Does EOS® Offer Executive Coaching for Women?
Breaking down the barriers that prevent a business from thriving is one of the hallmark features of the Entrepreneurial Operating System®. It should come as no surprise, then, that professional women find a lot to like in EOS®.
As a Professional EOS Implementer® I’m often asked about how what I do differs from the work of an executive coach. It’s a question that comes up across the board, but it has special significance for women leaders who are looking for specific advice on how to overcome gender-based glass ceilings.
EOS® is not quite the same thing as executive coaching
An executive coach tends to focus first on individuals. The coach can have several objectives beyond helping a particular business work better:
- Personal branding. Some coaches are great at helping their clients build a personal brand. Although raising an executive’s profile will benefit her existing company, the executive remains the primary beneficiary. In this role, a coach might help a client foster leadership opportunities beyond the scope of her role in a business—for example, by seeking membership on a nonprofit’s board of directors.
- Conflict resolution. Companies sometimes bring in executive coaches to resolve specific interpersonal problems within a leadership team. This role can have a remedial purpose if, for example, an executive’s style has been hurting employee morale. The conflict resolution role can have a risk management function as well, when for example an executive needs training to overcome biases that could create liability for the business.
- Guidance through growth and change. An executive coach is often one part psychologist, one part professor of business management. As the client’s professional circumstances change—for better or worse—the executive coach stays at her side to offer a dispassionate perspective rooted in an understanding of the client’s habits.
As the examples above make clear, an executive coach can do a lot of important work for a client. In fact, there are times when an executive coach is what a business leader really needs. To put it bluntly, an executive coach can untangle the elements of a leader’s thinking that are holding a company back. But in other cases, the business as a whole needs a shift in thinking, and that’s where EOS comes in.
Similar tools with a different emphasis
It’s no surprise that there’s some overlap between an executive coach and a Professional EOS Implementer. Like an executive coach, your implementer sticks with you for years. She also should offer a combination of business strategy and leadership psychology. And she guides her client through the rough spots, using the EOS Toolbox™ as a framework for resolving conflicts and finding paths forward even when the going is tough.
But there’s an important difference: a Professional EOS Implementer’s responsibility is to the client business, rather than any one individual. Although she’ll offer advice to a leader, the Implementer’s emphasis is on installing a sustainable, repeatable process for effective decision making across the organization.
How EOS supports women in leadership roles
So does EOS offer executive coaching for women? Not exactly. But what it does offer women in leadership positions is a powerful framework for bringing their team’s thinking into alignment and keeping it there.
I work with a small business whose owner took over from her father after he retired. She had worked for the business for years in various roles before becoming CEO. Despite that experience, she faced pushback from the old guard when she began to implement modernizing changes. “They wanted me to be just like my dad,” she told me. “It wasn’t working.”
In her old-fashioned industry, many of the men she now led weren’t used to having a woman in charge. “I’ve dealt with plenty of mansplaining,” she told me. “It goes with the territory.”
She turned to EOS for help. “What EOS did was shift the crew’s thinking away from me as the ‘new gal’ and put it on the process. It cleared out a lot of baggage, especially those hang-ups coming from loyalty to my dad.”
“It also forced the team to confront biases they had about me as a leader in a way that was constructive,” she said. “The emphasis on open and honest conversation gave us space to talk about things that might never have come up otherwise. Then we used the system to stay on task.”
This client’s story is just one illustration of how EOS can address the challenges that women executives face. By indirectly addressing structural challenges from biased modes of thinking, EOS provides powerful tools for resolving challenges in a fresh way.
Which is right for you?
Deciding on the right path forward for your business is never quick or easy. Over the course of my career as a business leader I saw plenty of situations where having a framework like EOS would’ve been an immense help to me.
Interested in chatting about executive coaching, EOS, or just business in general? I’d love to hear from you. Send me an email or give me a call at (818) 649-1103. I’m looking forward to swapping stories with you.