How to Coach a Woman – A Practitioner's Manual

A refreshingly different guide to becoming an ethical and responsible coach

By: Meg Reid


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Size: 178mm x 255mm
Pages : 256
ISBN : 9781845906764
Format: PaperbackCDROM
Published: March 2012

Can you keep a secret? What if a woman took you into her confidence and told you how she really felt about her life, her ambitions, her expectations of herself, her disappointments, her successes … Would you know what to say? What if she told you life wasn’t quite what she’d planned, that cracks were starting to appear, or that she was unsure of her next move – how would you answer?

This handbook is your answer. The only guide a coach for women will ever need. Lynette Allen and Meg Reid between them have more than 20 years' experience of coaching women from every walk of life, on just about every topic you can imagine, they’ve been successfully training coaches too and have poured everything they know into this unique book. Discover their secrets, tips, techniques, exercises and tools. Dispel the myths of coaching, understand the ethics and responsibility of taking on this vital role and you’ll find a refreshingly different way to connect with your female employees or clients.

Includes a CD-ROM of practical coaching resources.

Picture for author Meg Reid

Meg Reid

Meg Reid is the UK`s leading specialist at coaching with women who want to bridge a gap in their lives. She works with American women re-locating to England, women in mid-life and women in supportive organisational roles in Universities. Meg co-founded the UK Coaching Partnership Ltd with Lynette with the express purpose of training ethical and responsible coaches. Meg wrote the first coaching book for the Arabic world.


  1. This book explains how to coach a woman and is aimed at practising and aspiring coaches and may also be of interest to managers and individuals. It identifies -˜six key principles to coaching a woman' which are referred to throughout the book, for example women tend to be better at visualising and this can be a useful approach for a coach. It discusses the nature versus nurture differences between men and women's brains with a caution against assuming standard norms.

    There are a number of useful tools and techniques described, including the coaching model of TGROW, with -˜Topic' preceding the more widely seen Goal, Reality, Options and Will/When/Why. In addition to SMART goals, the authors describe their acronym for goals for women -” FEMALE -” Focused, Empowered, Measured, Aligned, Linked to her Emotionally. 

    It is written in a very readable style, whilst also giving input from experts and academic studies and is clearly laid out with a good index and references. There are plenty of examples of coaching conversations to illustrate their points, all with a focus on women and their typical situations. A bonus is a CD of useful resources including templates, for example the Wheel of Life, and summaries, such as the theory of positive and negative circles. 
    Strongly recommended (4 stars).
  2. A refreshing and practical guide to understanding and coaching women. It demonstrates the differences between men and women and how women do in fact need a different style of coaching. I think that for anyone who coaches women or simply wants to connect with the women that they work with this book is a must-read. What's more I love the way that they use gentle humour in this book and make it a pleasure to read whilst still being practical and realistic. Go buy it, it's well worth it.
  3. I like books that challenge me and question my thinking. And from this one, I'm left with the question of how do women have different needs to men in a coaching relationship? It's the -˜Men are from Mars and Women from Venus', women and map-reading kind of question! I was intrigued by the title of the book which set me off immediately to consider the way that I work with male and female clients.

    Do I coach my male and female clients differently and what are the dynamics at play between us? Do men prefer female coaches and women prefer male coaches for some unspoken reason of attraction? I asked this question of several fellow coaches and my coaching supervisor, so for that prompt alone, I'm grateful to the authors and the fruitful discussion that ensured. We debated whether male coaches feel powerful when their female coachees show their vulnerability, and whether men can only feel free to be really honest and open with a female coach. At the same time, does a same-sex coach act as a useful role model and confidante in a different way? Then how do the dynamics change with a gay coach or client? Or what about coaching teams with male and female participants?

    In many ways I feel this book is a mis-nomer . Essentially, it's an introductory guide to coaching anyone, regardless of gender, and builds confidence in the -˜rookie coach' as they start out on a coaching career. The core coaching model is basic -” centred on the GROW model - and is aimed at those looking for a simple structure to build on.

