Lifting the lid on Mindset Coaching for Women in Business
Updated: Jul 23, 2020
Abbie Broad – Business Coach at Now Watch Me Fly Ltd. Lifts the lid on Mindset Coaching and why it is so important for Women in Business.
Mindset Coaching involves a combination of practices that enable a person to think purposefully and consciously. To take in information and process it in their consciousness rather than allowing the information to sink deep into the emotions where pretty much anything can happen.
There are many books on the subject that offer a scientific based explanation. I like to keep things simple and I am a sucker for a metaphor, so, sit tight, this is how I explain what Mindset Coaching means to me. In truth it is not a particularly scientific explanation, it is I hope a simplified way in which to begin to understand how by applying “A Particular Mindset” is how we can begin to choose how we experience the world.
Mindset is like a window, if the one you are looking through is dirty or broken the world will look dirty and broken. Step to the side and look through a new window, one that is clean and free from cracks, the world will immediately look quite different. The world did not change – you just decided to step to into a better place from which to see it.
Our world is experienced through our 5 senses. Sight, sound, smell, touch, and taste. Millions of bits of information coming at us every second. How we interpret that information is determined by our unique values, drivers, and beliefs. How we filter that information before it hits our values, drivers and beliefs is through our Mindset.
There are several mindset tools designed with a particular outcome in mind that we can use. When practiced over time these tools begin to merge to form our default mindset. At first the practice is purposeful and conscious but over time it becomes easier and requires less input from us.
In the process of coaching this is the moment when things begin to change. When a person can start to see and feel the difference.
Life does not change, how you are experiencing it does. When we think differently, we feel differently and if we feel differently we act and behave differently. This is how Mindset helps to create the core behaviours that will propel you forward and release you from the struggle.
Behaviours and Habits
A lot has been written about the science of behaviours and habits. It is in fact one of my favourite pastimes to immerse myself in a good audio book on this very subject. It is interesting to note that behaviours and habits are not the same thing and they form in separate parts of the brain. Pippa Lally is a health psychology researcher at University College London. In a study published in the European Journal of Social Psychology, Lally and her research team decided to figure out just how long it actually takes to form a habit.
Their study of 97 participants concluded that the average time to create a cue dependant or subconscious habit was around 66days. The much publicised 21days is in fact a myth and her research produced a spectrum of results from 18 up to as much as 254 days allowing for a multitude of variables. Shifting our mindset to respond quickly to new ways of thinking begins with behaviours. Practice the behaviour overtime, insert the relevant cues to trigger our brain and eventually we have our default mindset. Ok so it’s a little more complex from a scientific point of view, but in reality not that complicated.
We each have core drivers that exist in our head. These drivers push us forward and will often dictate our actions. Core behaviours develop overtime to help us to satisfy these drivers. Such as being organised, reliable, tidy, or efficient. They are our default and we defy them at our peril. For example, if we are a tidy person and we decide to marry or live with an untidy person – then eventually there is going to be a problem.
Then we have our core values. These belong in our heart. Passion. Creativity. Love of learning. Connection. For me one of my core values is growth and therefore if there is an opportunity to learn something “I’m in” I seek growth every day and it makes me feel great. If our values are challenged or ignored it can be very distracting. Values are powerful and we will defend them at all costs.
Then the tricky one. Beliefs. Beliefs exist in our head for sure, but we feel them in our stomach. When a belief we hold is saying “Who do you think you are? You don’t belong here” we feel fearful and sick to our stomach. Beliefs can of course be positive and motivating too and the trick is to always have the good ones to hand to dispute or dismiss the bad ones.
Each of our drivers, values and beliefs will play a part in how we perceive and process the information we take in. They are what makes our map of the world unique. Mindset practices help us to notice when they pop up and to decipher their meaning. For example, if we are struggling with self-doubt then it could be that a core belief has been triggered and by applying the mindset practices we can work past this doubt and build confidence. Sounds simple right…. It is. We just need to put the work in.
So, with all this information coming at us, our emotions and feelings are triggered. Once they join in, without infrastructure all hell breaks loose. Internal dialogue, conflicts and confusion are exhausting.
In simple terms if you fail to meet your values, use your behaviours well and reframe your limited beliefs, you will without doubt fall prey to the BIG 7 struggles for women in business
Fear. Confusion. Self-doubt. Guilt. Isolation. Time fatigue. Overwhelm.
Imagine all these emotions, drivers, feelings, behaviours, values, and beliefs are cars travelling around your body smashing into the information being absorbed through your senses. Without structure and guidance, they are permanently “off roading” basically your vehicles have all been car jacked and they are off on a joy ride.
Our Mindset acts like a road, with traffic lights, sat navs, stop signs and traffic police. Keeping order, directing you to the best route, slowing you down, speeding you up. Showing you the dead ends. Telling you when to turn. A perfectly slick system that keeps everything moving in the right direction. Guiding you to your destination via the easiest and best route. It is not always the fastest route, it is the route that offers us the best chance of finding our destination again and again, relying less and less on the sat nav.
Most of us will have a variety of Mindset roads that we can access, the magic is knowing which one is going to be the most resourceful at any given time and being able to access it quickly without falling prey to detours, pot holes and dead ends.
Familiar or default mindsets develop over time through repeated behaviours. An employee, fixed, or limited mindset comes as a result of imposed beliefs and restricted imagination. A
fear or lazy mindset can develop as a result of circumstances and situations. A business or entrepreneurial begins when we challenge ourselves to succeed and a gratitude or growth mindset, come as a result of a committed process of self-awareness.
