March 08, 2023 by Steve Baker
Explore more on this topic at Raj Anderson's blog "Rising Women: The Importance of Purposeful Coaching for Women"
In an incredibly inspiring and uplifting tribute to women everywhere, Raj and Ashley explore purposeful coaching for women and their own personal journey’s to fully living, loving, and celebrating the miracle of walking through life as empowered and valued women who know and celebrate their worth.
[Raj Anderson] Welcome to Coaching to Flourish the podcast. I am your host, Raj Anderson, Executive Life Coach and Coach Assessor, and I am here with Ashley Scott, who is our guest speaker today, and really excited. Hi Ashley. Welcome. How are you?
[Ashley Scott] Hey Raj. I'm doing so well. As always, I'm just so excited to be on here with you.
[Raj Anderson] And I think most people know Ashley, but for those of them that don't know you, Ashley, can you just introduce yourself and kind of who you are and what your role is at Coach training EDU.
[Ashley Scott] Yeah, so I'm Ashley Scott. I love to go on walks, read books. I'm the associate provost with Coach Training EDU and I have the incredible privilege and honor to be in that role.
And I've been with the company now for about five, for five years. This last month was five years that I've been with Coach Training EDU, which is amazing and I'm so grateful. So I have an amazing job of community development and get to work in a couple of the different teams and support them. But my passion is really for the people of our community and helping them feel known and seen and cared for.
And that's what I get to do on a daily basis.
[Raj Anderson] Thank you Ashley. And Ashley does a phenomenal job and I actually would never have even joined Coach Training EDU if I hadn't encountered Ashley. You were the first person I spoke to and I will never forget that interaction. So if any of you don't know Ashley, make sure you find a way to connect with her because she's just impacts people's lives all the time. I really appreciate it.
[Ashley Scott] Thanks. Oh, I remember that conversation too.
[Raj Anderson] I know. And I was like, we're gonna do great things together. And here we are doing great things together. The reason we're here together today is because it's International Women's Day tomorrow, on the 8th of March, and the topic is around embracing equity.
So if you haven't had a chance to go and have a look, go and have a look on International Women's Day page. Learn more about the topic. We are looking at embracing equity, valuing diversity, creating inclusion. Um, I'm excited. I'm actually gonna be doing a session tomorrow where we're gonna be focusing on women's allyship, and I'll talk a little bit more about that later.
But I wanted to connect with Ashley and hear from you, Ashley. Today we're gonna be looking at a few different coaching questions around women's coaching.
So I wanted to start with why does purposeful coaching matter for women? And I am gonna hand over to see what Ashley's thoughts are in a moment. Uh, but just to share from my experience, I do a lot, lots of women in leadership coaching and I do one-on-one coaching and group coaching as well.
And I get asked the question, well, how does the women's coaching differ from men's coaching. And then I think for me, some of it is around the fact that we've still got a lot of work to do, haven't we? There is still the inequity that happens. We still don't have enough women in those senior leadership positions.
Um, there are still lots of adversity that women have faced. Um, that shows up for us. We've still got those glass ceilings to break. And I also found that when I'm working with women, of course, they have a unique set of challenges that's specific for them. As women we probably go through lots of different transitions, not that men don't, um, but I have women who, you know, who are, uh, mothers for example, and have had transitions and changes in their career or for cultural reasons, perhaps haven't been able to get as far up the ladder as they have wanted to. Um, and I have, I have seen specific themes and topics come up again and again for women, um, that perhaps don't come up in the same way for men, even though they are similar. What about you, Ashley? What do, why do you think it's important for us to be purposeful in supporting women?
[Ashley Scott] Yeah. I love what you just shared, Raj, and, um, absolutely agree with all of that and just how important that purposeful coaching is with women.
