Exploring female professionals’ perception of development opportunities to managerial roles in Mexico undergoing strengths-based coaching

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Arévalo López, Patricia Montserrat
Issue Date
MBA in Human Resource Management
Dublin Business School
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The present research aims to aid understanding the role portrayed by female professionals in the workplace, together with the contribution that a different combination of strengths and skills have in their socio-professional development and how this is perceived from the strengthsleadership perspective. Being able to identify how the specific focus of this coaching style – taking strengths into consideration rather than opportunities – influences in the women's’ experience in order to understand their leadership influence. Literature was reviewed in order to support the objectives of the investigation, which were related (within the context of a food industry in Mexico) to: comprehension of development opportunities available to female professionals undergoing SBL coaching model and their perception, the differerentiation of career path development for these females vs. those who didn´t receive the coaching, and the experience of the managerial staff of this industry. A qualitative investigation, executed through 8 semi-structured interviews with 8 openended questions was executed by the researcher. Data was collected by recording of audio in the mother-tongue of the interviewees by Zoom, and furtherly transcribed and translated by the researcher. For the analysis of the information, the thematic analysis process proposed by Braun and Clarke (2006) was executed manually through the support of an Excel database of analysis created by the researcher. It identified a total of 3 themes, related to the objectives, and 11 subthemes. The findings & data analysis section of the investigation was divided by themes and each one of them provides visibility of the key findings by each group of the research: female managers that underwent SBL coaching, females non-managers that underwent SBL, female managers tthat didn´t undergo SBL, context managers (coaches). The researcher created as well subgroups in order to enrich the analysis process and simplify the discussion: a subgroup of all the female managers, a subgroup of all the SBL participants, and a subgroup of all the SBL coached females. The discussions and conclusions define that developmental opportunities are present and available for these females. However, they feel limited in the options that are available for their gender. Although there is clear evidence that SBL coaching provides a platform to practice and acquire the capabilities that a highly qualified Line Manager has, there is something stopping their development. The conversation then flows towards design of career paths: sociocultural challenges play a key role in female representation in managerial positions within the Mexican context – and the way the top management female leaders are perceived by the lower level (constricted by social perceptions and stereotypes that have an impact in the self-confidence of women). This becomes then a blocker and their developmental paths go through parallel roads (labyrinth), not acquiring the experience of key roles to achieve high management positions. Finally, it is important to highlight that managerial teams where this SBL coached women have been developing rely in communication, relationship building, and authenticity to focus development conversations in a capability and strengths stream, rather than basing it on gender perceptions in the Mexican context.