Female Executive's Leadership Maze

an article by Barb McEwen
PowerPoint image
by Profound Backgrounds

Many female executives are “getting lost” in the leadership maze.

No matter what you call it, the problem of gender inequality persists, and wishing it wasn’t so doesn’t help.

In my role as an executive coach I’ve seen many highly skilled clients who just need some fine-tuning when it comes to be recognized for their abilities. These are intelligent, hard working and committed women. They’re valued for their technical expertise, their collaboration and their teaching and facilitating skills -- but have the tendency to inadvertently slip up because they don’t understand the invisible rules required for their advancement.

Today, aspiring women are looking for programs to help them navigate their way through this leadership labyrinth.

Coaching and mentoring has been crucial for Jane Williams of IBM’s SWG Worldwide Sales Enablement. She said:

"I’ve been in coaching for almost two years now, and can not emphasize enough how valuable it has been to my career. I work in a difficult, competitive environment that has unique challenges for women in particular. My coaching sessions have helped me to take a step back and gain perspective, while setting aside the emotional issues that tend to derail me. I’ve learned how to identify traps and fallacies in my own thinking, and am beginning to be able to coach my own employees more effectively.

"In my case coaching has not been a short-term fix, but rather a journey that only gets better over time. I look forward to each monthly session, and always seem to have a new set of issues to deal with. Each time I get off the phone, I’m energized and ready to tackle things head on again. Even though my coaching sessions have been “virtual”, and I’ve never actually met my coach, I have gained a great deal from the experience, and plan to continue."

My hope is that the day will soon arrive when the leadership maze will disappear and be replaced by a smooth and equal route to the top.

On the bright side, many corporate leaders are recognizing the issues and are offering programs to help women finally achieve reach their goals. One of these cost-efficient programs is entitled Same Workplace – Different Realities.

John Agno of Signature, Inc. and Barb McEwen of 20/20 Executive Coaching, Inc. come together once a year to offer their TeleSeminar Series that is packed full of great information to help women navigate the corporate terrain. The cost is a mere $49 per session and you can select as many or as few sessions as you like. The first course begins 12:00 noon EST for 1 hour on Wednesday, October 1st. Each of the following courses takes place on consecutive Wednesdays through November 19th.

This program is guaranteed to help you:

  • Integrate personal and professional goals
  • Understand the invisible rules of success
  • Recognize and support the various teams you play on
  • Know how to interpret the score card
  • Model leadership behavior
  • Key into gender-based behavior
  • Identify key relationships both inside and outside the organization
  • Employ new power moves
  • Learn to speak so others will listen
  • Use probing techniques to help clarify issues and problem solve
  • Be assertive without being obnoxious
  • Embrace your power and influence
  • Engage in self-promotion
  • Learn to watch yourself in action
  • Take losses in your stride
  • Identify common female traps
  • Learn to ask for what you what

Check it out now.

Someone once said that it doesn’t matter if you win or lose, it’s how you play the game that matters. As coaches, our programs help clarify what is required by you to succeed within your organization. By working together – either through executive coaching or the teleseminar series -- we help you see, hear and think in ways that were not previously possible. This is called strategic personal development and it is tailored specifically for aspiring executive women.


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Barb McEwen is a Master Executive Coach and Organizational Strategist who works with corporations and individuals worldwide. As founder of 20/20 Executive Coaching and 20/20 Executive Women she has spent the past twelve years working with high potential individuals to help them hone their leadership and management skills. Contact Barb at