Wonderful strides have been taken toward fairness in the workplace. However, even today, many individuals find themselves unjustly blocked from progressing in their careers. They may be the perfect candidates for promotion, with appropriate qualifications, experience in addition to “can-do” attitudes – however time and again they see less capable co-workers overtake them or are ignored for senior positions.
The ‘glass ceiling’ is a metaphor for the evident but intangible hierarchical impediment that prevents people from achieving high professional status and success. The term was first popularised in the 80s in order to describe the challenges women face when their careers languish at middle-management roles, which prevents them from achieving higher leadership or executive roles.
Why do glass ceilings occur?
Glass ceilings are frequently the result of unconscious prejudice – instinctive, fundamental beliefs regarding ethnicity, gender, age, sexuality, social class as well as religion. This may be mostly unintentional.
But, in some cases, glass ceilings have become a universal problem – an integral part of the business culture, but one that many organisations turn a blind eye to . In other places, glass ceilings are deliberate, showing up as blatant discrimination or bullying, as a form of “power play.”
In these cases, people “at the top” may refuse to accept that a glass ceiling exists, just because they haven’t been experiencing it themselves. Or they are afraid that admitting to it would threaten their positions. Whichever way, they’ll likely want to maintain the status quo.
The role of the life coach in breaking the glass ceiling
We chatted to a number of life coaches who have done our Life Coaching Certification and we asked them how life coaches can be of assistance to clients in breaking the glass ceiling. Here’s what they said.
Build your confidence
Continue to build your confidence so that you can back yourself in any circumstances. It is not possible for us to control what others do however we can control our own personal growth as well as actions. There is still evidence of many external barriers such as the gender pay gap – as well as under-representation – in many middle to senior leadership roles across numerous industry areas and organisations.
Don’t hold yourself back
The one thing is necessary for us to do is to stop doing is holding ourselves back or allowing our internal barriers – such as fear and self-doubt – prevent us from achieving our true potential. Doubt kills an even greater proportion of our dreams than failure ever will. Thus, one way to eliminate the self-doubt is to construct confidence.
Get some advice
Talk to your manager regarding how you can build your skills in order to be taken into consideration for a promotion or a future opportunity. Ask what they would require from you to move to the next level. Ask for opportunities to show this or develop the experience required. Then reach an agreement about a plan of action to assist you to work towards it.
Give back through supporting, in addition to empowering, the others around you – be they women, university graduates or people who haven’t had a lot of experience in the industry. People empowering people is a truly beautiful thing as we are stronger together.
Does learning about pearls of wisdom, such as we’ve discussed in the article above, sound interesting to you? If it does, then you should really do our Life Coaching Certification. For more information, please follow this link.