You know, when I, when I look at women and I look at, and I, uh, take into consideration just all of these incredible women that I've known, maybe from afar that I don't know personally to the personal ones, and I'm just inspired by women. They're, we're, we're beautiful and we have so much to offer, um, the world, our communities, our workspaces, our families, and so, you know, purposeful coaching with women is really looking at a woman and what does she have to offer that is going to bring that beauty or creativity or strength or whatever it might be into a situation. And it, and it might look a little bit different for, for a woman. And I think even in leadership, um, being able to address, how have you, how are you designed and who are you to bring this to this leadership position? Um, because there is something special, and powerful about a woman in leadership. And so just, yeah, I think there is purpose in it because we're just butterflies, I'm just thinking of like how we're, just so, you know, women are just really remarkable and magical.
Women really are. So having purpose and coaching specifically for us, I think is important to empower and uplift women and to help them see just how much they do have to offer. Cause I think as women especially, we tend to have a much more, I shouldn't say that. I know men also work through this as well, but a negative self-talk and we can be just so hard on ourselves and, and there was a lot of competition and community of women.
Um, I think growing up for me and being able to see men and we rally each other, you know, there's a quote of like, empowered women, empower women. And so there's something to women being able to recognize our own strengths and the beauty that we hold and then celebrate somebody else's and what we can do together.
And I think women have a remarkable gift of nurturing that and supporting others when they feel that for themselves. So that also feels really important with purposeful coaching with women too.
[Raj Anderson] I think you said something really important there. When we feel it for ourselves, we are able to empower others.
I didn't have great women role models kind of growing up and also in leadership positions. Um, actually, it was men who were great mentors to me or helped me to get to the next level. And unfortunately, some of the women that I was surrounded by or leaders, and maybe they felt that there was not enough space at the table for everyone.
I think learning from that experience, it made it even more important for me to be that conduit. For other women and to do the work on myself, because I think we know that when we ourselves are in pain or we are feeling insecure or we are not fulfilled, it's not so easy to have empathy for others when we don't have it for ourselves.
What do you think about that, Ashley?
[Ashley Scott] Oh yeah, it's a game changer when we start to recognize and know the inner dialogue that is happening within us. And when we start to show ourselves compassion and that empathy, it and grace, it extends out. And I even think about, you know, one of the most powerful things in communities with women is not only showing up in strength and in confidence and in security it, but also in our, um, our areas of growth and our insecurities and, you know, so, but we, until we know who we really are, until we know our value and know that none of those things define that, that we still have so much value in the strengths and in the areas of growth are we able to up meet other women and say, all of you is welcome here as well, so let's like lay this out on the table together. Let's champion each other in all the areas so that we move forward, arms linked in strength to be able to say like, we are worthy and valuable in all of this. Um, but until we know, until we're able to accept that for ourselves, that it can be hard.
I, I know like, If I'm operating out of a place of lack of compassion for myself, trying to think if this is, maybe this was like my 22 year old self. I can remember looking back and walking into a room and feeling insecure and if I'm in that space, I can look at all the women in the room and find all the things that are like, make me feel inferior or that I'm insecure about.
If I'm walking in empowered, I'm looking at all the other women. I'm like, ah, yes, okay. I love her fire. I love how like courageous that woman is over there. I love how funny that woman is, and none of those things take away from anything that I am when I know it fully fore myself. And I think that's such a gift and it's so freeing and it's, um, when, I don't know if you've, well, you're one of those women when you are with a woman who has like this peace, she's a, she's just at peace with herself.
And that doesn't mean she's perfect or has everything together, but there's a peacefulness in her and you're just like, yes. like this woman inspires me. And um, yeah. So I could go on so many tangents with that. That's kind of what it brought up for me. I'm like, yes, I definitely have had to work through that and some days are really easy in that, and then there's other days where I have to really practice and work through the inner dialogue and bring it to truth.
[Raj Anderson] What's the most important work that you've done on yourself that's helped you get there?
[Ashley Scott] I think for me personally, my identity and value is really rooted in my relationship with God. So I think that's been a huge work through for me is understanding my value and a bigger purpose outside of myself. And, being able to look within, to look without, I guess, um, has been really powerful for me. What about for you?
[Raj Anderson] I think it's daily progress on self.
[Ashley Scott] That's good.
