Why Do I Enjoy Coaching Men?
I have thought about why I coach men and I can assure you, it was not obvious initially. In fact, it seemed more natural to coach women. I have been a hair colorist for years and built a tremendous practice of wonderful women as clients and friends. We have celebrated wins and transformations, cried over loss and disappointments, and they have confided their most heartfelt desires to me. I was steeped in female empowerment in all aspects- a mother, two daughters, a sister, amazing female friends – powerful clients and female coworkers.
This was the impetus for my choosing to be a coach. So many in my life have shared that I was, at times, the only person in their lives who would not give up on their dreams. When I was introduced to life coaching as a career path, I could not believe my good fortune that I could support people the rest of my life! So it would make sense that the natural segue from salon to coaching would be to reach women within my established circle.
Not so fast. During my full year in an intensive coaching program, we were urged to coach anyone who was willing to be coached. Practice practice everywhere! We also had to coach volunteers while our instructors listened during class. Many volunteers were men. Many of my outside volunteers were men as well. And I was captivated. Men were very willing to share deep fears, frustration, joy, love and every other emotion. When prompted, they were as motivated to move forward in career, relationship, purpose, and contribution as any woman I had ever met.
And I was fascinated to hear what they had to say, how they thought, what was in their hearts. I have communicative male friends, a husband, and a father and began to recall how much I enjoyed my mostly male friends in engineering school years ago. I always enjoyed speaking one on one with men. I simply felt more like an expert with women.
And therein lies the key. As a life coach, we are absolutely forbidden to be an expert. We are trained to partner in the goals and aspirations of our client. I am able to remain exactly that with men. When they confide in me, reveal vulnerability with me, and have epiphany after epiphany as they reach deeply meaningful awareness and goals, I hold our experience as sacred. I am off the field, and able to allow them to fill in the details. With women, I slip too easily into, quite frankly, a know-it-all! This sounds like gender bias, but it is not.
Admittedly, my exposure to men has been very positive. As women find their voices and speak their truth, I am moved to tears with profound love for the sisterhood rising in our midst. Yet I shudder at an undercurrent of men being dismissed and devalued. What if we rise together? What if we recognize that we are all stronger together, and shutting men down is counter productive? They are husbands, brothers, fathers and sons. They are our loved ones.
Men have been very supportive of me throughout my life. I have spent the first half of my life transforming women by making them feel beautiful and special. Now, for my second half of my life, I have the privilege of supporting men and supporting them in creating all the facets of their remarkable lives.