Empowering Women: The Transformative Impact of Leadership Coaching on Confidence and Career Advancement

Feb 21, 2024

As a woman, have you ever held yourself back from applying for a job you weren’t completely qualified for?

Have you ever watched a male counterpart get a role he that wasn’t 100% qualified for?

I have.

According to a variety of surveys and specifically one published by LinkedIn, both genders browse jobs similarly, but women often feel they must meet 100% of the criteria before applying, while men typically apply after meeting around 60% of the requirements.

The intention of this post is to explore the gender differences in applying for jobs and my deep curiosity about WHY women don’t apply for jobs unless they are 100% qualified. My intention in this post is to encourage women to grow their confidence as it is tied to career advancement. To provide some background, I have predominantly worked in high-tech marketing roles, often being the only woman in meetings with eleven male colleagues. I also want to interject that as leaders most of us are putting together job descriptions with the “ideal” candidate in mind and we do not expect most applicants to meet every single criterion listed. So, my encouragement is, just try and apply!

Recently, during a lengthy conversation with my male mentor, we debated the origins of the gender differences in regard to this trend, tracing it back to our childhood experiences. For instance, he suggested that societal norms ingrained in early childhood play, such as boys feeling comfortable breaking rules, contribute to this phenomenon. Moreover, he stated the reluctance to apply may stem from girls not learning the norm of "asking for forgiveness later" instead of seeking permission in advance. We also debated considerations related to life stages and being overwhelmed with other responsibilities could influence women.

As we are all aware, in today's rapidly evolving professional landscape, the call for gender equality is louder than ever. My hope in evolving societal norms will encourage younger generations not to be bound by these established patterns. While significant strides have been made in the professional world, women are still facing challenges in breaking through the glass ceiling, particularly when it comes to applying for leadership positions. This is where leadership coaching plays a crucial role, empowering women to overcome self-doubt, learn key leadership skills and pursuing opportunities with confidence.

The Confidence Gap:

Research consistently highlights a disparity in self-assessment between women and their male counterparts, with women often underestimating their abilities. This discrepancy in confidence becomes a notable barrier, particularly when it comes to applying for roles where they don't meet every specified requirement. To reiterate, while men are comfortable applying for jobs with only 60% of the qualifications, women tend to hold back unless they feel they meet the full 100% of the criteria. This hesitancy not only hampers individual career growth but also plays a role in perpetuating gender disparities in leadership roles.

Understanding the intricacies behind women's hesitancy is as intricate as navigating the stages of life. Nevertheless, a pivotal step in breaking free from this pattern involves a comprehensive self-evaluation, considering current skills, identifying blind spots, and making an investment in personal development. This process serves as a significant catalyst for enhancing confidence and fostering the courage to apply for leadership roles.

Despite the invaluable support I've received from my male colleagues over the years, I confess to moments of hesitation and a loss of confidence when faced with challenges in meetings. Conversations with fellow women professionals echo similar struggles, creating a shared experience that, unfortunately, reinforces our collective reluctance to aspire to leadership positions with expanded responsibilities. It is essential for women to recognize that their unique perspectives should be embraced by businesses, urging them to apply for roles that push their boundaries.

While acknowledging the supportive role of male colleagues, I am also aware that women bear the responsibility of nurturing their own self-confidence to be perceived as valuable contributors. This entails pushing ourselves to speak up, even when uncertain, and daring to apply for roles that may initially seem like a considerable stretch beyond our current skill set. My passion lies in assisting women in uncovering and embracing their distinctive talents and contributions within their organizations. While building confidence is a critical aspect of this process, initiating change can begin with taking a series of small yet impactful steps.

The Role of Leadership Coaching:

Leadership coaching is a transformative tool that can help women bridge the confidence gap and equip them with the skills and mindset needed to pursue leadership positions. Coaches work with individuals to identify their strengths, build self-awareness, and develop strategies to overcome self-limiting beliefs. However, in my experience only one of the company’s I worked at invested in internal employee leadership training. I have talked to many women who have begged their managers to send them to training or workshops only to be turned away with a variety of excuses. One of my contacts works at a very large airline and asked to be part of the exclusive internal leadership training course for five years. Out of her frustration, which she turned into motivation, she invested in outside leadership training and paid for it herself! If you can relate to this frustration in desiring to be a leader but never given the chance, you can do something about it yourself.

Here's how leadership coaching can specifically address the challenges women face in applying for positions where they may not meet every qualification:

  1. Building Confidence: Leadership coaches work to boost confidence by focusing on accomplishments and strengths rather than dwelling on perceived shortcomings. Through targeted coaching sessions, women can gain a clearer understanding of their capabilities and learn how to communicate their value effectively.
  2. Navigating Imposter Syndrome: Many women grapple with imposter syndrome, doubting their accomplishments and feeling like frauds despite evidence of success. Leadership coaching helps individuals recognize and combat imposter syndrome, fostering a more positive self-perception.
  3. Developing a Growth Mindset: Leadership coaches encourage a growth mindset, emphasizing that abilities and skills can be developed over time. Many times, skills that need to be developed are effective communication, providing immediate feedback, delegation, and influence. This mindset shift helps women view challenges as opportunities for learning and growth, empowering them to tackle new roles with enthusiasm.
  4. Strategic Goal Setting: Coaches assist in setting realistic yet challenging career goals. By breaking down larger aspirations into manageable steps, women can focus on continuous improvement and progress, building confidence along the way. Through a career vision plan, women can see the blueprint they need to achieve their highest aspirations.
  5. Effective Communication Skills: Leadership coaching includes honing communication skills, enabling women to articulate their achievements, aspirations, and value proposition more persuasively. This involves not only conveying information effectively but also mastering the art of delivering messages with clarity, confidence, and impact. By enhancing communication, women can showcase their accomplishments, express career aspirations, and present a compelling value proposition, crucial elements for positioning themselves for leadership roles. This skill set ensures that women's voices are heard and valued in the professional sphere, contributing to their success and advancement in their careers.


Leadership coaching offers a tailored approach to address the unique challenges women face in the professional realm. By boosting confidence, overcoming self-limiting beliefs, and developing strategic skills, women can position themselves as formidable contenders for leadership positions, even when they don't meet every listed qualification. As organizations strive for diversity and inclusivity, investing in leadership coaching for women not only benefits individuals but also contributes to a more equitable and thriving workforce.

Imagine a future where your leadership is undeniable, where your strategic thinking becomes your trademark. Imagine shaping the vision of your team, of your company. It's possible, and it starts with you. You've got this. Have you ever considered taking your career to the next level but need a little support?  Contact me [email protected] and we can explore how I can help in your transformative journey.

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