Mindset coaching begins by focusing attention on where the traffic is going and where it needs to be. Questions and exercises help you to create signs that pop up and direct you so you can relax, build confidence, and trust you are going in the right direction. Practice helps create the behaviours that teach you to drive the traffic more purposefully. So eventually everything is running like clockwork. Healthy Mindset and Mental Resilience are however a daily practice not a destination. We need to keep doing the work and in order to do this we need support.
Why is mindset a struggle for women in business?
Truth is, it is a struggle in life not just in business. Only difference is, when we operate inside our own lives, it is easy to hide. And it is not until we are challenged, that we even notice there is a problem. There is a lot to lose in life for sure. Missed opportunities, relationships, grief, loss, good luck, bad luck, nice people nasty people, money worries and our health. Stuff happens to each of us at some time in our life and it is often our mindset that determines what we do, how we feel, how we respond and how we recover.
Women In business will often hold back from asking for help, because.
1 They don’t know they need it.
“If I’m working hard then no one will notice how terrified I am”.
2 They are used to the struggle and cannot let it go
“If I am working hard then my family won’t resent me for not being there”.
3 They don’t want to admit defeat.
“If I struggle, then that means I’m getting somewhere… right”? (wrong)
Why are you really doing this?
Women who decide to go into business for themselves, certainly those later in life. I can guarantee you that it is because of someone or something that has happened to them. Something they have experienced. Overcoming illness, grief, depression, and struggle are great motivators. Also seeing a need and wanting to help people, or sharing a life changing or positive experience with others can be just as motivating.
We always have a why that is bigger than whatever it is we are working on. Understanding that why and what it truly means is at the heart of our motivation. And I bet your why is not what you tell people it is. There is always a deeper meaning. We must be honest with ourselves to understand it so we can use it properly.
Struggle does not have to mean unsuccessful. You would be amazed at the number of women out there running incredibly successful and profitable businesses, who are struggling. Working too hard, trying to outrun themselves. Avoiding guilt, shame and vulnerability just trying to prove they can.
Applying even just a few simple techniques into your process can make a big difference. It is not rocket science and it does not involve digging deep into your past and unpicking stuff you would rather forget.
Mindset is simply about choosing how you want to experience the world. Recognising where you may be looking through a dirty or broken window and learning how to step to the side, quicker and more easily. There is so much amazing advice and support out there to help you set up, grow, and scale a business, but without the right mindset, most of it will be obscured by the cracks in the glass and hidden by the dirt.
Working with a coach
Coaching has been a life changing therapy for me. First as a process of personal growth and now as a tool that I share with others. It is delivered in a multitude of ways and there is pretty much a coach for everything these days. Sports coach of course, weight loss, emotional strength, holistic and wellbeing coaches, mindset coaches, mentor coaches, transformational coaches, business coaches, life and relationships coaches, birthing coaches and even a writing coach. Coaching is however still a tough sell, at least in the UK. Countries such as Australia and the US have been leaning into this incredible therapy for decades, becoming an accepted partnership and way of life for individuals and businesses. As a start-up I certainly struggled to demonstrate to my potential clients why they should engage with my services, separating coaching from other techniques such as counselling, training and mentoring. Clients often come with mixed ideas of what and how coaching works, so I use this simple metaphor to demonstrate the difference and to help meet their expectations.
Imagine you have tripped over on the pavement and you are on the ground in a heap. People are watching, you feel vulnerable and exposed.
1. A Counsellor would stop bend down and ask “is it ok if I sit here with you, till you are ready to get back up?”
2. A Teacher or trainer might stop and say “I can help you to get up. Put your hands flat on the ground and push. Bring your feet up to your chest and bring yourself up to your feet”.
3. A Mentor could ask “Can I help? I have been on the ground many times, this is how I got up”
4. A Friend would stop reach down, pick you up off the floor and carry you back home.
5. A Coach will most likely stop and ask “Would you like some help?” “What do you think happened? What can you do to get back up? What can you do next time to stop yourself from falling?
Now most of us when faced with fear, pain and vulnerability will immediately choose option 2, 3 or 4. This is because the those options keep us mostly in our comfort zone and get us immediately out of our current predicament. They feel like an immediate solution to our problem, something to take away the pain. Coaching requires us to be almost entirely in our stretch zone and when we are already overwhelmed, struggling and afraid the last thing many of us will do is volunteer for more discomfort.
Despite the many thousands of self-help books, business scaling courses, networking, coaching, and empowerment materials found in shops an online – not one of them can offer the transformation you desire without your commitment to take action.
There is no magical formula to follow. My promise to help reduce struggle comes with as all these books do a caveat. You must take action. You must commit to a journey of curiosity and growth in order to have the life and the business you desire.
And this takes time. In my role as a coach I walk beside my clients through the stretch zone, I walk beside them facilitating their process. Supporting them to gain clarity on their inner strength and use it to set achievable specific and measurable goals that move them forward. It can be uncomfortable as we have discovered, but if you are willing to trust the process, lean into the discomfort and embrace the change it can be the most incredible ride.
For more information on how to work with me please visit my website at www.nowwatchmefly.co.uk I offer a variety of packages to suit all budgets and requirements. From Online Group Coaching Sessions to 1-1 Buddy Coaching.