Leading in Challenging Times

We all know we live in challenging times with more competition everywhere. It is commonplace to give way to various pressures in such a situation. It is critically important to stay focused, ambitious, and confident.

While the global pandemic has impacted the lives of everyone, women in leadership roles also have faced the most acute challenge. They are expected to strike a balance between driving results at work, taking care of essential family matters, and much more.

Female business owners, women in positions of CFO and CEO, or those who have taken over entrepreneurial jobs are faced with a different set of obstacles when compared to their male counterparts. Their challenges are expansive and omnipresent in all facets of their personal and professional lives.

Challenges Faced by Women Leaders Preconceived Notions while raising capital 

Prominent statistical figures confirm that most venture capitalists and investors tend to invest in people they resonate with, and most often, it’s men or people belonging to their community. They are perceived to be more prudent and sensible than their female counterparts; thus, it’s much more difficult for female-run businesses to pitch in funds. The funding scenario is especially dismal in India. In 2019, for example, only 6.5% of the funding raised among the top 150 funded start-ups in India went to women-founded/co-founded start-ups!

Expectation to be a cut above

Most females who run businesses or are in high-ranking entrepreneurial positions can relate to the lack of representation in the community. Not only that, but they’re constantly under pressure to outperform men to be “taken seriously” and considered equally competent.

Work-family balance: An Equilibrium State in life

In a society like India, people expect women to do daily chores for the family, which can be a significant obstacle when they venture out and make a name for themselves. Also, women are under obligation to bear, and society shuns those who don’t abide by; hence even in the top ranks of big ventures, they can be prodded down when it comes to making firm and critical decisions.

It becomes a challenging path for new moms since most companies might not want them to take maternity leaves and they might feel dissociated after returning to work due to workforce change or other matters. Hence many women think there is a motherhood penalty against a fair job, promotion, and pay!


It’s pretty standard for women leaders in corporate work to get impacted by favoritism and gender discrimination. Women leaders experience biases not only from their male colleagues but also from their female colleagues. These biases result in women leaders getting lesser exposure to critical and high-profile projects, onshore opportunities, and leading strategic projects.

Mockery of Diversity and Gender Equality Policies 

Many global organizations have policies to hire a certain minimum percentage of women leaders to address the widespread disparity between men and women leaders. Despite this, a lot of leaders make a mockery of this and openly express their dissatisfaction.

Negligible Presence in the boardroom 

 In most organizations, even today, you will find women leaders as a minority in the boardroom.

It does not mean there are no capable women leaders in the organization.

It reflects our prejudice and short-sightedness. 

What is the Solution? 

Every complexity has a simple solution too. Identifying the correct goals, having good relationships, and achieving the desired results can help a leader tide through challenging times. For all this, high-potential women leaders need a leadership coaching program structured to mentor the skills and ease the path to help rise to the top. 

Executive coaching helps hone the leadership skills to help women leaders become more successful and fulfilled despite challenges.

Apart from this, some of the most significant aspects of successful leadership growth are Executive Presence – A powerful executive presence is the ability of the leader to inspire her team, instill trust, build stakeholder relationships, communicate with impact, and take challenging discussions with ease and grace. We can say that executive Presence is what people are talking about you when you are not in the room. 

With a hybrid work culture, leaders must exhibit a powerful executive presence to drive performance and build their teams.

The need of the hour is Enhanced self-awareness:  The most essential and distinctive trait of being a great leader is to know more about self before knowing others. 

Once the leader is aware of her strengths, requirements, goals, routine, and emotions, their impact on her actions, and how they impact the actions of others, it becomes easier to manage stress. 

It also leads to better decision-making. 

Focused one-to-one Leadership coaching or executive coaching supports women leaders in improving overall leadership skills and executive Presence and their ability to lead with confidence and composure in these challenging times.

Confidential discussion with the coach can be the best way to overcome any challenging situation.

EP3C framework for Leadership coaching (Developed by Coach Kshitij), is a time-tested model for women’s leadership development as it supports the holistic development of women leaders to take up higher roles.