At Peeplcoach, our mission is to make leadership development, training and coaching accessible to all. Research has proven that coaching works and yet current cost models and processes are exclusionary. By their very nature they provide for the few while excluding the many. Their lack of scalability limits organisations’ access, especially for emerging, developing, frontline and women leaders.
We know this because of firsthand experience, and the academic research supports this experience. Two years ago, James Chisholm, our Co-founder, completed his Advanced Certification in Coaching at Columbia University. His final research topic was ‘Gender and executive coaching: do traditional pricing models perpetuate inequality?’ He found that this was undoubtedly the case.
Over the years, and especially since COVID-19, we are finding more and more women leaders approaching us directly to enquire about our coaching programs.
They vary in age, cultural and religious background, education, career, industry, marital and family status, but there are many commonalities in why they are seeking an external coach. The following list is not exhaustive but we hear these topics come up again and again:
- imposter syndrome – building confidence and learning to be enough
- how to step up as a leader and in one’s career
- juggling work and life – finding balance
- working in a male-dominated industry
- learning to say no
- building executive presence and one’s leadership brand
- building networks.
And, generally, these women all just want to become better at their jobs.
The conversation usually starts with an ambitious and passionate woman leader sharing what they need. I then ask them, ‘Who will be funding this?’ and 9 times out of 10 they say, ‘I will.’ There are a few reasons for this answer:
- They haven’t asked, because they are scared of the response or didn’t even think it was an option.
- They haven’t asked because they don’t think they are worthy; they feel they need to fund their own development in order to be better so that they can add more value to their organisation before thinking about making any sort of request.
- They have asked and they were told no, the business can’t afford it.
All these responses anger me for so many reasons, but I am particularly frustrated by answer 2. Especially knowing that when we have the same conversations with passionate and ambitious male leaders, 9 out of 10 of them will happily mention that they will ‘talk to the business and the funding will be found’. There is a confidence and an understanding that they are entitled to this development to add value to themselves as well as their business. And, in this context, I think ‘entitlement’ is a good word. Passionate and ambitious leaders should be supported to develop their skills and leadership capabilities to benefit themselves, their team and their organisation.
So, to all the women leaders out there, I want to ask you the following questions.
- Why do you believe that you have to pay for your own development?
- What is stopping you from asking for development support?
- What makes you think that you are not good enough or do not deserve to be supported?
- What action can you take? Can you speak to your manager or HR team and investigate what support is available to you?
To organisations and managers:
- If you have employees, especially women, who are passionate about their career, encourage and support them.
- Don’t let budget be an issue. With our Peeplcoach programs starting from just $99 per month, budget cannot be the barrier to funding development. Especially when you remember that the cost to replace an employee can be anywhere from $30K to $100K.
- Ask yourself, are you investing where you should be?
We will never have true diversity, talent pipelining, succession planning or pay equity if we do not ask for, accept or offer resources, training, development and coaching equally.
And one final thing – 51% of participants in our programs are women, so every day we are moving closer to achieving our goal of equality in the workplace.
Discover more about our Women Leader of the Future programs here.