A Coaching Model By Aleksandra Kowalska, Business Coach, SPAIN
Women still strive to find their place in the professional environment, especially in Leadership positions. When the focus is to improve working conditions one cannot dismiss other life dimensions. When coaching women, personal topics like family and domestic issues tend to come up quite a lot as well and seem to characterize them and sometimes stand in the way of their professional development.
That requires a coach to be specialized in various disciplines, the coach who knows where the limits lie and how to guide the coachee highlighting their development as an objective as well as taking into consideration other important factors not to hinder the process but to enrich it.
Therefore, for the coaching to be beneficial, it needs to be offered in defined conditions, like:
- Managing the process focusing on women, bearing in mind female characteristics, their leadership styles, the frequent obstacles.
- Set very precise objectives, prioritizing their professional goals, knowing that the other ones, more personal can play the role in the process.
- Understand properly the role of a coach, that not necessarily has to be a woman, but needs to possess qualities that will facilitate the process.
Female Leaders Coaching Model – PASS
I would like to present the PASS (Person – Awareness – Structure – Support) coaching model, which aims at supporting Female Leaders.
P – Person
Goal – To get to know each other, generating empathy, and start the coaching process with confidence and mutual trust to reach the objectives.
Here, a coach and a coachee create a relationship based on mutual trust and confidence. It is established by being present and accepting at all times. This stage is very important for female coachees as in general they are all about bonding and creating relationships.
Creating an atmosphere of growth and learning depends on whether a coach and a coachee can build a secure and supportive bond with one another. For this bond to be effective, it needs to be based on mutual commitment and be nourished during the process, not only in the initial contact. The coach needs to:
- Identify the deepest needs of the client.
- Define the rules of the relationship.
- Rely on their strengths to work on the improvement areas.
- Communicate clearly, listen, be present, release the judgment.
A – Awareness
Goal – Raise awareness through thorough assessment, analysis, and inquiry
Here the coach helps the coachee to gain self-awareness through several tools, like assessment tools, analyzing the results, observation powerful questions.
Coaching is successful if the coach obtains the information about the client through all the possible tools available to them.
The role of the coach in analyzing and guiding the coachee through their results objectively, mindfully, and without prejudice is of uppermost importance for the client to set their objectives properly and define the desired outcomes. The information acquired this way can tell the coachee where they are in the maze of their professional path, obtain the Map that would allow them to position themselves in the present moment, and where to go from there.
Here, the coachee starts to get the vision of their success, which is usually different for men and women respectively. While men measure their success with achievements, status, and position, women frequently use some more subjective success indicators and a more general vision of their progress and life improvement. They value everyday actions that happen every day but can change their tomorrow´s results, which contribute to the atmosphere at work and their personal wellbeing, and the wellbeing of their nearest and dearest.
The following indicators are important in this stage of raising awareness:
- All the opinions are valid.
- The emotions serve as indicators.
- It is useful not to take things personally.
- Intuition is very valuable and should be listened to.
- Self–confidence is the key to achieving one´s goals and can be built.
- Asking others for their opinions and listen to them is a sign of high self-esteem build trust and can improve the relationship.
- Problems are opportunities.
S – Structure
Goal – Define, set, and agree on objectives, establish the action plan and specific tasks to follow through.
Here, the coach challenges the clients via powerful questions, helps them to identify their goals, and accompanies the coachee in finding the best-suited structure and action plan.
The role of the coach is to challenge the coachee to reassess their work situation and direct it towards their meaningful goals.
When coaching women, one needs to remember that the challenges they face might be different from the challenges men face. Knowing the challenges and the obstacles that detain women from professional development is essential for the coach to be successful. A coach can also help their client to dismiss the myths engraved in the culture that in turn can allow the woman to feel professional, emotionally, and personally capable to face their challenges.
To challenge the client is to make spot-on, relevant questions to provoke reflection on her own situation by posing motivating and stimulating questions on herself, for example:
- What do I want exactly? Can I describe it precisely?
- What would I rather have that I don´t have now?
- What will I perceive and feel exactly when I get achieve my objectives of development? How and when will I know that I achieved it?
- How long will I need to achieve it? When do I want to achieve it?
- How will I measure my progress?
- What benefits does it give me?
- What and why is important to me?
- What wouldn´t I renounce in this situation?
- What limitations will I encounter? What else is possible here?
- What can I learn from this situation?
- What is the best solution to this situation?
- What am I not ready to change?
- What am I resisting?
- What are my skills and talents?
- What habits stop me? How much am I committed to my objective?
- What resources do I have in this situation?
- What motivates me most?
- What is the best and the worst-case scenario?
- What did I commit to? What else can I do?
- Who can help me? In what areas of my life don´t I feel satisfied yet?
These questions should help in designing effective work. Having the previous assessment, it is important to define the time frame, the number of sessions, and their frequency.
The working plan should include:
- Clear, positive, achievable objective.
- Purpose – for what?
- Defined actions for every day, week, month till reaching the final goal
- Resources and support are necessary to reach the objective, especially when a woman finds it difficult to delegate – stages and dates.
- Obstacles and limitations both internal and external, like limiting beliefs that can black a person and lack of time, etc.
- Indicators on how to proceed. How can you measure the progress?
The following presuppositions that can occur at this stage can help the process:
- It is possible to decrease the risk.
- There is always a better way of doing things.
- Success is an effect.
- The answers exist and they are within each person.
- There is no failure, there is only learning.
- We all have the resources that we need or we can create them.
- There is a reason behind every behavior.
- Having an option is better than not having any option.
- We create our reality
S – Support
Goal – Generating the motivation and the ability to reach the objectives and accompany the coachee in this process of change and new habit creation.
Here, a coach supports a coachee in following through with their action plan and becomes the accountability partner, a team player, a kind and supportive mirror for the clients.
In a high level of leadership, women tend to be more isolated than men and tend to receive less support than men do. When women are left out from certain social–professional circles, they need to do networking and create their own circles.
In this stage, a coach has a great role to support their client in their emotional journey as the feelings of anxiety and distress may frequently arise to help the client understand what the emotions are, how they affect their development, where do they come from, what do they mean and what can one learn from them. On the other hand, a coach can help the coachee establish the limits between the professional and the personal life. The limit is a thin line and can be crossed easily and to understand and notify the client is the coach´s job.
Some important aspects that can help this stage to be successful are the following:
- Positive attitude and energy
- Stability and Support
- Effective feedback