Articles // February 20,2023

Women in Leadership: How can women develop coping strategies to win in different areas of their lives?

By Author - Sripriyaa Venkataraman, Editor - Chandrani Datta

A key focus area of this article: Now, how can we help women to be authentic at home AND at work AND with themselves?

The 2022 Women of The World in Leadership report, a qualitative study (WOW factors published by Global Coaching Lab) revealed meaningful stories from women leaders who showcased their strength, tenacity, balance and drive to reach the portals of power. A common thread that strings their experiences is their inner drive aka conative intelligence that has supported them faithfully through their journey.

The Paradox of Challenges

To sustain and nurture this inner drive aka conative intelligence, it is important for women to develop coping strategies in a deliberate manner. As women at work face multiples challenges to balance and integrate their professional and personal lives, a conscious effort to work on these coping strategies can help them navigate the web of expectations they are subjected to.

Most times, the warrior spirit with its inner drive and energy can get clouded by the victim spirit and tiredness.

How many of you are authentic at home and not at work?

How many of you are authentic at work and not at home?

How many of you are authentic both at home and work but not to yourself?

When we ask women these questions, the third one often receives the maximum show of hands. Now, how can we help women to be authentic at home AND at work AND with themselves? This is a very important question for all stakeholders who are invested in helping more women arrive at the portals of power and serve as leaders.

I once received the leaves of a very rare flowering plant from my spiritual mentor. She said, all I need to do was to plant these leaves in a pot filled with good soil and they should grow. Happily, I came home and potted the leaves and started taking care of the plant. For a few months, the two leaves remained as planted. I was curious and wondered when I can see further growth. A few more months passed, and I was now a bit anxious and moved the pot to other sections of the garden to see if things improved, adding the right soil nutrients. Nothing happened. Then out of frustration, I moved the plant from the garden to the terrace. Just after a few weeks, I saw more leaves and then one fine day a bud appeared. The plant flowered and flourished at a different altitude. Now it is a flourishing plant with its rare flowers giving me hope, blessings and joy.

Even through my anxiety and frustration, I did not allow the plant to die. My goal was clear. Nurturing alone was not enough in this case, I had to continuously take some specific actions to bring the plant to flourish.

In a similar manner, women at work need to flourish. To flourish personally and professionally, they need to develop an experimentative mindset and keep at it. Keeping their professional goals clear helps women plan the necessary steps to attain both achievement and fulfillment, at work and life.

Coping Strategies to Flourish

1. Being intentional about time

As women aspire for balance and harmony to lead their personal and professional lives, it becomes important for them to plan their time effectively. Being clear about what is truly meaningful and important.

Questions to reflect:

  • How much of family time is important for me?
  • How much within that family time, is spent on enriching experiences?
  • How much time should be spent on professional development?
  • How much upskilling time I need for my growth and development?
  • How much of time do I give for my health and creative diversity?
  • How much of personal “me-time” is important for me to follow my passion?

Every individual has finite time. How you plan and spend time is important, more so for women as one of the key reasons for women to leave the workforce is their failure to plan and be intentional about time.

2. Creating listening posts around you

As your energy graph oscillates from the warrior to the victim, it is important for you to have the right listening posts, people who engage in active listening to help you clarify your thoughts, sequence your focus and benefit from their perspectives.

Sometimes the act of sharing reciprocated by caring can make your world less overbearing.

Questions to reflect:

  •  Do I have a personal board of directors?
  • Am I ready to find a spiritual mentor?
  • Do I have a professional board of directors?
  • Most human beings overestimate their capabilities and contributions, have I showcased vulnerability with my listening post?

3. Being intentional about mentorship

One of the key reasons for success stated by women in senior leadership positions is the support they received from mentors. Today, it is not too difficult to find mentors within and outside the organization.

Therefore, it is no longer about “finding the mentor”. It is about the quality of the meeting and the rhythm that defines progress.

These mentorship sessions are wonderful opportunities to disentangle your thinking and gain guidance on how to stay focused amidst chaos.

If you are introverted, seek the support of other stakeholders including your manager to deliberately provide you with mentorship opportunities. Under no circumstance your introversion should be an inhibition towards the imperative need of mentoring.

Questions to reflect:

  • How am I taking deliberate action following my conversations with my mentor?
  • Have I taken time to find mentors outside my organization, where their clarity of distance can help me move outside my comfort zones?
  • Have I provided a memorable experience for my mentor, through my energy and commitment levels to?
  • Has my mentor learned anything new from me?

4. Rising above the gravitational pull of the mundane

Given the cornucopia of priorities handled by women on a day-to-day basis, it is important for women to set aside some time to step back and gain perspective. This deliberate act of slowing down has far reaching effects in helping women clarify the often faced “guilt syndromes” and de-fog the vision towards professional goals.

The number of transactional activities managed by women everyday are far higher than men, given the higher involvement of women in managing their families and its priorities. Therefore, consciously developing habits to keep the focus on the bigger picture and letting go of the transactional approach to life will help women showcase their strengths and resolve to aspire and achieve as leaders.

Questions to reflect:

  • How many people do I speak with who are outside my comfort zone?
  • How can I be intentional about my “step back” time?
  • How are my choices in life helping me to balance my leadership hormones – serotonin, oxytocin, dopamine, and endorphins?
  • How am I vocalizing support and direction with my family?
  • How can I achieve more with my clarity and conviction?
  • Do I carve out time to stop the chatter in my head and connect with my soul and its wisdom?
  • Do I feel guilty with my digital distractions and still have not found ways to support myself?

