Coaching is an excellent resource for individuals and businesses looking to break the glass ceiling that stunts career potential and the achievement of career goals for non-white people.
The glass ceiling is a metaphorical barrier that prevents career growth and advancement for some people. It’s a subtle but destructive form of discrimination. It may be unintentional sometimes, often the result of unconscious bias, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a problem that needs to be corrected.
Although great efforts have been made to encourage diversity and equality in workplaces, many people still struggle to advance their careers despite having the relevant qualifications and experience. With 7 in 10 executives falling into the “white male” category, it’s clear that there’s a serious imbalance in high-level opportunities available for people of any other gender, race, age, or religion.
How Do We Break The Glass Ceiling?
To break a glass ceiling, we must first acknowledge it and it’s damaging effects. Racism and sexism are still extremely common in the workplace, whether or not leaders are conscious of it. It’s a systemic problem that managers and executives deny, either because they haven’t experienced it themselves, or they fear that acknowledging it would threaten their positions. They don’t see a point in fixing what they don’t think is broken.
The glass ceiling isn’t reflective of someone’s value as a person or as an employee. The very nature of glass ceilings means that even if someone meets every demand of a role with flying colors, they’ll still be denied bigger opportunities.
Executive coaches are a wonderful antidote to unconscious bias and the glass ceiling because they can prepare employees for growth and expansion in their careers and help businesses prepare for and accommodate employee growth and diversity.
When it comes to helping your clients break the glass ceiling, keep these four key things in mind:
Show Your Clients They’re Not Alone.
Discrimination feels isolating but glass ceilings are very real barriers that many people have been discouraged by. Let them know they’re not alone. This problem, unfortunately, isn’t uncommon, but they don’t have to fight the battle on their own. As a coach, it’s your job to create a safe space for your clients by being supportive and non-judgmental of them, their lifestyle, and their aspirations at all times. This will help them build the confidence to reach and explore other supportive professional networks. Being part of an empowering community, that advocates for change, will crush the glass ceiling and end discrimination. In addition, you’re setting your clients up to have a strong support system to lean on after the coaching relationship has ended.
Help Your Clients Carve Their Own Path.
You can encourage your clients to explore different pathways to success. Help them see that there’s not a “one size fits all” approach to climbing the ladder. With your guidance, they may find a new, nonlinear way to grow in their career that they never considered before. Whether they want to stay with the organization they’re at, or take their skills somewhere else, gaining clarity on their goals will renew their motivation to think big and persevere.
Teach Them To Talk The Talk.
Impeccable interpersonal and speaking skills are necessary to connect with superiors appropriately. No matter how qualified a person might be on paper, they won’t be considered for a leadership position if they can’t communicate professionally and on the same level as their superiors. Prepare your clients for their next role by discussing expectations and requirements, and help them present themselves in a way that says, “executive.” They must know how to approach the subject of promotion or advancement professionally, at the right time, and with confidence.
Encourage A Commitment To Personal Growth.
For people who have been constantly overlooked in the past, because of their skin color or gender, the old habits of making themselves smaller or feeling they need to apologize for taking up space will probably die hard. Reprogramming their mindsets to feel confident and worthy will take time and constant repetition. Share inspiring examples of others like them who have successfully climbed to the top, who have overcome prejudice, and who have never given up. Give them resources and tools that they can continually refer to keep growing and improving for the rest of their careers. Prove to them that great changes can be made, and that they may play a vital role in paving the path for others.
People can overcome workplace obstacles and shatter glass ceilings with persistence and the right support. A great business coach can help individuals and organizations tackle specific industry challenges and encourage open communication between leaders and staff to end discrimination and unconscious bias in the workplace. With the right preparation, great employees can become even better in leading job roles, inspiring others in the workplace and in their communities.
CoachDiversity Institute believes in the power of coaching in the workplace. Our Certified Diversity Coaches can help your leaders meet personal and professional goals with one-on-one coaching support. Contact us today to learn more.