Despite coaches being game-changers for many entrepreneurs, most women don’t engage one- often because we put ourselves last.
We know that women entrepreneurs face different challenges than their male counterparts when it comes to accessing financing and business networks. In addition to these, there are other challenges unique to women entrepreneurs. Coaching is the third critical pillar in the SheEO model that provides the crucial leverage needed to overcome these obstacles.
SheEO Development Guides (also known as coaches) are women with deep experience. Unlike most coaching programs that are designed by-men-for-men and only focus on the business, our coaches have been entrepreneurs themselves, and, understand all the competing priorities and complexities in women’s lives.
After three years, here is what we’ve learned about the impact of coaching and how it makes a positive and profitable impact on women-owned businesses.
Coaching Bridges the Confidence Gap
The confidence gap is a very real and costly thing that affects women entrepreneurs, and by extension, the economies in which they operate. Studies have shown, for example, that not only do women rate themselves more negatively than men when it comes to performing certain tasks, despite their actual performance being on par with that of men, their lack of confidence in their ability often results in them not pursuing opportunities. In other words, because they don’t believe in themselves, they’re less likely to try.
SheEO coaches help women entrepreneurs find the confidence they need to push past that hurdle.
“Being seen by a mentor who “gets me”…. I have changed from being the ‘weirdo inventor who thinks too big and is all over the place’, to a social leader who invented this vehicle for social change and is changing the world for many people and ultimately shift the whole paradigm of sickcare to healthcare. I am a leader of what is growing into a movement.”
– Barb, inventor of The Alinker
Coaching Supports Scaling
Starting a business is one thing, scaling up operations is another and, whether due to lack of financing, networks, confidence, or other factors in general, women-led businesses do not scale at the same rate as men. For a business, inability to scale can spell it’s death knell, leading to reduced profits and a drying up of the investment capital well.
The entire SheEO model is built to support scaling. SheEO coaches play a role by working with Ventures to build a roadmap that will get their business to the next level.
“[SheEO Development Guide] Loren reminds me to keep playing bigger.”
– Patrice Mousseau, Founder and Owner of Satya Organics Inc
SheEO Coaching Helps Women Integrate All Aspects of Their Lives
Experts at helping women figure out ways to integrate their various worlds, SheEO coaches don’t just “get” that things like childcare, eldercare, or self-confidence issues might get in the way, they’d be surprised if they didn’t.
“[SheEO Development Guide] Judith is amazing. She has talked through more personal issues that were affecting my ability as an entrepreneur. By having a trusted coach that I can talk about these things, I am able to overcome any personal obstacle that has come my way, and a lot has come my way in the past month, as a pregnant entrepreneur with a toddler, while in the past, I always kept business and personal separate.”
– Devon Fiddler, Founder of SheNative
Coaching Overcomes Lack of Focus
Whether it’s due to chasing too many opportunities or not being adept at managing all the demands that come with running a business, founders who lack focus are setting themselves up for failure and their businesses for joining the ranks of the roughly 50% of ventures that fail within the first five years of operation.
Ventures overwhelmingly attribute coaching that helps them identify priorities, set goals and identify and discard distractions with the potential to sidetrack with business growth.
Coaching was essential to clarify my view and bring me back to the company’s goals. It is too easy to get lost in everyday activities (accounting, production, clients), but remembering the company’s goals everyday is even more important to keep the team on track, motivation on the rise, and bring clients towards us.
“Now we can move forward with a laser sharp focus on innovation and R&D.”
– Chelsea Briganti, Founder of Loliware
Coaching Develops Business Skills, Processes and Profitability
All entrepreneurs start their business because they have an idea for a product or service but that in and of itself does not make a successful business. Founders also need to be able to pitch their ideas, put the right team in place, think strategically, and a myriad other things if they have any hope of succeeding.
SheEO coaches teach Ventures how to play to their strengths, identify holes and put in place the underlying processes necessary to support their businesses. Ventures report that the business coaching they’ve received has had a positive impact on their bottom line.
MJ helped me with the hiring process, and I’ve found some AMAZING support. She guided me through the process (having never really interviewed a new hire before) with questions to ask, personality traits to look out for, and what I needed in order to be able to delegate and grow. She’s also given me insight into different personalities, and how to balance them within a small team. We are like a well-oiled machine, thanks to MJ. – Hayley Mullins & Ashley Wade, Founders of SleepBelt