One of the most common questions I get asked all the time is:
“Do you coach men as well?”
Often, people ask me this because they know a man who wants to transition into senior executive leadership and they think I could help.
And they’re right. I could.
Actually, when I was writing Promotions Made Easy, I was still coaching men on how to get promoted to the executive suite.
And it worked. Because my teachings work, regardless of your gender.
But there’s a super simple reason why I only coach women.
And it’s this:
It really matters that I only work with women leaders.
And in this episode of Women Changing Leadership with Stacy Mayer, I am going to explain why it matters so much.
Let’s dig in.
Want to receive the recognition you deserve, step into a higher leadership position, get paid for your ideas instead of the hours you put in at work, and enjoy more time, freedom, energy, and joy? Then you need to get your hands on a copy of Promotions Made Easy. Get your copy here.
What You'll Learn:
- Why “wait and see” doesn’t work for women leaders
- How gender bias stops women from accessing the information they need to get promoted
- How being in a community with other women helps you show up to the leadership table as your authentic self
- The exact reasons why I love coaching women
- The amazing impact diversity has on the entire leadership team
Listen to the Full Episode:
Featured on the Show:
- Ep #162: Transformational Moves from 3 Corporate Badasses
- Connect with me on LinkedIn
- Follow me on Instagram
- Join my group coaching intensive, Executive Ahead of Time
- Get your copy of my book, Promotions Made Easy: A Step-by-Step Guide to the Executive Suite
- Go to StacyMayer.com/Strategies to join my email list and receive my email series, Seven Promotion Strategies that Your Boss Won’t Tell You
Your next promotion is just the beginning, and this podcast shows you how to get there.
Welcome to episode number 163. Today's episode I am sharing with you my coveted secret about why I only coach women.
I get asked all the time:
'I have this man that I know who is having the same challenges that you talk about, about transitioning into senior executive leadership. And I bet what you are saying would work really well for him. I mean, why don't you coach men as well?'
Well, I'm going to share with you exactly why in today's episode, and I think you're really going to enjoy it. Listen on.
Hello corporate badasses. Welcome to another episode of Women Changing Leadership. I am your host, Stacy Mayer, and super excited to be here with you again this week.
If you haven't listened to last week's episode, please go and do that immediately following this one because it is so inspiring. I interviewed three corporate badasses who are literally changing their leadership tables as we speak, and it's just been a really incredible episode even for me to listen back to and just how proud I feel of each one of them and really how awe-inspiring they are. So definitely go back and listen to that episode.
And speaking of awe-inspiring, I wanted to share with you a little behind the scenes of some of the work that I do with my corporate badasses and how the coaching in particular really benefits them and when. When does the benefit really happen?
So I wanted to share with you this great example and then we'll dive into the episode here in a few minutes, which is going to be all about why I coach women in particular. So let me give you a little bit backstory.
I started working with a woman who was at the senior director level back in January of 2022, and she came in to my Executive Ahead of Time program. At the time, she had done several women's leadership groups. She was a member, is still a member, of a very big women's leadership organization. She is very empowered as a woman in technology and has always been ambitious. She always knew that she wanted to be in the executive suite. She wanted to be included in the conversation. She wanted to have that voice at the table.
So all of those things make her a corporate badass even before I ever met her. So why is it important then to come into a program like Executive Ahead of Time and start on the executive path with Stacy Mayer and all of the work that I'm teaching the women to do, both inside of Executive Ahead of Time and for the next two, three years and beyond? And it's because of that hurdle, that hurdle to be able to break through from senior director to vice president.
And if you're somebody who has been trying to make that jump, it's it's not an easy one. It is often challenging because there are a lot of factors at play. One is there are less roles available. There are less roles for women available. We don't have as much representation at the executive level. And so that's one really big thing is that from a numbers perspective, there are more senior directors than there are VP's. And then another thing that happens is that there is a huge shift in our roles and responsibilities. So you can be at the senior director level and technically be leading a 200 person team. I have that happen all the time with the women inside of my groups. But what doesn't always happen is their inclusion in the executive level decision making conversations.
So even though they're leading a very large group of people, they're still sort of separated from the higher level decision making abilities in those conversations. They're still being told what to do with their team. And so they have a certain level of autonomy in how they lead their team, but not a lot of autonomy managing up.