    The authors initial premise is that women have six characteristics that make them different as clients and offer the following six key principles:
    1. Women want to feel their relationship with their coach is unique and different from the coach's relationship with other coachees.
    2. Women learn best through discussion and have highly developed verbal skills.
    3. Women have the ability to fix several problems at the same time, even if they are only talking to you about one issue.
    4. Women are emotionally literate and so are willing to acknowledge, explore and express emotions.
    5. Women are able to use visualisation very effectively
    6. Women are more self-critical.

    I'm not in any way convinced that these generalisations hold true just for women, as I, and others I spoke to, can easily identify so many male clients with all of the six traits attributed to women. For example, both male and female coachees can express and acknowledge emotion: what might have been more interesting to explore is whether women find it tougher to express certain more -˜macho' emotions such as anger while it's more socially acceptable to express fear and vice versa. Most of my male clients have superb visualisation skills and spatial ability. They are certainly highly critical of themselves too

    What I particularly like about this book is that it offers practical examples and stories to de-mystify the coaching process with coaching dialogues that clarify the issues that so often appear in coaching. By taking the conversation deeper, the coach learns what to look for that's not immediately obvious at the surface level.

    For those who are particularly interested in coaching women, the book offers a whole chapter looking at female niches within the -˜coaching women' sector from busy mums to budding female entrepreneurs. And for those new coaches looking to make their mark in the female sector, I think this book hits the spot. It's clear, well edited and a good read with thought-provoking ideas for experienced coaches too.

  4. This is a book with a specific purpose; it is written for personal development trainers with women clients, life coaches with female coachees, and for men and women in leadership positions who have to manage or mentor women in the workplace. Although the term -˜coachee' grates aesthetically it is probably no worse than -˜client'. The authors stress that they are not sexist, but recognise that men and women think differently, and so need to be handled differently in the coaching session. Following the book's six Key Principles should enable coaches to adapt their approach and language “to find that perfect fit” for their female coachees. Briefly paraphrased, the Principles are: (1) Women require a personal and unique connection with their coach; (2) women use talking to solve their problems; (3) women can multitask; (4) women are more emotionally literate than men; (5) women use visualisation effectively; (6) women are more self-critical. The book provides easy-to-understand examples of the authors' adapted use of the standard -˜TGROW' (Topic, Goal, Reality, Options, Will/When/Why) framework of coaching. Where this book excels is in the detail of discussion and insights given around specific instances of interactions in coach-coachee sessions. Body language, rapport, matching/mirroring, visual and non-visual metaphor, and other communication strategies are well illustrated, and these would be applicable within any professional therapeutic intervention. Some techniques closely follow NLP. Another useful tool is the -˜wheel of life' -” an eight-spoked visual representation of key areas in a woman's life -” which is rated and drawn as a “satisfaction” scale and thus can be reviewed over the course of the coaching. A CD-ROM is provided, as well as advice on how to qualify as a coach. A useful and practical guide to therapeutic work with women.
  5. The book is packed with practical hints, tips and exercises. It could be used by anyone who wanted to work successfully with women and who wanted greater understanding of how to go about it -” you wouldn't need to be a qualified coach to follow the book's advice, techniques and recommendations straight away.

    The book is easy to read and follow and contains a wealth of anecdotes to illustrate points and make the information come to life. There are good lists of questions and practical straightforward advice -” I particularly liked the section in Chapter 1 about -˜Laying down the Ground Rules for coaching' and in Chapter 2 -˜Coaching a woman's Many Faces.' There are good examples of possible scenarios for coaching a woman, for example, growing their own business, managing their health and relationships, busy mums, empty nesters, mid-life and retirement.

    Lynette and Meg use Myles Downey's TGROW acronym extensively and when goal setting use two further acronyms - the rather hackneyed, but useful, SMART and FEMALE which stands for Focused, Empowered, Measured, Aligned and Linked to her Emotionally.

    There is also a useful CD included with the book which contains PDF's of various resources -” e.g. sample coaching contracts, letters and exercises (setting goals, wheel of life, amongst others) - to get you started. This would be a valuable resource to anyone setting out as they have something very practical and easy to follow.

