How Women Leaders Navigate & Embrace Growth

In honor of International Women’s Month, I wanted to share something that's been on my mind. In my coaching practice, I work with many women—about 50%. And let me tell you, coaching sessions with women are quite different from those with men.

Men typically come into our sessions with a clear agenda—they want to solve a specific problem or tackle a particular issue. It's straightforward and to the point. w But with women, it's often a bit more nuanced. They may not always know where to start, and that's okay. I tell them, "Just show up," and the issue reveals itself, which makes our sessions more organic, emotional, and vulnerable. Women bring a "we" focus, striving to create community and psychological safety within their organizations.

That's why having them in male-dominated industries and at the executive table is so important. They bring a deeper connection and a sense of belonging that is invaluable to our companies.

To support them in this role, we need to create space for them to show up as their most authentic selves. We can't treat them the same as men because they have different needs—they need to feel seen, heard, known, and accepted in their way.

One of my female CEOs reached out to me on a particularly challenging day. Feeling overwhelmed and defeated by a series of setbacks, she needed to talk through her frustrations. Despite our weekly meetings, I made myself available to her within 24-48 hours to address her immediate concerns.

She felt overwhelmed and defeated when we spoke like everything was going wrong. But by staying curious and holding space for her, I was able to help her shift her perspective. I reminded her that she did her best with what she knew then and that tomorrow is a new day with new opportunities.

During our conversation, she expressed her frustrations and self-doubt, seemingly trapped in a cycle of negativity–also known as a Fixed Mindset. Sensing her distress, I gently asked, 'It sounds like you want to stay in the ick?'

Her response was immediate and adamant: 'No, I don't. I need to get out of the ick and find clarity to move forward.'

With that acknowledgment, we shifted our focus to curiosity and reflection, untangling her emotions and guiding her toward a Growth Mindset. Together, we explored the lessons learned from her challenges and reaffirmed her strengths and capabilities.

Moments like these remind me of the importance of supporting and encouraging women in leadership roles. On top of policy changes to close the wage gap, offer paternity leave, and better environments for nursing mothers, we also need to offer understanding, validation, and guidance to empower women to overcome obstacles, reclaim their confidence, and embrace the promise of a brighter tomorrow.

Cheers to progress, Todd

From Suck to Success

In From Suck to Success, Todd uses his own experience in professional purgatory to propel your business upward by embracing Massive Curiosity coupled with Massive Accountability.

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