[Raj Anderson] And I think coaching was life changing for me. I've shared that with John before discovering coaching. When I discovered my coach and I started to do that work on myself and really hold the mirror up to, um, both the light and the shadow side.
Cuz I think we have both, don't we?
[Ashley Scott] Oh yeah.
[Raj Anderson] Yeah. And I think initially I felt that everything was happening to me and not for me. So I think when I was able to do that work on self, started to see that I had agency. And it sounds so obvious now, but I think I was in a place where I didn't realize that I get to choose, I get to manage and control in a sense of, um, it's my world, right? I have complete autonomy over how I choose to respond to something. Which now makes complete sense to me. Yet, at the time, it all felt that it was out of my control. And that, um, things would happen on a day-to-day basis and how I would choose to respond to them even choosing to find happiness.
Now I know that, but if I think back, and it's so obvious to me, but back then I didn't realize because I wasn't able to give myself permission. Um, and I love what you're sharing about God, and I think for me, having faith and, you know, I was brought up, in seek religion and, and for a while I kind of went away from some aspects of it because the story was painful and because I didn't completely connect with it myself, you know, and, and when I have been able to and make it my own and make my story my own, and give myself permission to choose that's when things started to change. Um, and I think simple steps, like reflecting on things. Asking myself the question, the very simple question every day of what did I learn about myself? Um, becoming an expert in myself. I am my biggest student and my biggest teacher all at the same time.
I think the final thing I would add to that, that was life changing and has been life changing for me, is gratitude.
[Ashley Scott] Yeah. I love that so much. What I am curious about, what question do you ask yourself to be able to give yourself permission? Permission, like in those moments? You're recognizing I need to allow myself permission here. What is the question that you ask yourself?
[Raj Anderson] Well, it's more of an affirmation or reminder. That's a great question. Thanks Ashley. Um, I have an affirmation, a reminder to myself. I deserve to be loved for who I am, not just for what I do. How does that resonate with you, Ashley?
[Ashley Scott] Oh yeah, man, that's a bit of learning for me. That was one of the most, um, I think, valuable lessons I actually learned in the last year. Enduring some really difficult things and, in being in the presence of others, them saying, I want to be here with you, even when you feel like you have nothing to give. And it was just a shock to me. People want to know me fully and love me, and they want to be with me even when I don't have anything to offer.
And, and also encouraged me, that I did have things to offer when I felt like I even didn't, but oh yes. To be known at that level and to be valued for just being is a really remarkable gift. And we're all deserving of that. We all are, are lovable and deserving of, of being loved in that way.
[Raj Anderson] Because so much of our work gets tied up, doesn't it? In the doing. I work with a lot of women who, uh, we are looking at kind of common themes are perfectionists. If we look at the core motivational enneagram, who are, uh, perfectionists, helpers, doers, peacemakers, um, because society has told them that that's what they need to be.
You know? Be a certain way to fit in or be a certain way to attempt to climb that leadership ladder.
[Ashley Scott] Exactly.
[Raj Anderson] What are your thoughts on that?
[Ashley Scott] Yeah, I think that's so good because, you know, when I think about that, there's, it's, that dialogue relates to so many different areas of our life, like you're mentioning.
So, so that could be, not expressing any vulnerability as a leader, because women, we shouldn't do that. And it's like, Ooh, actually, that could be a really powerful thing. Um, and or we need to sacrifice everything that we are, um, you know, as, as a mother and mother, I mean, oh man, I'm not a mom. I, I don't even know what that's like, but I see the women in my life and it's so beautiful and the way that they sacrifice. So it's natural, but this feeling of I have to totally lose myself, um, or not talk, or I should say not talk about the struggles of motherhood. Um, they're, you know, the beauty of it. And also man, sometimes it's just hard. And so I, you know, get to hear my friends who are mothers talk about that and it's just lovely to hear them talk about that and not feel this pressure to have everything all together all the time.