    When I agreed to review this book I had my reservations about it -” I was not convinced that coaching a woman is very much different from coaching anyone -” and largely I am still of that opinion. However, now that I've read this book I see that it's a useful distinction when applied in the way that Lynette and Meg have.

    For myself, I didn't love this book. I found the approach rather simplistic, sometimes overly so for my taste and especially at the price. For example, I disagree with some of the -˜Six Key Principles to coaching a woman' detailed in their introduction -” I find them to be sweeping generalisations and nothing that I would exclusively apply to women. For example, Key Principle Number 4 states that -˜Women are emotionally literate and so are willing to acknowledge, explore and express emotions'.

    Really? As presuppositions these would work for me, but not as universal truths.

    That said, I applaud the authors for doing exactly what they set out to do. It's not rocket science -” but in fairness it's not pretending to be and for people who are new to coaching the book will be a good place to start precisely because of this simplicity.
  6. Allen and Reid, whose firm specializes in coaching, mentoring, and training corporate and entrepreneurial women in the UK, offer a handbook for professional life coaches, business and executive coaches, and managers (both male and female) wanting to work with women that shows them how to communicate using a coaching approach, as well as the primary differences between coaching a woman and a man. They explain how women think and how to use approaches, terminology, questions, and rapport building skills to work with them more successfully. They detail six principles about coaching a woman; barriers, myths, and ground rules; ten coaching niches; a model for goals; questions that promote communication; listening; dealing with negativity; communication skills; women's body language and image, self-esteem, life areas, values, beliefs, and stress and decisions; and whether to become a qualified coach. A CD-ROM of resources like forms, letters, tables, and tips is provided.
  7. This book is ideal for coaches who want specific and easy to follow tools to excel at working with women. Many of us know or sense that men and women are very different, yet as a coach I wasn't trained to modify my approach with each gender. As well as providing ideas and guidance, I also believe that this book bridges the gap for coaches who want to specialise in working with women.

    The delight about this book is that it builds on the basic models taught by some of the coaching schools, such as GROW, Values, etc, to give you specific ways in which these can be adapted to meet the needs of women. In addition, this book has the added bonus of coming with a supporting CD. What I found particularly helpful is that the text is interspersed with real life examples from coaches and coachees, which give strategies to how coaches can improve the way in which they can get the best from their female clients.

    This book comes highly recommended; it is sensible, practical, and extremely informative. As a practicing coach with 6 years experience post-training, I still had a few aha moments!

  8. Whatever the origins of gender differences in our culture this book represents a useful tool to aid the coaching of everyone living within this paradigm. Coming as it does from a unique perspective this text displays sound principles of coaching for the individual, and acknowledges the reality that 'one size does not fit all'. It emphasises the importance, for women especially, of feeling heard within the relationship with their coach.

    This book is written in a clear and accessible style. I believe it will appeal to anyone with an interest in coaching. Writing insightfully the authors talk of coaching women within their emotionality. Not dismissing it or apologising for it, but rather, tapping into it as the genuine creative seam it represents, and the deepest place where, in my experience, real change occurs -” and more importantly, lasts.

    Incorporating many useful exercises (I particularly liked the 'film clip' exercise) this book is a 'stand alone' text of both breadth and depth, in service of the novice and the more experienced coach. I genuinely feel there is something here of value for everyone with an interest in coaching.

    There are many applications with both skills and insight being gained from the coaching process, illustrated here in clear models to anchor the work, creative exercises to inspire both client and coach, all reinforced with case studies of real people who have genuinely benefited from the coaching experience.

    I didn't need convincing of the efficacy of coaching; as a coach and a counsellor myself, I see with my own eyes the benefits these processes bring to people's lives. But this book made me more aware of the ripple effect coaching has, not only enhancing performance and improving general well-being, but impacting positively on our relationships with those close to us.

