My wife was promoted to a more senior managerial role. After the celebration was over, she was left with the question new managers have to contend with. What kind of leader do I need to be?
Initially, the question was, 'what now?' After watching her struggle for a month, I started suggesting she find some help in the form of coaching. It took another two weeks for her to warm up to the idea. I wanted to understand if this resistance was unique to women in positions of power. So I ran a statistically inaccurate experiment on Instagram.
The questions were:
As a woman in a position of leadership, have you utilized the services of a leadership coach?
16 women and 2 men voted. My wife asserted that my assumption that women are more likely to struggle with taking on a coach was inaccurate, and that I should also ask the men.
67% have not utilized the services of a leadership coach.
33% have utilized the services of a leadership coach.
As a man in a position of leadership, have you utilized the services of a leadership coach?
23 men voted.
83% have not utilized the services of a leadership coach.
17% have utilized the services of a leadership coach.
What's a leadership coach do?
At this point, I wasn't convinced everyone that voted understood the role of a leadership coach. So I had to ask. The responses varied but mostly said the same thing. You can find them at the bottom of the article if you're curious. My favourite response was this one.
A leadership coach "Throws light on to the shadows within your mind. Gives clarity to where doubt exists."
Who do you think utilizes the services of a leadership coach. Men or Women?
I decided to dig a little deeper. Considering my medium was instagram polls, I needed to strike a balance between engagement and annoyance and this was the final question. 8 people voted. Which means I need to prepare all the questions ahead of time.
71% believe it's women that utilize the services of a leadership coach.
29% believe it's men that utilize the services of a leadership coach.
When I shared the results with my wife, she flashed the toothiest grin and didn't bother to say 'I told you so'.
The number of women who voted 'yes' to utilizing the services of a leadership coach being greater than the number of men who voted 'yes' to utilizing the services of a leadership coach. Again, the sample size was small, and this is not statistically accurate. However, the belief that women are more likely to utilize leadership coaches was affirmed by the people who voted.
This sentiment is better understood if you consider that men are likely to have access to informal mentorship. What's called the "old boy's club" or old boy's network might not be as present an option for females in positions of leadership. I'd need more accurate data to draw better conclusions.
As for my wife, she'd noticed significant changes in her attitude, work outcomes, and decision making process in the two weeks that followed her first leadership coaching meeting. She mused that this type of service should be on offer, for all people who have her level of responsibilities. Would you allow yourself the privilege of utilizing a leadership coach? Why or why not?
"Asks you the right question"
"Helps and guides to form better leaders"
"Someone to support and guide people already in leadership, or wanting to be in a position of leadership"
"Those who can't lead, coach. (with exceptions)"
"Develop them into a better leader"
"Listen to them and ask the right questions"
"Mentorship or coaching is a huge responsibility
It’s about making sure that ur mentee is always challenged on their plans and progress it’s about facilitating the emotional journey and building the capacity of a mentee to always examine challenges to reveal more of the mentees capacity. I have tried different people but I felt not everyone would understand the value of it and give it full attention cause it’s not something a mentor could do when they are free it’s on the top of their agenda"
"Hehehe no, I have true leaders to coach me, surround ur self with ppl ahead of u so that does that job .. "