They can be, they can learn and grow on the journey. Um, so I love that because it releases a very unrealistic pressure and expectation on us as women. And we can just be able to show up and say, this is where I am and this is where I want to go, and where I am going. And gives a lot of opportunity to actually, I think, show up in even like more powerful and, um, incredible ways than we thought we could. It removes some limiting beliefs as well. I don't know if that made sense, but I do love what you're saying. What are your thoughts as I shared that kind of brings up for you.
[Raj Anderson] It's just reminding me, you talked about vulnerability and learning from each other and, I think it is really important that we surround ourselves with people with women that we can share these things with. So, um, I run a lot of group coaching programs and, you know, this is a tip that I might give, you know, if you're looking at purposeful coaching for women, and we started to touch on themes. Um, one of the things I like to share with coaches is to think about, don't make assumptions in terms of what you think a woman needs or what her challenges are, and you kind of shared that. So asking the questions because we're all different and we're all unique. Even though we celebrate International Women's Day and, and then what I found has been fantastic in the group coaching that I'm doing, and purposefully we set it up in that way, is for women to have a safe space to be vulnerable.
And to share and learn and grow from each other. And I hear again and again, women sharing feedback of, I didn't realize anybody else felt like an imposter. I didn't realize anybody else had an inner critic, or I certainly didn't think that woman at that level, or how could that woman who looks like she's got it all together, possibly have an inner critic. And it brings, it brings peace. It brings the thought of, oh, you know, maybe I can do it too. You know, or now we are more alike than we are different, and, and that brings about courage and strength.
What would you say are some of the themes that are particular to women when you've coached women?
[Ashley Scott] Yeah. Well, and with what you just said, I love that because it's, it's empowering for both parties. It's empowering for the woman being vulnerable and saying the thing first. Because when we bring things from darkness into light, they lose power. And so if there's been a lie or there's something that is being held within that's not true, we bring truth to the surface, truth will fight to get the attention instead and replace it. And then, and then it also empowers the other individual to, like you're saying, to know, oh I'm not alone. I mean, there's been so many times where I leave with women and we're like, man, we're just so glad we have this conversation.
It feels so free and alive because like, thank you for sharing. Thank you for sharing your strengths. Thank you for sharing your successes and letting me celebrate with you. Thank you for sharing your fears and your insecurities so that I can, one relate and be like, me too. And then also know how to champion you moving forward.
And so yeah, one thing that I continuously experience in coaching sessions with women is, uh, identity and self-worth, and come back to that a lot. Like you mentioned, we face so many different transitions and seasons of life and there's also a lot of times layers to healing and to working through various things.
And so one season we can feel on top of the world in an area and then a transition happens and all of a sudden it shakes our self worth. So where to anchor that self-worth and how to be able to find truth in the moments that feel unstable or feel like our worth is being stripped, cuz it never is.
We're valuable and worthy no matter what. And so how to, to have reassurance in that. And so I find that mostly when I'm coaching women, it comes back a lot to that identity, self-worth, and value piece.
[Raj Anderson] I love that identity, self-worth and value. And then you touched on something else there around, um, kind of transitions.
And often when I'm working with women, and we're looking at work-life balance, and my word of the year this year is enrich. So I was actually reading an article which talked about work life enrichment, and I thought I like that better actually. And I know John talks about work life integration, but I thought, let me think about work life enrichment because I don't know about you and I'm sure other women who are listening, my wheel of life is never balanced. I think that's OK.
But there have been times when I've strived for that or I have coached women, or I know women who's striving to check all the boxes and have all that balance, um, and, and have success at this level and reach it at this point and be here in career and, and be the perfect mom or not, whatever you've chosen. I'm not mom either. You know, whatever's chosen is right for you or, or there is so much pressure on women and then there's comparison to look and be a certain way. Um, so I like to think of it around kind of, work life enrichment and how does it connect to the individual? Because for me, my life's work is around coaching and it is allowed around learning and growth.
And even in my spare time, I'd like to read books around that. Um, but then there are times when I just wanna completely disconnect. So what, what does it mean for you, Ashley? Life, life balance, or what would you call it?
