Sounds controversial, right? Believe me, it doesn’t have to be. Think back for a minute to any part of your schooling. Did the guys in your class learn differently from the ladies? Chances are, they probably did.
An important note: I am NOT saying that men or women have to learn different things, have to achieve different things or are otherwise unequal. I do, however, believe that men and women learn differently from one another, and science supports this: our brains are wired differently. Got it? Okay, let’s go!
If you’ve ever listened to a man faced with a problem, you’ve probably overheard one of these or some variation:
“Just tough it out.”
“Push through it.”
Sound familiar? I thought so. Men often choose to power through a tough situation, whether it’s a pile of work or a challenging puzzle, without really giving it much thought. While women certainly can power through tough situations - and most likely have - this probably isn’t the best thought process for them. There’s a book called Men are Like Waffles - Women are Like Spaghetti by Bill and Pam Farrel that helps explain this.
It’s a relationship book, but the principles in it apply here, too. They say men’s brains are like waffles because they can compartmentalize different parts of their lives or projects. They can then work systematically through one thing at a time. This makes it easy for them to power through a big project before thinking of moving on to the next piece. They don’t need to think about how different aspects of their lives are connected.
Women, on the other hand, flow together like spaghetti noodles. It’s harder for them to separate out one project from another, work from family, or even being with their friends versus time with their spouse. They spend more time thinking about how all aspects of their lives are connected and how powering through a particular project might impact their family time or their health. In order to choose what they feel is the next best step and move forward, they often have to think about how it’s connected.
There are many other differences between men and women, though, that show that women might benefit from a different approach to coaching. For instance, and it might sound cliche, but women are typically more likely to have less self-confidence. (Again, this is a generalization that doesn’t apply to everyone!) Men often believe that they are the perfect person for any position they want, even if they’re only partially qualified. Women, on the other hand, often don’t feel qualified even if they fit 99% of the job description.
A coach talking to a man can typically say “yeah, get it done!” and they will accept that message without feeling they need to give it a second thought. For most women who hear that, though, they might still go do the thing, but they’ll probably have second-guessed themselves because they began to wonder why they should do it and how it connects to the rest of their lives (remember: spaghetti).
Women are often more open to receiving deeper, more inner-work-based coaching. This is often where great transformations happen. Men, on the other hand, usually would rather just hear tactics and then go off and running. They don’t want (and arguably might not need) that deep-seated inner work. Women, however, are far more likely to incorporate journaling into their routine if a coach suggests it - and they’ll make some significant breakthroughs along the way. The inner work helps women think about the coach’s advice and analyze how it fits into their connected lives.
There are so many male coaches and leaders in chiropractic that have done amazing work for this industry. That said, they also tend to embrace a much more masculine tendency. I’ve heard many times throughout my career that pushing through is the way to go. They’re still coming from a place of care, thinking they’ll be able to stop us as women from constantly overanalyzing everything. Unfortunately, though, it often backfires as our analysis is in no way excessive but necessary!
Women typically don’t just want to check off the boxes a coach outlines. We want to be able to listen to their input and understand how it fits into our unique vision for our lives. Then we can own the next action step on our journey.
A few months ago I wrote a blog about rest and how important it is for creative success. I’ve found that for me, I’m often a lot more productive if I take time to actually take a break when I need to instead of just pushing through. Does this mean that the guys who work better just by pushing through are wrong? Not a chance.
It just means that we work differently.
We need to be encouraged and coached differently, too.
This is something that I’m extremely passionate about.
I’ve had this experience myself, hearing from people who spoke in ways that didn’t resonate with me. If you resonated with this today and you’d like to hear more from me, I’d love to have you sign up for my email list.
Have you ever experienced this difference?
P.S.- Am I suggesting that a woman can’t learn from or be coached by a man at all?
Of course not!
But ladies- if you choose a male mentor (or a female who coaches like a male) make sure it’s one that understands how our brains work and is adept at asking you the questions to lead you to your OWN truth!
Don't hire someone to tell you what to do; hire someone who is insanely skilled at helping you help yourself.