What is "leadership coaching"?

There are traditional definitions of leadership that don’t really resonate with me. They have to do with climbing the ladder, being more persuasive, and/or influencing others. Don’t get me wrong, these are all beautiful goals if they make you feel fulfilled, but leadership is deeper than that.

Leadership is about knowing what you want, who you are, and allowing that to have expression in the world. It might take many different forms: writing a book, having a baby, starting a business, getting promoted, making art, etc.

Leadership is about being, as much as doing. It’s about who you choose to be in every moment. It’s about being vulnerable, authentic, and sharing your true gifts.

Despite all its traditional connotations, “leadership” is the only word I’ve found that really captures all of this, for it speaks to both parts of a woman: her desire to be inwardly fulfilled and her desire to be outwardly successful. Often, what we learn through leadership coaching is how becoming your version of fulfilled is the real success you’ve always wanted.

What’s the bigger picture here? Women are still underrepresented in conventional leadership roles, and outside of that, women still prioritize the needs and dreams of others above their own. A study by Melinda Gates found that in every country in the world (even the U.S. and Canada), women still do the majority of unpaid work and labor that makes society function. That is, women are not using their minds, imaginations, and geniuses as much as they could be. Instead, they are spending most of their time cooking, cleaning, and rearing children. That’s a fact. It’s in the data.

Note: If a woman finds these tasks the most fulfilling, then by all means, there’s no problem. But it’s when women are confronted with a lack of choices and/or opportunities that the injustice becomes so clear.

In the West, we have more choices and opportunities. But our culture – starting from when we’re little girls – still conditions us to be modest, quiet, invisible, small, and receding in the background. Our culture also encourages a scarcity mindset that leads to the kind of comparison and shaming that undermines leadership. In my opinion, this conditioning is stronger for women. Leadership coaching is about reversing these learned ways of operating.

Let’s talk about coaching. When I first started this work, I despised that word. “Coaching.” First, I was very proud and thought of coaching as sort of belittling (sorry, have to admit it). I imagined sports coaching, thinking to myself: “I didn’t go to one of the top schools in the country to become a coach!” I can laugh at it now. And I do, I laugh hard. I had to let go of that pride and ego bullshit and see coaching for what it is. “Coaching” is the best modern-day word to explain the facilitation of a transformative process. In other words, supporting someone in going from point A to point B.

What I love about coaching is that it is a co-designed process. Each woman I work with has just as much power and say in her transformation as I do. We work together to come up with a plan that works best for her. I keep her accountable, and support her with a box of tools and tricks to make it really work and stick. But she’s in the driver’s seat, and that’s very empowering.

Many clients come to me seeking answers and handing over their power (I’m guilty of doing the same thing with so many of my teachers, coaches, and mentors over the years). They’ll ask me questions such as “Should I…?” or “Do you feel that…?” or “What do you think about…?” Sure, I can give them my best opinion and share my intuition, but real coaching is about supporting each woman to access that powerful part within herself, the part that can answer those questions.

By the end of coaching, you are more confident, more willing to be vulnerable, and more trusting of yourself. You are wiser and more powerful.

So, if you’re curious about exploring leadership coaching, here’s what I need to know – are you tired of...

  • Feeling out of touch with what you want instead of what's expected from you
  • An inner critic that operates from scarcity – not enough time, money, energy, resources, talent, and spinning the story of “not good enough” or “not ready yet”
  • A definition of success you've inherited from culture, society, parents...one that isn't letting you be the fullest expression of yourself
  • Overthinking and spinning ideas in your head instead of taking real concrete action
  • Feeling torn by so many passions, unsure how to give them all expression, how to prioritize or integrate them into a career path and lifestyle that feels good
  • Trusting others and external information way more than your own gut
  • Being hard on yourself all the time for not doing or being enough...
  • Every day that goes by feeling like underutilized potential

If this sounds like you, request a free consultation. I would be so honored to chat and hear more about your story.

Here’s to you sister,

Maria