An introduction to coaching for women

Women to Work coachingMany of our clients have never experienced coaching before – so we thought it would be useful to share a bit about what it is, what it’s for and how we do it.

What is it?

Do a search on google or read some of the many coaching books available on Amazon today and you’ll find a whole range of definitions. Some of our favourites include:

“The art of facilitating the performance, learning and development of another.” Downey, 2003

“A collaborative, solution focused, result-orientated and systematic process in which the coach facilitates the enhancement of work performance, life experience, self-directed learning and person growth of the coachee.” Grant, 1999

“Unlocking a person’s potential to maximize their own performance. It is helping them to learn rather than teaching them.” Whitmore, 2003

“Positive Psychology Coaching (PPC) is a scientifically-rooted approach to helping clients increase well-being, enhance and apply strengths, improve performance, and achieve valued goals.” Cox, E., Bachkirova, T. & Clutterbuck, D., 2009,

We believe coaching is all about enabling you to be the best you can be, to achieve your potential and to become the ‘you’, you want to be, through supporting you to define and action the goals you want to achieve.

We provide our clients with a reflective and confidential space to work out what they want to achieve and how to reach their outcomes. We give support, encouragement and, if helpful, challenge and feedback to support our clients to fulfil their aspirations. We share knowledge, skills, tools and experience as appropriate and design our sessions based on the individual client we are working with at the time. It’s all about supporting you to make your aspirations reality.

What is it for?

Coaching can be helpful in a range of situations; to support business start-ups, to help improve performance at work, to support work life balance, to help someone with their career. It can be used in family situations, with teenagers, with individuals experiencing difficulties in life and in specific areas such as teaching or sales.

Our specific area of interest and expertise is working with women who are going through change. This could be change related to work, home, career or family. Women who want to make a positive change to their work life, whether currently looking to return to work, wanting to change their current working situation or are setting up or already running their own business. We support women to make change happen! We work with women to consider their work life balance, help them to plan how to balance the demands of work and a family, and support them to find a work life balance that allows them to be not only be great mums but also to be fulfilled happy women who are achieving their potential and feel empowered, positive and happy with their lives.

How do we do it?

At Women to Work we draw on a range of coaching models, tools and techniques when working with our clients – we do not have a prescriptive or formulaic approach, but use our experience and learning to use elements from many different approaches to give our clients the best coaching experience for them.

There are numerous coaching models available; GROW, OSCAR, 3D to name just three, and good coaches will often use more than one depending on the needs of the client. Coaching can also use various tools and exercises to help a client look at their situation, vision, options and actions from a different perspective.

With a range of approaches to coaching, for example; Gestalt, Person-Centred, Solution Focus, Cognitive Behavioural and many more, coaches will often draw on more than one approach through your coaching sessions giving each coach a unique style or ‘signature’.

We favour Solution Focused and Positive Psychology approaches but we will utilise tools, questions, and models from a range of approaches to suit our individual client. For example if a client is dealing with a lack of confidence and has a strong negative ‘inner voice’ or beliefs holding her back we may choose some tools from Cognitive Behavioural Coaching.

“a solutions focused approach to coaching places primary emphasis on assisting the client to define a desired future state and construct a pathway in both thinking and action that assists the client in achieving that state.” Cox, E., Bachkirova, T. & Clutterbuck, D., 2009

For a straightforward action based session, the GROW model offers a helpful template, whilst our work around identifying strengths sits firmly in a positive psychology genre.

We might bring in our own knowledge and experience to share with a client if appropriate, for example our experience of running our own business or our experience of working at senior levels in the corporate commercial sector. And we both, of course, understand the demands of being working mothers.

The most important thing to us is to keep our client at the centre of what we do, to adapt our own approaches, draw on our knowledge and skills as coaches to provide the best experience for our clients, this goes for individuals as well as for our work with organisations.

We’re all about positive solutions, working in collaboration with our clients to achieve outcomes that are better for all.

Our coaching is all about helping our clients to succeed and achieve in all they set out to do. We want our clients to be at their best and feel at their best. We help our clients to clarify their vision, decide what success looks like and work out a plan to get there. We help you to figure out the resources you have within you to create the work life you want – often you have more and are more than you think! We’ll help you deal with the barriers that might be holding you back and identify a range of options to get where you want, all the while supporting you, believing in you and being there for you, every step of the way.

So there you have it, a quick intro to coaching, what it means to us at Women to Work and how we do it.

If you’d like to know more, get in touch for a free 30 minute telephone call with Jenny or Emma to find out how coaching can work for you.

Emma Shute & Jenny Pollock are the Founders, Directors and Coaches at Women to Work.

Women to Work focuses on women’s development, both ‘into’ the workplace and ‘within’ the workplace. As well as one to one sessions and group coaching workshops for individual women, Women to Work offers women’s development programmes and coaching and mentoring programmes for organisations and ILM (Institute of Leadership and Management) Level 3 & 5 Coaching & Mentoring training for individuals wanting a qualification in coaching.