Gender and Coaching

Monday, 11 July 2016: 09:00
Location: Hörsaal BIG 2 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Heli AALTONEN, Abo Akademi, Finland
Majority of professional coaches assumes that being professional means denying your gender. I propose that an awareness of the coach concerning the large scale of significances of gender in a coaching process is crucial for successful results.

Professional coaching and clinical supervision in Finland have stayed nearly untouched by the feminist research. Coaches who work with gender know-how and gender sensibility produce more satisfied employees and managers in work organisations.

My aim has been to research how gender, age, education, traditions, religion, place of residence, correlate with gender awareness and gender related practices in a coaching process of a professional coach or a clinical supervisor.

I sent a survey to the 1.800 members of the Finnish Supervisors’ Association and to the 400 supervisors of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland and interviewed 12 coaches/supervisors. The interviewed persons have also kept a diary of their observations concerning gender during two months. Finally, I analysed the material with an intersectional method known from gender research.

Statistically 80% of the coaches in the Finnish Supervisors’ Association, and 60 % of the Church supervisors are women and a majority of their clients are women, mostly from the health and social sectors and the church. Quite few of the supervisors are aware of the significances of gender in their praxis.

Is it so that low paid women coaches coach low paid women to stay in their hard work situations and well paid male business coaches coach male CEOs to make more money? The results are guiding in that direction, but need more research. However, gender awareness and gender know-how should be added to every coach and supervisor training in Europe. In my view we still have many areas in science and work life, where being a professional means to deny your gender.