GET UP (STAY DOWN)
Learn more about why I coach who I coach
When you’re starting a coaching business— or any business, for that matter— you’re encouraged to “niche-down”. Who are your clients? Where do you find them? How will they know you’re of their tribe? And then you’re encouraged to niche down further, to dig deeper and focus on your target Person.
As I was launching this business, my internal soundtrack swung between “I can coach anyone who is ready to be coached” and “why should anyone listen to me?” [Here’s the thing: I’m going to blatantly ignore that second question for this blog post, but we’ll come back to it in the future, ok? Cool.] When I really gave myself a moment to check my ego, I understood that the first statement was untrue. Am I capable of coaching anyone? Sure, but what about people whose values are in conflict with mine? What about folks whose core beliefs are of oppression, racism, misogyny…? Those are not my people. It’s likely they wouldn’t want what I bring to the table, anyway. My niche-down journey was an exploration of who I wanted to elevate, to support through transformation and to signal boost.
By now I hoped you’ve spent some time exploring this website (www.uproarcoaching.com). You see that my clients are female-identifying or femme entrepreneurs. They’re brash and bold. They want to dominate their lives, professionally and personally. They’re disrupters while being disarming (which is a phrase that my friend Anthony coined). They’re badass.
But why this particular group of women? I’m so glad you asked. Women need to raise up other women. One of the phrases that’s been on-repeat in my life is that we need to take care of each other. We need to promote one another. Healthy competition is always welcomed, except when it’s more appropriate to step to the side and shine your light on someone else. I cannot tell you how many times my professional development has been stifled by other women pulling me down while the men above me push me back. It’s exhausting.
But Kari, hasn’t the workplace become more welcoming of women’s voices? LOL sure. Salary disparity is narrowing, advancement opportunities are expanding, and the workplace is slowly evolving into a more welcoming place for (almost) everyone).
Female empowerment is the fastest growing business trend in 2019 according to Forbes. Female and femme business owners and thought leaders are a fast-growing economic segment whose businesses are less likely to succeed long-term despite start-up success. According to the Harvard Business Review, this is due in large part to a gender gap in entrepreneurship; there is a lack of resources and opportunities for inclusion and networking for female entrepreneurs. Instead of industry making room for them, females are expected to adapt to the old ways of doing things while fighting for a new seat at the table.
Because of this need to adapt, female entrepreneurs face unique challenges in the business world. Through blatant direction or micro-aggressions, they are made to feel like they should:
Take up less space- Be small, fit in and don’t make a mess.
Speak quietly- Conduct polite conversation in agreeable tones and cede knowledge to those who have legacy places at the table.
Act more like a man- This one boils my blood in some peculiar ways. To me, this often reads, be a lady but be less ladylike to fit in with the boys, which is absolute bullshit.
Downplay their authentic selves- Don’t be who you are. Be who we want you to be.
None of this allows female entrepreneurs to achieve the success they deserve, either at a personal or professional level (and with entrepreneurs, that personal/professional line is often blurred). And so my clients feel unfulfilled. They often seek permission to be who they are. Together through coaching, we identify their goal and leap toward it together so that in the end they can:
Spread out– Take the space and the room that they need in order to be seen
Get loud- Own their voice, command the room and make themselves and our business heard
Act more like a man- Why not; if that’s what business wants them to do, then maybe this is the gift that female entrepreneurs can give. If they’re reimagining what it means to be a female in the workspace, then let’s help the old boys reimagine gender in industry while they’re at it.
Don’t get me wrong: It’s not about being rude or disrespectful. It’s about establishing a cornerstone in the marketplace and helping to shape the future of Business one boss bitch at a time. She’s in there and she’s ready to dominate. How about we give her a boost?