So that's a big transition. Whereas when you get to that vice president, senior vice president, C-suite level, you are included in those conversations, hopefully, and that's another podcast episode. But once you transition into those higher level positions, you really are expected to be able to hold your own at that executive level of decision making. And you have to show them that you can do that through your everyday conversations, through the relationships that you build, through your actual decision making that you're doing with your team and your willingness to speak up, to advocate, to push back, whatever that might be.
So that is that is the role that is the work that you have to do to transition. And for a lot of people it can be crazy, weird. Like this thing I don't understand it, I feel ready, so why can't they see it?
And so for this woman, she was definitely ready 100%. She was ready to go. But yet there was still that hurdle, that transition. She had been promised a vice president title. It just wasn't happening. And so it was how to make that transition.
So in Executive Ahead of Time, and then she quickly moved into The Leadership Table, which is my advanced coaching program, where I give you one on one guidance. And in that transition and working with me over the year, we really got her beyond all of the external hurdles. She really understood how to communicate at the executive level what her boss's boss's boss needed to hear from her, was making sure that she was included in the decision making conversations as much as she could be. So she was just 150% the Executive Ahead of Time. And then it just became how do we get the transition into the title change?
And I wanted to show you a great example about why it's so important to get this work done now is so that I can give you the coaching that you need to hear in a moment's notice, in a split second so that you can hear it and then you can implement it immediately. And that's when the rest of your career opens up for you. That's when everything else becomes so much easier.
So in this particular instance, we were having lots of conversations with the boss's boss about what it was going to take when she was going to be promoted. There were lots of promises made, in my opinion. It's never a done deal. There are other paths to work. There are other conversations to be had, even if we're being promised the promotion sometime in the future.
And so what I'm coaching you on on a regular basis is really just how do we keep those conversations going without being annoying. Without sounding needy. And what is it that we're really doing in those conversations? Because we're not always directly of course, we're not always asking for a promotion. So it's how are we being, how are we showing up in these conversations?
And there was one coaching, one one on one call that we did, and there were a bunch of promises for promotions sometime in 2023. So future focused. And it was lots of re orgs are happening, lots of promotions are happening, big things are happening. So just wait and see. We're going to get to it. You're part of that group. It's going to happen, don't you worry.
And the problem is and actually this goes into what I'm going to talk about on today's episode is that if we as women wait and see, 90% of the time, it ain't happening. There are lots of reasons for this, but it's just not a possibility for us to just wait and see. That doesn't work for us. It might work for us sometimes, like 10% of the time, but 90% of the time it doesn't work and it doesn't have to be hard. In that that needy sense. Like: I got to make it work. I got to make it work. But it can be much easier than that. But it needs to be clear and direct.
So I coached her in this one instance, how to have a very direct conversation about why her promotion needed to happen now, and it was different than the rest of the reorg. So I'm going to repeat that again. So her promotion needed to happen now, and it was different than the rest of the reorg that was about to happen. And so what in that instance, it became very clear to her how to differentiate herself from the rest of the people being promoted or moved around or reshuffled. And that's what we had to do, was get her in her own lane so that her promotion wasn't included with a bunch of other things happening at the organization.
It works. Within weeks, she was not only promised to promotion more directly, but now she's actually already received it and we're in the beginning of January 2023, not later on in the year. So congratulations to her. Congratulations to her organization. I am so excited for her to now actually have that vice president title to have made the coveted transition from senior director to VP and to really have that voice at the table. She is no longer not going to be included in the conversations. She has included herself, but yet every single person around her is so on board with this so that she can bring her whole self to the leadership table. And I'm just so excited.
So this was a very long winded, incredibly impactful story that I thought absolutely 100% needed to be shared at the beginning of today's episode. I'm thrilled.
So why, why do I coach women in particular? So the reason why I'm sharing this episode with you today is because I was having a conversation with a managing director at a organization, and it was to bring me on as a coach at their organization. And he was asking me different questions and he wanted me to coach men and women at their company and he was asking me why in particular I only coach women. And part of the reason that he was asking me this is one is he wanted me to be able to coach more people at his organization, which is awesome. But the second reason that he was asking me this is because he literally couldn't understand. He was like: everything that you're telling me works for men and women in terms of getting promoted. So when I just shared with you this story, it's the same story. That could have been a man trying to get promoted from a senior director role to a VP level role. And if he did all of those things, he would be promoted earlier than everybody else.