5. Developing the courage to use one’s voice

Women moving into leadership need to leverage their voice to achieve more. Be it an opportunity to speak up in the most important meetings, or asking for recognition or courageously handling workplace biases, harnessing the power of one’s voice is important for women.

Many times, talented and capable women have missed opportunities to excel at work by simply keeping quiet or being under the radar. There are fears, uncertainties and doubts that hold women back.

Therefore, consciously improving articulation along with upskilling in business and financial acumen will help women successfully navigate their path towards leadership with a powerful voice.

Questions to reflect:

  • What are my fears when it comes to speaking up?
  • What life events have triggered that?
  • How can I take actions on my FUDSIs (Fears, uncertainties, doubts, skepticism and inertia)?
  • It need not always be alone, who can help you overcome and handle your FUDSIs?
  • To keep at things, injecting external motivation helps big time. How many times have I sought feedforward conversations with my managers, leaders, mentors, and well-wishers?
  • If women are not consciously improving their business and financial acumen, it often comes as hindrance to their career growth. Have I consciously networked enough to understand my current strengths, weakness and what I need to improve for the future?

Planning the Way Forward

It has become necessary and important for women to move into leadership roles and flourish. When women flourish as leaders and nurture possibilities for their ecosystems, organizations can certainly improve or even double their business results.

For more women to thrive as leaders, the basics need to be fixed. Some of the simple suggestions outlined in this article addressed the basics that will help woman plan the career path to leadership.

Helping women cope better by being deliberate, intentional, and thoughtful in the way they address their challenges becomes a guiding factor for more women to arrive in leadership.

Every woman deserves to be the WoWomen Leader and transform the world around them positively!

We can also talk about more coping strategies and keep the list growing, but the intention here is to raise the awareness of women professionals to become intentional about their strengths, purpose, and passion, and have deliberate strategies to win more in their lives. Understanding the various levers for growth in both personal and professional lives is important.

As a woman professional, if you have not taken the time to reflect on some of the questions highlighted in this article, I would like to request you to pause and give yourself the permission to develop the practice of active reflection, thoughtful deliberation, and skillful action to achieve your goals and your potential.

Welcome – You have arrived at Leadership! Yes, you showcased tenacity and drive coupled with thoughtful reflection and action. All the very best!

Leave a Reply

Translate Insights into your Coaching and Leadership initatives Get Started >>>


In my career leading and building high-performing teams, I enjoy inspiring & coaching employees to unlock their potential for maximum performance. The team's success is my deepest delight. Global Coaching Lab provides the platform to put this into practice every day and fulfill my passion of making others great.

          How are you bridging your gap between your leadership potential and your life purpose?

          The VUCA* world today demands a different set of skills for leaders to navigate and thrive. It is our belief that a holistic, interconnected and a multi-perspective approach is necessary now, for leaders to discover and develop a broader set of skills, competencies and behaviours needed to navigate a fast-changing environment. When this new approach is aided by expert facilitation, the potential for blended learning, and opportunities for peer coaching; the possibilities for positive change in leaders are multiplied.
          *VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, Ambiguous)

          Leaders are now discovering that their knowledge and skills that enabled them to become leaders, are no longer sufficient to address the complex challenges facing them today and in the future. Leaders need more knowledge, better skills, and more effective behaviours that can transform their leadership for the 21st century.

          You will enter this workshop with your Leadership Challenge clearly defined – this will help you keep your challenge at the centre, while you leverage the various perspectives, to discover possibilities through

          • Physical Perspective
          • Managerial Perspective
          • Psychological Perspective
          • Political Perspective
          • Cultural Perspective
          • Spiritual Perspective

          To connect the dots, you will engage in a meaningful powerful activity that will help you translate your insights into commitment for action.

          Through the medium of dance and music, you will learn to discover and unleash the Archetypes within you – these are the hidden powers and emotions that exist within all of us, that we call upon at will, to achieve more.


          Amplifying your Voice, Empowering your Identity and Discovering your Purpose

          In today’s VUCA world, the successful and smart enterprises are those that leverage the power of diversity to drive innovation. The least common denominator for diversity and paradoxically its greatest common multiplier is gender diversity. There is so much untapped potential that women professionals possess - organizations that can invest into increasing and empowering their diverse talent, are the ones that are poised to secure their future.

          It is our belief that women hold tremendous potential. We believe that with the right knowledge, skills, and resources any woman can become her best. Our VIP Women engagement is an investment for every woman to attain her true potential.


          Your leadership is about securing your future by Prioritising, Synthesising, and Sequencing the present.
          Recent events have taught us that,

          • Caring for the planet yields greater results in the longer term
          • Embracing technology accelerates ability to innovate
          • Collaborating with ecosystem maximises chances to thrive
          • People and their Productivity get multiplied in an environment of sustainability and technology within the ecosystem

          Our view of the future of Leadership is STEP:

          • S – Sustainable Leadership
          • T – Technology Leadership
          • E – Ecosystem Leadership
          • P – People Leadership

          STEP is a Leadership Development approach that is holistic, interconnected, and comprehensive, so that leaders can unleash their Unlimited Potential. ‘Future Proof’ your leaders and thereby your organization.
          If you are a leader with an urge to accelerate growth within your organization, then this program is for you. Leaders who have been transformed through their experiences with us, tell us about their joys of discovery, about newer possibilities of thinking, emoting, and acting that is helping them achieve more for themselves, their teams, and their organization.