How can you use your coaching to bring about social change? Maybe you’ve never thought about coaching in that role before, but it certainly can bring awareness to issues that need attention. Today’s show is a powerful interview with lots of practical information and advice on the specific role that coaching can play in addressing gender parity in tech fields.

My guest is Kelley Russell-DuVarney, a Certified Positive Psychology Coach and  ACC-credentialed member of the International Coach Federation. She holds an MA in Sociology with a focus on technology, globalization, and gender. Her training and education background allow her to notice the self-imposed and societal barriers that get in the way of desired success for her clients. Her passions are developmental and goal-oriented coaching as she coaches managers, executives, business owners, and women in technology. Kelley shares how she partnered with another coach to bring services to women in tech forward, things to consider in developing a similar program, and what you can learn and apply in order to use your coaching to impact societal change.


Women leave tech because of lack of role models and mentors and a feeling of isolation.

Show Highlights:

  • How Kelley and I met on a plane returning to Texas after both being at the same conference

  • How Kelley pursued coaching after graduate school in her 40’s after a stint as a stay-at-home mom

  • Why Positive Psychology became a good fit for Kelley

  • Kelley’s passion for coaching women in tech, which had trended down since 1985

  • How Kelley partnered with another coach to do research and collect data on women’s experiences in tech

  • Why they settled on virtual group coaching to maximize their impact and reach

  • What women say about leaving the tech field: lack of role models, lack of mentors, and a feeling of isolation

  • The flexibility in the group coaching program for women’s schedules

  • How this program can move forward and have an impact at the organizational level

  • Kelley’s advice on starting a similar coaching program: start with a survey, spend time with the research, and use the evidence to move to a pilot program

  • Determining the basics of a coaching partnership and how they worked through the process

  • Why a coaching partnership can be energizing in innovation, creativity, and collaboration

  • Why a coaching partnership requires a real willingness to be vulnerable

  • How Kelley’s sociology background impacts her coaching work

  • The facts: women in STEM fields stay for an average of 12 years and 50% exit around year 12; of those, 50% step into other sectors other than tech fields


Vantage Coaching

Twitter: #WomenTechCoach