Okay, great. When I wrote Promotions Made Easy, I was still coaching men at the time, and everything that I did worked for both men and women. So the steps that are outlined in that book, I often refer men to read this book because it's literally what it takes to get promoted to the executive suite, gender aside. It's the exact step by step process to get promoted. Everything that I teach: getting out of the weeds, 3xing your vision, 15-Minute Ally Meetings, everything that I tell you is about how to get promoted to the executive suite. It doesn't matter what your gender is.
And so when this question was asked of me, like why? Why in particular does it matter if you only coach women? Because everything that you're saying is applicable to both men and women and this is what people need. And I think he even said, in fact, I need you. He's like: I need a coach. It sounds like everything that you're saying is amazing and it's exactly what every executive leader needs. And the answer that I gave him and the answer that I have to you today is:
Because I want to.
So why do I only coach women? Because I feel like it.
And here's why that simple answer is so important. It's because, we as women need to start owning our awesomeness and our ability to do whatever the heck we want. And if I want to be in a room surrounded in a room full of women, and those are the conversations I enjoy the most, then that is the conversation that I'm going to be having on a weekly basis.
And some people would call this reverse bias. And I think that's a bunch of BS because, yes, what I am working against are the male circles that have been doing this for years. So we talk about acting more like a man and that we need to show up and act more like a man if we want to get promoted. And I say we're going about it in the wrong frickin way. So what we're saying is, we want to act more like a man because we want to put ourselves in the room with other men and pretend and be more like men. And I say, we need to be more like women. We need to be who we are, and we need to surround ourselves with safe environments with the groups of women who empower us to be more like ourselves, more like the corporate badass women that we really are.
So when you get pissed off because men have these environments where they only hire people who look like themselves and who talk like them and act like them, and we're trying to break that cycle, let's own some of that. What works for men also does work for women. So when I gave you the story about how everything that I teach also works for men, it's true. The problem is, is that women haven't been given this information because we're not part of those inner circles. Because we're not included in those casual bar conversations or networking after work or at the golf course or whatever that might be, or just shooting the shit in somebody's office. We're not included in those conversations.
A lot of times when male leaders are talking to us, they're guarded. Not just because of they don't want to tell us something, but because they feel like they need to have a formal relationship with us as a boss. They don't want to cross any lines. Thank you. I'm glad you're not crossing lines, but they're trying to be more professional. They're trying to say, oh, okay, I'm going to put on a professional front. I'm not going to break down any barriers. And so then therefore, I'm not going to give her the information that she needs in order to actually get promoted. I don't want to say anything rude. I don't want to piss her off. All of those things. They're not doing that consciously. It's subconsciously. Zometimes I guess it could be consciously, and that's another issue. But they're literally saying: Hey, I can't tell you the thing that it really takes to get promoted. So I'm just going to sit here and kind of talk in circles around it and tell you, just sit tight. Oh, it'll be okay. You're so great. Just keep doing what you're doing. Right, because they're trying to people please you and make you feel better and not piss you off.
But I say, screw that. Let's create our own circles of women so that we can understand what it really takes to get promoted, what it really takes to advocate for ourselves, and let's get ourselves into those positions of influence and power. And if that means that we're creating our own little bubble just because we frickin feel like it, then great. Because you know what? Every day that you go back into work, you're surrounded with an environment of people who don't look, think and talk like you. And if you cannot be yourself in that environment, you aren't actually helping your leadership table. You're pretending to be just like everybody else.
But I want you to be able to go into those rooms of people that don't look, think and talk like you and feel confident in yourself. Feel that ability to to speak up, feel that ability to cross the line, to come off as the B-word and be able to course correct not make it mean something about you. Realize oh, maybe I did push too far. I'm glad I did because I was pissed. But now I'm going to course correct. Now I'm going to figure out how to whatever have another side conversation. I'm going to figure out how to be very clear and direct about my ambitions, about my intentions of getting promoted. And I'm going to have that direct advice.
