Do you need a female business coach for female entrepreneurs?

Who is the best business coach for female entrepreneurs? 

Obviously, me – Julia Chanteray. Well, I would say that, wouldn’t I?  

Well, let me qualify that a little. Even though I’ve been coaching entrepreneurs for 20+ years now, working with hundreds of coaching clients and even though I’m obsessively geeky about what it takes to grow a small business…I might be the best business coach for some female entrepreneurs. Not all of them, though, for sure.  

But that’s enough talking and thinking about me. Let’s look at who you should be looking for as your best business coach. Whether you’re a female entrepreneur, a male founder or a genderfluid business owner wanting to grow your company, here are some thoughts based on my experience as a female business coach working with so many entrepreneurial people over the last couple of decades.  

Do female entrepreneurs need a female business coach? 

Everyone needs the business coach who is going to make the most difference to their business, regardless of gender. And we all need different business coaches at different stages of our lives and businesses.  

When you’re working with a business coach, you’re investing time and money to help you move your business forward faster than you can do it on your own. If you’re a female entrepreneur, you might be drawn to working with a female business coach like me because you feel that she’d have a better understanding of the challenges we face in business. And that’s probably true. But you also want to ensure that your business coach is more than just an “expensive friend”. You need someone with enough experience to advise you and enough empathy to support you.  

female business coach for female entrepreneur

Do female and male entrepreneurs need different sorts of coaching? 

Over the last 20+ years of being a small business coach, around 60% of clients have been male. Another 10% have been male and female business partners, sometimes husband and wife, sometimes not.  

Within all of those founders, I can honestly say that I can’t see much difference between my coaching approach for women and how I’ve needed to work with male clients.  

If anyone were to suggest that female clients needed more emotional support and hand-holding or that men were all about a data-driven approach, I’d laugh out loud – there’s no way you can make that generalisation. I’ve had just as many men in tears on a coaching call as women (business is tricky sometimes), and I’ve worked with many women who will use Excel as their tool of choice.  

There is far more difference between people from the UK (where I’m based) and founders from other countries, especially from the US, where there’s a distinctly different business culture. But that’s a different article altogether.  

What do you need to be potentially empathetic to as a coach for women entrepreneurs? 

Female founders face different challenges than male business owners. When a female client is very ambitious and wants to grow her company fast, sometimes the business coach needs to help surface and deal with those “upper limit problems”. These are the self-limiting beliefs that come from women often being told we should limit our ambitions. The upper limit problem can kick in when you get to a certain level of success, and you can find yourself unconsciously sabotaging the good things in your life.  

 It can be more difficult for women to borrow money to fuel business growth because banks can be more reluctant to lend to women and because women are less likely to borrow money to invest in a business than men. Women tend to prefer a bootstrapping approach, using the business’s self-generated capital to invest, rather than looking for external funding.  

And to be honest, it is helpful to draw on the practical experience of also being a business woman, juggling being a parent and being the main breadwinner while female. Plus, there is the experience of sometimes feeling invisible in a room full of men. But I’m sure that good male business coaches can be just as empathetic to all of this. And they can feel 100% comfortable talking on Zoom while your client is breastfeeding. I love seeing that cute baby hand coming up, looking like they’re waving at you.  

A female business coach working with female entrepreneurs will be used to a client breastfeeding on a Zoom call

What should female business owners look for in a business coach? 

I’ve worked with several different business coaches over the years, both male and female. This is what I look for; 

  • Do they understand what I’m trying to achieve? 
  • Are they happy to gently challenge me and to seek out my blind spots? 
  • Can they use models and stories to help me to see the business differently?  
  • Are they completely embedded in the world of small business, so they can give me tips and tricks to go faster? 
  • Are they 100% on my side? 

The last one is probably the most important – are they 100% on my side? And I’d add, are they people I want to spend several hours each month with?  

I’ve created a downloadable guide to finding the best business coach for you, with some questions to ask any potential business coach. Here’s how to get your copy.

Guide to choosing the right business coach

Here's a guide to choosing the right business coach/mentor or advisor for you. You can download it here, and i'll send you a few emails to follow up with some advice for growing your business.
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The Joy of Business
Guide to choosing the right business coach
Julia Chanteray

What kind of female business owners need a business coach? 

Running a business is one of the most creative, expressive, and sublime things you can do. It’s also tough, lonely and difficult. You end up second-guessing, doubting yourself and making mistakes that you could have avoided if you’d had someone more experienced on your side. And female business owners need this support just as much as anyone because the experience of running a business can be more challenging for us sometimes.  

I believe no one should go on this journey alone. Whether you want to invest in an experienced business coach like myself, to be part of a mastermind or group programme or to find yourself an accountability partner to help you move forward, you need someone from the world of business who can be a trusted advisor and help you move things forward faster. 

Everyone needs a business coach, not just female entrepreneurs.  

Can you get coaching for women business owners online? 

business coach

Yes, of course. Pre-Covid, some people felt that business coaching had to happen in person, but I’ve been doing online coaching since the days of Skype, and I find it much more effective and productive, especially as we can share screens. Last month, a client showed me around their workshop by holding their laptop up and taking me on a little tour. We had a fascinating discussion about the effect of packaging materials on gross profit margin along the way, and I learnt a lot. 

Nowadays, even clients a mile away from my office in Brighton prefer online business coaching as they don’t have to drive, park or wait for me to make them a coffee. They could come and see me in person, but everyone prefers coaching over Zoom.  

I’m very happy to be an online business coach.