Women are as qualified as men to hold leadership positions, yet in 2015 only 23 Fortune 500 companies were led by women. That’s less than 5%. Why is there such a huge disparity?1
Research indicated that in contrast to men who tend to be more career-centric and driven by the desire to maximize their financial return, women’s motivation is intrinsic. Women are more likely to value meaning, purpose, connection and work-life integration when considering a position.
While many women possess great qualities that position them well to become leaders they seem to be blind to them or to undermine them. This prevents them from reaching for the next rung on the ladder.
In her Ted Talk, Reshma Saujani discusses the benefits of bravery over perfection. She highlights the fact that men appear to be braver when it comes to taking a job at the next level. They are less worried than women about having it all figured out. They seek roles they are not fully qualified for and are more comfortable about learning on the job. In contrast, Reshma points out that women tend to value perfection and go for roles they feel fully qualified for, therefore minimizing risk for failure.
If there is to be more women leaders, focus needs to be on strengthening women’s grit and bravery. The mindset of persevering when a task is difficult, accepting that making mistakes is part of the learning curve and being comfortable with stepping into the unknown will be crucial to increase women’s comfort with taking on more responsible roles. In addition, women may need to reconsider the belief that they can only have one or the other: career success or happy families.
Women turn to coaching to break these old beliefs and to realize their aspirations. Coaching holds a mirror to women and shows them their strengths and potential. It assists in creating a plan to break barriers, maximize personal success and support when the going gets tough.
The future of women is built one woman at a time. By changing women’s attitudes toward bravely embracing the unknown and going after leadership roles, coaching changes the future for generations of women to come.