[Ashley Scott] Yeah, I love, um, I love enrichment. I love that word. That's really beautiful. I think I'm, you know, similarly, a lot of what I do for my full-time position spills over into everything else that I do as well, and, you know, coaching is a part of my life and, and multiple parts of my wheel . Which I'm really fortunate for that. I mean, man, five, or when I see the program like eight years ago now, whoa. Uh, I had no idea how it would impact so many pieces of the wheel. I just think we need to just offer ourselves just a little more grace ladies
You know, we're, we're so hard on ourselves and like Raj is saying, there's so much, women are just remarkable in just what we do. Like look at the women closest to in your life. Look at all the things that they're doing. I am blown away by the women in my life. They are astounding. Multiple times I'm like, I don't even know how you do it, but, you know, and it would be okay if they weren't too. They're, again, they would hold that value, but it's just, just women have just this insanely, like there's just something within us, that is really unique and wonderful. And so I would say, you know, we can offer ourselves more grace in that and, you know, um, give, give intentional space for fun and for laughter and for that community to have those vulnerable spaces or for laughter, whatever it might be. Like, give your, give yourself intentional space for some things that are released and joy and it will, I think, impact the enrichment of everything else as well.
We're, we're meant to also play. And I think as women too, like most of the women in my life that I know, even if they're not like outright, like incredibly goofy, like I can be at times. There's a side of all of us women that I've, that I've come in contact with, that we wanna be playful. It's just part of, you know, I'm not trying to speak for every woman, but you know, have laughter in your life and play and, and find women and surround yourself with women that, you wanna be like and that you can be, but you can also be yourself with. And that's been one of the most powerful things I think for me, is intentional community and relational healing with women. And that impacts the wheel. I mentioned that cause I think this, all of that impacts how I show up at work and, you know, um, or whatever it might be.
[Raj Anderson] Thank you so much for that, Ashley. Cuz Ashley reminded me of eight year old me and that was about nine, I think it was going on in the UK to kind of next phase of school. And the teacher signed it for me. She was one of my favorite teachers. You know, I said earlier I didn't have that many role models in leadership, but I did at school.
I had some phenomenal teachers who saw me, um, and I'm still looking for her. I haven't been able to find her. Um, but she wrote a message in it and it said, work hard, yet, play hard too. And that reminded me of that, you know, that message in there. And another teacher who, you know, really saw me and took me under her wing.
And I think those sometimes are the women and the people that we remember in our life. And I loved what you said. You said, you know, surround yourself with women that perhaps you aspire to be like, that it's a safe space for you to be wherever you are at now, as you grow - a judgment free space, isn't it?
And I can't believe how fast this time's gone because we are at time, almost one minute over. But how would you like to close us out, Ashley?
[Ashley Scott] Ooh. Okay. Um, just know, know your beauty and your worth, ladies. Uh, you are remarkable. You are here for a reason and a purpose, and you have so much to offer exactly where you are.
And so we are for you, and we're excited for you to be for yourself too.
How do you wanna close it out Raj?
[Raj Anderson] Well, I’m a huge fan. My role model is Maya Angelou and I posted a quote from her on LinkedIn the other day, and in it's her poem, I Am Phenomenal Woman. And when I read that and the permission that she gives herself in that to be all woman and own it, and the quote talks about, I must have done something wonderful in this life or a past life to have been born a woman. I think we need to focus on the gift that being a woman actually is.
[Ashley Scott] Mm-hmm. . Absolutely. Yeah. I am a phenomenal woman.
[Raj Anderson] Exactly. And I could keep talking to you actually, and I know we gotta close out. But thank you for being an amazing woman. Thank you for being an amazing ally, and I'm so grateful for you.
[Ashley Scott] I'm so grateful for you. Right back at you, all of that. Thank you so much. What a gift you are. So thank you for this time. Yeah, thank you everyone so much.
[Raj Anderson] Thank you for listening. Send us your questions and we look forward to seeing you next week.
[Ashley Scott] [Raj Anderson] Bye
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