I specialise in coaching for women. This is firstly because I believe better gender balance makes for better business so want to see more women in senior roles, and secondly because, having been a lone female voice in the boardroom myself, I know how challenging it can be for women to speak up and be heard.
As well as offering 121 executive coaching for women and 121 voice coaching for women, I run Make Your Mark with Susan Room® events for women-only groups. There was no such thing when I was in corporate life. I wish there had been as there were times when I would surely have benefited from working with a top female business coach.
Coaching for women
As well as coaching women's hearts and minds, I help them find and use their voice. This means teaching them what their voice is capable of and how they can use it to positively impact themselves and others. It is vital work for achieving better gender balance because research shows, for example, that:
the sound of a woman's voice may hinder her professional advancement
lower-pitched (male) voices tend to command more respect than higher-pitched (female) voices
there is a long, sexist history of men telling women to 'hold their tongue'
if they are told they are bossy, women may opt to say less and 'go along to get along'
men prefer women with higher-pitched voices - only not in the workplace.
Coaching aspiring and established female leaders
I'm on a mission to teach aspiring and established female leaders how to use their voice to make their mark on the world. That's because I firmly believe that gender equality is a basic human right and that better balance makes for better business. Yet the sad reality is that, even before Covid-19, we were some 170 years away from achieving boardroom balance.
One way of closing the gap is to coach girls and young women to use their voice and non-verbal communication skills more confidently and effectively. The sooner this starts the better as blockers kick in at an early age. Research shows that girls verbally participate less than boys in the classroom. Perhaps this is one of the reasons for what a McKinsey/Lean In report calls the 'broken rung' on the corporate ladder: for every 100 men hired and promoted to manager only 72 women are hired and promoted.
This inequality explains why I gift time to organisations like the 30% Club and Future Asset - a campaign dedicated to encouraging young Scottish women into the investment management industry. To learn more, read my blog post 'Investing in the future of investment.'