When McKinsey & Company’s Joanna Barsh talked to the Wall Street Journal about the new report she co-authored on women in the US economy, she recommended coaching as a strategy to help women move up out of middle management.
Barsh, a director in McKinsey’s New York office, rightly turns our attention from top-down corporate initiatives to the kind of on-the-ground professional development that individual women can achieve when they work with a personal coach.
Coaching works for corporate women who want to turn their ambitions into promotions. As a coach, I’ve seen it work. Here are 10 reasons why:
- It’s private, safe, and low-risk.
- A coach makes sure that the tough questions get asked, and answered.
- It’s one thing to take a workshop (on business development or leadership, for example); it’s another thing to actually apply and master those principles.
- Learning is more effective with a learning partner.
- Coaching acknowledges anxiety and fear and then neutralizes them.
- The coaching process provides an ongoing structure that makes it easier to sustain learning and growth.
- Coaching provides a neutral perspective, independent of workplace drama.
- All assumptions get tested.
- Coaching is a place where the cultural complexity (read: double-bind) of a woman’s position in the workplace can be acknowledged and managed.
- The deep engagement of coaching produces deeply internalized, long-term professional development.
Next time: What’s different about coaching women.