At a meeting earlier this week, somebody asked me what my coaching specialism was and it got me thinking about clients I have had over the past two years. I realised that if I had a specialism, I had not looked for it, I had been lucky enough that it had found me. My specialism was coaching women.
The majority of my clients have been women and as a result, I have worked most effectively with women. I got back to the woman who had initially asked me the question later that day and said ‘My coaching specialism is coaching women to be what they want to be.’
After an initially perplexed expression, her next question was perhaps inevitably ‘How can you do that as a man? How can you see things from a woman’s perspective?’ And the thing is, I don’t see things from a woman’s perspective, but from a coach’s perspective. I also believe that the gender boundaries are more blurred than we think.
In the same way that I would not advise a professional accountant on his finances, I do not advise my clients as women. I do not have the experience of an accountant and neither, perhaps more obviously, do I have that of a woman. I believe it is not necessary for me as a coach to have had similar life experiences to my clients. In fact, it can sometimes be beneficial as it can increase objectivity so sessions are not unduly influenced by these shared experiences.
Moreover, as a non-directive coach, I do not give advice. Some coaches do. I don’t. What I do is provide the environment for my clients to find their own answers and ways forward. I listen to what the client is saying and offer an objective, supportive and open environment to empower them to achieve what they want and be what they want to be.
So there you go, I’m a coach. I’m a man. And I coach women.