    Thank you Meg and Lynette for a valuable coaching manual that will certainly remain by my side on the onward coaching journey!
  9. At first glance the educational professional might pass over Allen and Reid's -˜How To Coach A Woman'. However as the reader engages with the text they find themselves relating the ideas to their own situation.

    Professor Stephen Palmer comments in the Foreword,
    '-¦there has been a lack of publications that focus on coaching women-¦..this book -¦which includes various theories, coaching models and frameworks with numerous examples of coach-coachee dialogue -¦-¦.. brings alive the process of coaching' p. vii.

    The authors illustrate the TGROW (Topic, Goal, Reality, Options, and Will/When/Why )coaching framework , and their own coaching acronym FEMALE (focussed; empowered; measured; aligned; linked; emotionally).

    Although this book does not come out of a school or higher education stable, it has relevance to our work in illustrating how colleagues and educational leaders can develop their understanding of female colleagues, acquire tools and techniques for connecting with female staff, handle difficult conversations, and make use of coaching templates and what they call -˜the wheel of a woman's life' (see p.175-202). The author found himself relating their ideas not only to coaching in schools, but to PSHE and pastoral care. (See e.g. chapter 11 -˜The Values of a Woman Today'; and chapter 12 -˜Beliefs and Their Links With Emotions') So who might want to read this book?

    Coaching professionals will find the author's writing insightful in their contacts with female colleagues. It would be valuable to have a reference copy in a School Staff, or pastoral care library that professional tutors could recommend to colleagues. This reviewer would place this book on a recommended reading list for courses in teacher continuing professional development, or graduate level courses in coaching and mentoring.
  10. This book is one of those valuable finds -” a handbook that blends knowledge and experience then communicates it in an easily accessible style. It is aimed at those who coach, or wish to coach women in their many guises. I will admit to being vaguely sceptical at first that there were such significant differences between the genders to warrant a pointedly different approach. However, having read the book I'm inclined to agree that whilst there is no -˜right' or -˜wrong', there are commonalities in the way many women respond to their environment and themselves. To conduct a coaching relationship making use of this knowledge could be compared to accurately tuning in to a particular radio station. When you're close but not exact you can still hear the song, albeit interrupted by moments of static. Using the exact code you can enjoy the maximum quality and connection, letting you forget about tuning and instead focus purely on the music. 

    This is a very practical book. Whilst full of knowledge, everything is backed up by experience and usually illustrated by examples and through sample dialogues. There are many tools included which the reader can try out on themselves as well as examples of how this information has helped relationships both in and out of the traditional coaching arena.

    As a qualified coach, I would genuinely recommend this book to those with an interest in coaching. Students will find it an invaluable companion to their studies as well as a model for what they should look for in a good course. Practicing coaches or those using coaching skills in the workplace are also likely to find the book of benefit. Being a great coach means undertaking a continuous journey of self-development. This book is a worthwhile step on that road.
  11. I have the privilege to listen to and coach women all the time and found myself feeling grateful for this book because it offers -˜easy to reach for' precision questions for that welcomed confrontation of issues that a female coaches and coach present to each other. When they open up to skilfully unfolding their conflicts until they become a harmonious solution. How to Coach a Woman, A Practitioners Manual, provides for you if you want them, better ways of being, as you communicate with classic coaching questions. I am inspired by this book which is full of brilliant examples, tips, techniques, exercises and tools, ideal if you are a coach, manager or supervisor of women.

    Women's brains are like bras, they need support so that the coaching can take hold. The coach also needs a -˜brace', as they too are giving time for the coaching to take shape. There is nothing natural about a coach without support. This book offers that brace.

    Allen's and Reid's, -˜How to Coach a Woman, A Practitioners Manual -˜is for coaches, managers or supervisors of women who are open to coaching. It's a wonderful work companion, I mused to myself as I read it, considering how its tools and techniques attends to the -˜heart' of women's stressful issues. Its kernel keeps reminding the coach to keep enjoying the process of -˜loving on themselves', whilst they are supporting a woman. This principle keeps the weight off the mind!

