. This is 4% higher than the global numbers, which is 32%. India is also ahead of the BRIC (34 per cent) and G7 (30 per cent) averages, as per the report. 

As women today make their mark across businesses and shatter glass ceilings across sectors and take on leadership roles across industries, there are many challenges to overcome. It is not only about being competent at work. One aspect that is acknowledged as a driver of professional and even personal growth is leadership coaching. It has a profound impact on women’s leadership and transforms potential into power. 

The Glass Ceiling 

Though metaphorical, the glass ceiling has long been a major hindrance in the progress of women in leadership. Leadership coaching is a powerful tool for shattering this barrier, as it provides women not only the skills needed at work, but also the confidence as well as the strategies they can incorporate as they rise to top leadership roles. It is not traditional mentorship, it goes way beyond that. Coaching offers a personalized and transformative experience. It addresses individual strengths, making it possible to use it skillfully and helps navigate the challenges. 

Confidence and Assertiveness  

Effective leadership is a lot about confidence and assertiveness (Not aggressiveness). Women are very often subject to societal expectations and stereotypes. How confident is over confident? How assertive is not aggressive? I have seen many women leaders struggle while trying to assert themselves in the professional territory. Through coaching, leaders can cultivate the much needed confidence and this fundamentally changes their careers. It also provides them with the tools to circumnavigate workplace dynamics. It also helps them in assertive communication skills, while standing firm in their decisions and speaking up in board rooms. 

Executive Presence 

What is it about great leaders that commands respect and authority? Well, it is their presence…a quality that helps leaders connect authentically, build confidence in others, and inspire and motivate people into action. Coaching can aid in developing a strong leadership and executive presence. It can refine communication skills, body language, and build executive conduct – all crucial in driving out biases and showcasing the value that women bring to a leadership role. 

Tactical Skills 

Leadership requires a diverse skill set and is a multi-layered role. Coaching helps identify areas of improvement and hones the inherent strengths of leaders. It is a personalized approach to skill development. Be it strategic thinking, conflict management or decision-making, coaching equips women with all the skills needed to traverse challenges of leadership. 

Work-Life Balance 

One aspect that women world over struggle with, is work-life balance. There are roles defined by society which pressures women to play certain domestic roles. Added to that, there is a certain guilt to fulfill these expectations. Women leaders are no exception, and the struggle will only increase as you climb the corporate ladder. Leadership coaching also addresses this issue and helps in breaking those biases. Resilience and practical strategies help empower women to thrive both personally and professionally. 

Networking and Branding 

Coaching also stresses the importance of building a supportive network and the ability to mingle in what seems a man’s world. Women can connect with peers and allies who understand their exhaustive journey of growth and support it. Coaching facilitates the development of these crucial connections with other likeminded people and creates a network that nurtures growth, collaboration, and branding oneself. 

The theme for this year’s ‘International Women’s Day’ is to ‘Inspire Inclusion’. Leadership coaching plays a crucial role in creating a more inclusive and empowered leadership setting for women. It instils confidence, develops leadership presence, enhances strategic skills, and also fosters a supportive network for women leaders. As the world marches towards gender equality and inclusion, let’s create a better world for women leaders by investing in coaching. Women can then embrace strengths, conquer fears, and unleash their limitless potential.  

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