Tuesday, March 26, 2024

Money Talks ~Money’s power and sensitivity in coaching ambitious women

We are pleased to share an article entitled Money Talks ~Money’s power and sensitivity in coaching ambitious womenwritten by Julie Vander Meulen.

The hush that falls in a room when certain topics are broached is familiar to us all. These are the unspeakables, the topics that sit heavily in our hearts but rarely find a voice. In the intricate dance of coaching, where vulnerability meets transformation, one topic often stands out as particularly unspeakable: money.

As a woman coaching other ambitious women, I’ve felt the weight of this silence. Money isn’t just a transaction between us; it’s a mirror reflecting our most profound vulnerabilities, fears, hopes and values.

The very nature of our relationship, wherein my client compensates me for guidance, creates a unique and sometimes awkward tension. Here we are, two women striving to break barriers in every other realm, yet hesitating at the doorstep of a topic that’s so deeply personal and societal. 

Yet, this silence speaks volumes. For isn’t it true that the topics we avoid often hold the most power over us? As ambitious women, we’ve learned to conquer, to shine, to lead. But when it comes to owning our worth, literally and figuratively, many of us falter. It’s a hesitation born not from a lack of capability, but from a complex tapestry of societal conditioning, personal beliefs, and the fear of being perceived as “too much.”

I’ve been there, too – Feeling the twinge of discomfort when setting my fees, wondering if I’m valuing my services too high or too low, battling the inner critic that asks, “Who are you to charge this much?” And I’ve seen that same struggle mirrored in the eyes of countless women I’ve coached.

It’s a shared journey – one that requires courage, vulnerability, and yes, a willingness to embrace the awkwardness.  

THE UNIQUE TABOO OF MONEY FOR WOMEN

Every society has its taboos. And while these vary, there’s a striking universality when it comes to women and money. Historically, women have been marginalized from financial realms, often seen as caregivers rather than earners, nurturers rather than negotiators. But as the world evolves and women shatter one ceiling after another, there remains an unspoken discomfort around money.

  1. AMBITION & ITS PRICE – For modern women, ambition is a double-edged sword. We’re encouraged to dream big, to strive, to conquer. Yet, when it comes to asserting our financial worth, we’re often met with resistance, both from external voices and internal doubts. This dissonance creates a unique challenge: How does one confidently stake a claim in her financial worth without the fear of backlash or self-judgment?
  2. SOCIETAL SHADOWS – The societal lens often views successful, money-assertive women through a distorted prism. Labels like “greedy,” “bossy” or “materialistic” are quickly attached. But what’s often overlooked is the profound courage it takes for a woman to defy these stereotypes, to stand firmly in her worth, and to navigate a terrain laden with biases.
  3. INNER BATTLES – Perhaps the most profound struggles are the ones that rage within. Many women grapple with internalized beliefs about money. Beliefs that say, “You’re not worth this much,” or “Who do you think you are demanding such a price?” These internal battles, often shaped by years of societal conditioning and personal experiences, can be the most challenging to overcome. As a coach, understanding these layers is crucial. It’s not just about discussing money; it’s about navigating the intricate web of emotions, beliefs, and societal pressures that come with it.

THE POWER OF MONEY

Money is not just a medium of exchange, but a profound narrative of our self-worth, capabilities and perceived value in society. For ambitious women – who are often in a constant duel with societal expectations and self-perception – the narrative becomes even more intricate. Every financial decision a woman makes is like a mirror reflecting her personal journey.

It speaks of victories, silent battles, and the equilibrium between strength and vulnerability. But sometimes, hidden in these reflections are the lingering societal biases and self-imposed boundaries. It’s essential to discern and decode these to truly understand the stories they tell.

Take Sophia as an example. On the surface, her entrepreneurial journey is one of audacity and groundbreaking ideas. But a deeper exploration into her financial decisions reveals an interplay of self-judgment and societal expectations. It’s not just about the tangible value she places on her products, but an intricate dance of external critiques and internal dialogues that influence her choices.

Money conversations can be transformative portals. They aren’t just numeric exchanges, but powerful alchemical processes. In this space, fears transmute into empowerment, and vulnerabilities, once exposed and addressed, can become a woman’s greatest strength.

As a coach of ambitious women, steering through this nuanced territory requires not just skill but profound empathy. It’s about holding space for the unsaid, the uncomfortable, and at times, the unvoiced vulnerabilities that even the most powerful women harbor.

TALKING MONEY THROUGH THE LENS OF GENEROSITY

When it comes to coaching ambitious women, my approach to the delicate topic of money is framed through the principle of generosity. Often, women shine in their capacity to give – in their roles, their relationships, and their professional ventures.

But the balance tilts when it’s about receiving or acknowledging their worth.

  1. THE VULNERABLE EXCHANGE – Every coaching session is a two-way street of vulnerability. By discussing the financial investment they make for my services, I place my worth on the line. It serves as a mirror, urging them to ponder whether they see value in my services and equate it with fair compensation. Otherwise, they might ask themselves why I hesitate to set a rightful price for my own exceptional offerings.
  2. REFRAMING GENEROSITY – Women’s innate spirit of giving often surpasses their comfort in receiving. Recognizing this imbalance, our conversations delve into reframing generosity. It’s not just about giving to others, but also about being generous to oneself. And what could be more generous than acknowledging one’s worth?
  3. ASSERTING VALUE AS SELF-CARE – Generosity can be seen as a powerful form of self-care. By recognizing and asserting their worth, whether it’s in setting fair prices or standing firm on their professional value, women engage in the ultimate act of self-generosity. It’s a journey from understanding one’s value to unabashedly owning it.

The essence of our money conversations isn’t about numbers, it’s about self-worth. It’s about the intricate dance between giving and receiving, between external valuations and internal affirmations. Through the lens of generosity, I aim to guide my clients towards a profound revelation: that they already know how to be generous and giving; all they need to do is learn to direct those nurturing qualities towards themselves as well.

THE ROLE OF VULNERABILITY IN COACHING ON UNSPEAKABLES

The journey of coaching, especially on subjects as charged as money, is a tapestry woven with threads of courage, insight, and vulnerability. When we dive into these “unspeakables,” we aren’t merely addressing topics; we’re venturing into deeply entrenched beliefs, emotions, and experiences.

My sessions with ambitious women have reinforced a profound realization: vulnerability isn’t just a tool; it’s the bridge that connects understanding and transformation. By openly discussing the often-unspoken dynamics of our financial exchange, I deliberately step into a realm of vulnerability, laying my worth bare.

This act, while challenging, serves as a mirror, prompting my clients to reflect upon their own perceptions of value and worth. However, the power of vulnerability doesn’t rest in the act itself, but in the ripple effects it initiates. When a coach willingly reveals their vulnerabilities, it fosters a safe environment where clients feel encouraged to unveil their own insecurities, fears and aspirations. This mutual dance of vulnerability deepens trust, paving the way for profound breakthroughs.

Discussing money, especially through the lens of generosity, often unravels layers of societal conditioning, self-worth and self-judgment. Yet it’s in the heart of this vulnerability that we find empowerment. When ambitious women confront and embrace these vulnerabilities, they’re not just recalibrating their relationship with money; they’re reclaiming their narrative, reshaping their self-perception, and, most importantly, redefining their worth.

In essence, confronting the unspeakables in coaching isn’t just about broaching taboo topics; it’s an invitation. An invitation for both the coach and the client to step into the arena of vulnerability, to explore uncharted territories of the soul, and to emerge, not unscathed, but transformed.

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