Women on Programme – Coaching Special

Posted by The Icehouse on 24/10/2023 12:00:00 AM

A primary driver at The Icehouse is an unceasing desire to widen access of opportunity to all owners, leaders and their teams.

We’ve discussed before the challenges faced in how to target our services in the right areas and to the right people, and striving to find business solutions to all demographics – none more so than assisting the women owners and leaders who utilise The Icehouse’s coaching and advisory services. 

Women on Programme – Coaching Special

From the feedback we receive from our coaching alumni, women business owners engage business coaches to identify and overcome obstacles, fine-tune and develop growth strategies and to keep them accountable to reach goals. 

Deploying a coach can be a daunting dive into the unknown so, to find the right connection, each owner is matched to a coach in terms of experience, sector expertise and personality (plus any other specific requests from the client). A ‘getting to know you’ introductory session is arranged before sessions are set.

While it would be dangerous and neglectful to provide any generalisations, our female alumni tell us there are some fundamental truths behind the need for coaching.

They seek clarity in defining what they want from being in business  – for themselves and the business. Often a coach’s first questions will be, ‘Where do you want to be?’, ‘Why are you in this business?’ and ‘Where do you want the business to be?’

They want someone to share ideas with, someone who will challenge them and open up exploration into new ideas and directions, and offer guidance on how to deal with change and uncertainty.  

“When I talk with women business owners and listen to their stories, these are consistent themes,” says Darilyn Kane, Coaching and Advisory Lead at The Icehouse. 

“They are also focused on making sure everyone else is supported first – from employees to family. There is a long list of other things that need to be attended to in the business before they think about what might be helpful for them. 

Again, in our experience, women business owners are often juggling numerous things at once and may not believe they have the capacity to leverage even more in the business in what is already an incredibly busy life. One of the appeals of coaching is that sessions can be flexible, to fit in with the owner’s lifestyle. 

“So, often running a successful business is seen as an extension of that getting things done mentality and business ownership is just another part of their identity,” says Darilyn. 

“This is where coaching can really help women owners, because it narrows down on the important areas that you need to be concentrating on right now with a laser focus,” says Michaela Vodanovich, Business Coach, East Coast Regional Manager at The Icehouse and director and facilitator of the Effective Leadership Programme. 

“One of the things that I do coach a lot around with my women business owners, is feeling guilty for putting the business first, but it's okay for you to want to be successful. There is no shame in this. The reality is that it takes a lot of energy, a lot of focus, and a lot of emotional intelligence to operate as a top-performing owner and leader. So, you've got to really make sure that what energy you do have is being used really effectively.” 

A growing trend at The Icehouse is for our coaching clients to engage the services of different coaches, based on their current need. As Olivia Bollen, Founder of Taken Care Of, explains. “I don’t always do everything that everyone tells me to do… you want people to tell you, ‘No, that’s stupid, why are you doing it like that?’ 

“It was Covid when first I got Carollyn [Chaplin, Icehouse Coach] and then started asking other people I knew personally or through business whether they’d mentor me. Now I have a lot of people that I turn to for different types of advice. I think having people who have experience, they want to help you because they have already made the mistakes.” 

Like Olivia, Sarah McGuinness, Founder and CEO of Revolutionaries of Wellbeing, chose two coaches to advise her through different areas of the business. 

Kevin D’Ambros-Smith was the first coach that helped us and he was so great. He understood the business straightaway, was able to identify some of the areas where we could grow it, and some of the things to park.” 

“[Then] Richard Poole was brilliant. He was so patient, so helpful and so kind. This is the brilliance of The Icehouse – all the things that Kevin had put in place, Richard built off, so that it was just a really natural journey. It felt like they were all part of an extended team that you could call on.” 

Both Michaela and Darilyn emphasise that once on the coaching journey, women owners and leaders benefit greatly from the experience because there is a willingness to engage, question, and freely explore different ideas. Anecdotal evidence suggests women owners also follow through, take action, execute, and stay on task around what they say they are going to do, making the most of the coaching investment of their time and money. 

“Having the ability to have a solid sounding board, so that you can actually compartmentalise what you need to be focusing on for your business is invaluable, so that when you're in your private life, you can leave that behind, and have space to focus on the people that you love and care for,” says Michaela.

Every industry, every sector, every stage in the business growth cycle, The Icehouse’s business coaching and advisory service is there to assist all Kiwi business owners to get their business to where they want it to be.

For information on programmes, workshops and business coaching services from The Icehouse, click here.

For more business ownership and leadership advice, check out more of our resources.

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