Artwork by: Anastasia Kraynyuk
Women experience unique challenges in the workforce because of gender. Consulting with a female-centered career coach can help you overcome any hurdles in your professional path.
Over the last few decades, women have been taking the workforce by storm. A 2023 survey of Fortune 500 companies found that for the first time ever, over 10 percent of CEOs are female. And while there’s still a lot of room to grow, there’s reason to believe it will keep increasing.
However, women still face many barriers in the professional realm that their male counterparts will likely never experience. That’s why it’s important to find a career coach who can speak to the hardships that women face, giving both insight and advice. If you identify as a woman and are looking for a nudge in the right direction, a career coach who specializes in the success of businesswomen might be the right move for you.
In this article we’ll discuss:
Why women’s career coaches can differ from traditional career coaches
The common types of issues women face in the workplace
How to find a career coach that fits you!
As we said earlier, women face a unique set of challenges and opportunities in their careers as a result of their gender. The value of a women-specific career coach is that they put emphasis on those unique issues and experiences. Female-specific career coaches bring empathy and determination, because most of them have had to fight similar battles in their own professional growth.
There are common trends in the types of gender-specific issues businesswomen face. The specific situations will vary from industry to industry, but the following are examples of systemic hardships that exist in most industries.
Gender bias is the subconscious preference towards one gender over another. Examples include putting female colleagues in charge of staff party planning, giving them diminished responsibilities, or having only female secretaries/receptionists and only male executive-level employees.
Today across the US, if a man and a woman have identical resumes, education, work experience, network connections, and referrals, the woman will still make eighty cents to the man’s dollar on average. This is a nationwide phenomenon, strictly a result of preferential bias relating to gender.
Pay inequity is a deep-seated issue. There is a movement happening across the US advocating for wage transparency. Wage transparency is an effort to ensure equitable pay for all, regardless of gender. Through the promotion of wage transparency, companies are being exposed for pay inequity, which might determine whether a candidate chooses to pursue the company at all.
If women make up 10 percent of all Fortune 500 CEOs, that means that in every executive-level meeting in the top 500 companies in the country, the odds are that there will only be a single woman in the room. The likelihood of that woman being of color or LGBTQ+ is even smaller. When representation is that low, women are more likely to be dismissed, undermined, and undervalued. A women-specific career coach can help women maintain a presence in male-dominated environments like this, and create more opportunities for equal representation.
Many women are subjected to being asked about their family and home life in professional settings, with many even being asked about it during job interviews. Women are still seen as caregivers first and professionals second. The reality is that most families today need two working adults, and responsibilities in the home are shared evenly. Even so, men are much less likely to be asked if they have any children as a condition of taking on a new job or project. A career coach for women can help you brainstorm ways to answer questions about your work-life balance that draw the focus away from family or caregiving and put the emphasis back on your professional world.
As a result of the hardships faced by women in the workplace, it can be difficult to feel empowered. Working with a women’s career coach can help build confidence and self-assurance. Just taking the time to care for yourself and your career in such a way can be empowering. Honoring the hardships you face as a female professional is powerful, and overcoming them is something to celebrate.
Most women love supporting other women, especially in the professional realm. Career setbacks relating to gender are something all women can empathize with. Building professional networks with other professional women can provide a sense of community and safety, in addition to guidance and mentorship.
Keeping the gender pay gap in mind, negotiation skills are crucial for all women to possess. Women need to have a heightened awareness of what they deserve as a market average salary or wage and be confident in asserting those expectations. Doing so can be really intimidating. A woman’s career coach will be able to help prepare for handling the pressure of the situation.
Regardless of the gender specifics of your career coach, you can expect the same general topics to be covered. The themes relate to career development, exploration, and advancement.
Conversational assessments help a career coach get to know you, while also being a useful tool for you to understand your own career goals better. They will likely ask about your values, interests, strengths, and areas of growth.
If you have a career direction already decided, then these questions will be focused on that route and can help you decide how you will reach your goals. If you are hoping to gain insight into a direction to take your career, the prompts might be more about your reflections on a more personal side, helping to guide you to a career that suits you.
For those who are pulled in multiple directions, or who are unsure of any one direction, career exploration can provide great insight. A career coach will show you how to research different industries and specific roles. If accessible to the public, a career coach may do site visits with you or make suggestions on where you can explore on your own.
One of the most overwhelming parts of someone’s career is the job search phase. Jobseekers have to be constantly checking for updates and new job postings. A career coach will help you during this time, ensuring you are looking in the right places and selling your professional skills well.
A career coach will also review your resumes and cover letters, and will likely show you how to optimize them to increase your chances of reaching an interview. The workforce is competitive, and a career coach can get you ahead of the game.
Interviews require professionalism and social skills combined. A career coach can train you on how to communicate effectively in an interview and perform practice interviews with you. They’ll give feedback and tips on how to improve your interview skills.
Use tools like the internet and social media to help you find the right career coach for you. Be specific in your searches, using search phrases such as, “Career coach for women”, “women’s career coach”, or “female career coach”.
Because the field of career coaching is subjective, it’s good practice to do thorough research into your prospective coaches. You need someone who understands what you want in life and who can give you relevant, personal advice.
Ready to get started with a career coach for women? Check out our unparalleled career coaching services marketplace at Career.io!
Women professionals face a myriad of unique setbacks and experiences in the workplace. Using a career coach that caters to women is a great tool for gaining relevant guidance.
Women-specific career coaches will give advice on gender bias, pay inequity, representation, and more.
Use social media and online tools to find the right career coach for you.
Emma is a certified employment specialist with over six years of experience in career mentorship and employment training. Emma is passionate about nurturing professional growth and helping people gain momentum in their field. She uses her writing and strategic career planning skills to help her clients fulfill their aspirations and reach new chapters in their professions. In 2020, she helped design Colorado’s first state-certified training program for people with disabilities entering the workforce.