    This book is ideal blessing for those who do not talk to women and are now expected to. To those who wish to increase their receptivity to the feminine mind. It's for those who feel women are different, confusing, changeable and just do not understand, them, us. It's ideal if you find you work with distressed women. Distressed through parenting, domestic violence, money, rape, health, career, romance or other life circumstances.

    It really supports you if you feel you miss the mark with coaching and supervising women. It mingles an enthusiasm for connecting with women where we really are. Not as superwomen. Just from our true identities. Speaking not from disrespecting the way that a woman may have misunderstood her identity, and her ups and downs, to safely mastering the respectful practise of coaching women.

    This book is important.

    This to me is a' rebirth yourself through skilful questions -˜ book which reflects back peaceful solutions into an external world where we stand back and observe acts of misogyny, rape, women attacking women and lack of self-love within some women. It's a great book for letting go of attachments to false identity of womanhood by encouraging an enquiry into who makes energies emerge from the feminine mind once it's activated in its own unique way. 
    Allen and Reid's poetic, lyrical, romantic quality comes from giving time for whatever powers the woman, the coachee has. To allow it to take shape, by being allowed to freely express herself like a the dancer, artiste, creator that she is via their emphasis on very practical processes. Processes and steps which are so hands on, so every day, so business like, that the concrete tips, techniques, exercises and tools feel like you can do it. Consequently, it has a strong -˜loving on yourself' effect for the coach.

    As a professional woman I enjoyed the fact that I can use it as a reference manual. I felt like I was brilliant because I could easily refer to the support of the disciplined, firmness of this manual. I coachee into fully taking responsibility for her own weight of change. could -˜let go of the weight of others' and just allow the softer creative work I was cultivating within the coachee to take root. 

    Finally, as a celebrant woman, a coach who loves the -˜Womanly Arts', I find that Reid and Allen, rebalances the responsibility scales between coach and coachee. They help you to plan time to dote on yourself. Formally balancing the coach's focus on -˜loving on herself', to the point that she gets as much enjoyment from -˜loving just on herself', as she gets from sensitively directing the female 

    It's my joy to recommend this text for all managers, coaches, supervisors. In particular managers, coaches and supervisors working in industries populated with women. E.g. Retail, hospitality, banking, health, catering, education and social services. Equally this book is ideal for those men and women who feel may feel unsupported around coaching women. This may be within mentoring roles within politics, the military etc.
  12. In the busy-ness of being so caught up in the minutia of life I sometimes find myself so overwhelmed I just want someone to -˜offload' onto, its not ideal if this is my poor long suffering husband or even my best friend's because there can be stuff that's simply too private or more importantly something that seems huge to me yet I know if I tell someone close to me that's its affecting me they'll judge me and tell me I'm being ridiculous, Perhaps I am ! I also don't usually necessarily feel I need therapy, I don't feel in need of psycho-therapy, or even counselling. Clearly what I need is a coach, but specifically a Coach who really understands women just like me. Lynette Allen and Meg Reid have years of experience of coaching and understanding women and have some refreshing new suggestions on how to connect with us. As they point out in the book a woman wouldn't go into a Gents outfitters and expect to find great service and the perfect fitting garment so why go to a coach who isn't expert in coaching women ?

    There is some great research and information in this book and some really fun and practical ideas also, I loved the diagram of the -˜Wheel of life' but alongside it a -˜Wheel of strife !' How brilliant that they present an amusing way of looking at what's stressing the average women -” perhaps your client.

    If you're already a life coach, interested in becoming one, perhaps you're a manager who wants to connect with the women you work with, this book is for you. I'm none of the above but I still found it fascinating just to learn about the technical differences between men and women and it was quite comforting to know that some of my innermost thoughts are quite universal !
  13. The authors have generously gifted their expertise to the world of coaching for both women and men alike! How to Coach a Woman is unique in that it really goes into depth in not just the differences when coaching women, but in varying scenarios undoubtedly a comprehensive, insightful and practical piece of work that is a great contribution to the coaching profession
  14. A fantastic coaching handbook for women, How to Coach a Woman is a practical guide on how to work best with brilliant women.

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