So the story I shared at the beginning of this podcast episode, that direct advice that actually says, Hey, this is what you need to do. This is what's actually getting in your way in this moment right now, today. You've done the work of becoming the Executive Ahead of Time. You have included yourself in the conversations. They all want you to be promoted, but sometimes we have to say the right thing at the right place, and that's where the one on one coaching comes in.
Now, let me talk a little bit more about what is so amazing about only coaching women.
So one thing that I completely love about it is I love how free I can be in my coaching. I love how I can laugh, I can be silly, I can make jokes, I can be emotional, I can be vulnerable. All of those things because I've created this safe environment. And I think for women in particular, being around other women inherently creates that level of safety. We feel like we can be ourselves. Amd it's not always the case. And part of the reason why it's not the case is because a lot of women have been socialized as men. And so at their organizations, they're actually acting more like a man than a woman. So they're not truly connecting with you in their feminine attributes. They're putting up their own fronts and their own ideas. And so then therefore, they're not able to truly connect with you.
But if you create an environment like the one that I've created inside of my executive path, then the women in these groups, they can connect, they can talk to one another, they can be themselves. And when you can do that and practice that, then you can show up at work in that way. I've already shared about that. So that's one thing that I love so much about it.
Another thing that I love about only coaching women is that how much we celebrate each other. So we have a stereotype of women is that we'll be the party planners at work, the note takers, the people that bring the coffee. All the things that we hate and never want to do again. Which I don't think we should. But what is the reverse of that stereotype? It's that we're really freaking good at celebrating other women. We're great at remembering birthdays. We're great at throwing parties. We're great at giving gifts. We're great at celebrating.
And these women celebrate, celebrate, celebrate. They know the impact that all the other women in the group are making. And so what they'll do is they'll post about about other people what they saw. Like the podcast interview last week that you heard is the women in the group, other women who weren't in that episode, shared about how amazing that episode was, but not just like: Oh, that was so great, but exactly why. Exactly what stood out to them.
They gave a recap of this, an unsolicited recap, because we all want to celebrate everybody. We know how hard it is, but also when we can fully be ourselves and not be pigeonholed into that party planner position, you can be a VP and be pigeonholed into bringing the pizzas to the meeting. Or ordering the pizzas or whatever the crap is. That happens. But if we can just fully embrace: Hey, I like bringing all the pizzas and not risk the judgment as part of it. How freeing is that? So I love the fact that we can celebrate like nobody's business. I love the fact that it can feel safe and feel like this close knit environment.
And then thirdly, I love the fact that what we're doing really, really matters.
The numbers are there. Having more diverse teams equals more money for organizations. But not just that. Having more diverse teams creates more diversity and compassion and empathy and inclusion in all of the core values that I hold so deeply to my heart. Having more diversity on your team makes the white male leaders be more empathetic, more compassionate. It makes them think about what it is that they're sharing, the decisions that they're making. It makes them be more of themselves and less like everybody else.
Because every male leader is themselves as well. Every male leader wants to bring their whole self to the leadership table. We're all being washed up in this sort of idea of being like everybody else in particular in a corporate environment. It's part of the nature of that work. And so when we can really show up as ourselves, then it gives permission to even our male colleagues to show up as themselves. This is the work of changing the leadership table. This is how women are changing the leadership table. This is how we, you, me, every single one of us are changing the leadership table. And this is why I only work with women.
Oh, this was such a delightful episode. Thank you all so, so much for listening. And hey, listen, if you want to work with me in 2023, let's hop on the phone. I want to talk with you and strategize about how you can get started on your unique leadership path. Go to StacyMayer.com/Apply and you can answer a few questions, and then we're going to hop on the phone together, and then I'm going to show you what it's going to look like for you to step into your own unique level of leadership this year.
Alright. Thank you so much for listening and I'll see you next week. Bye!
About Your Host
Hi! I'm Stacy Mayer, a Certified Executive Coach and Promotion Strategist on a mission to bring more diversity to the leadership table by getting 1000 underrepresented corporate managers promoted into senior executive positions each year worldwide.
I help undervalued executives scale to the C-Suite using repositioning strategies that build your confidence and visibility, so you can earn the recognition and support you need from key stakeholders while embodying your unique leadership style.
My podcast “Women Changing Leadership with Stacy Mayer” tackles topics like executive communication, getting more respect in the workplace from challenging bosses and team members, and avoiding the common mistakes that sabotage career advancement.