CAPE TOWN, SA – I am Shoni Khangala, Founder and CEO of Potential Exponents. An Accredited Training Service Provider; Coaching and Mentoring company. I am a Certified Life and Business Master Coach and a COMENSA Registered Coach. There are women/girls in my life. I have friends, clients and relatives (e.g. daughters, wife, mother, sister, nieces, etc.). Most of these relationships are solid, fun, supportive and not pretentious. That is what I love most about them. I draw a lot from these relations and vice versa. We are in the journey of life together.
I interact with women as a friend, adviser, Life Coach or whatever appropriate capacity. Such as a father, husband, friend, etc. In most of my interaction with my women folks, I usually find my gift and expertise as a Life Coach being called upon. I always do my best to assist and in most cases charging for the services is not even an option.
#AskHim Q & A with Shoni Khangala
Men are said to be weary of doing business with women these days, they’re scared of being sued for sexual harassment.
What do you really think about women who are in leadership positions or own a business? And, how do you think they should conduct themselves around you as a man?
Men who conduct themselves respectfully in the company of women in leadership positions or in business. And those who do not have a tendency of viewing woman as sex symbols/objects, are highly unlikely to fall foul to sexual harassment misdeeds and subsequent accusations.
Unfortunately when it comes to sexual harassment accusations, there is usually no smoke without fire. Men who respect themselves and women whom they interact with should feel free to do business without fear of sexual harassment claims.
I believe women in leadership positions or in business are just as competitive, confident and courageous as their male counterparts. And, should be given the space and respect they deserve.
I do not expect women to conduct themselves in any particular way around me as a man. If a woman has self-respect, is authentic and confident of herself and her vision, I will respect her more than if she were pretending to be something or someone she was not.
2. Is it true that men are intimated by powerful women and prefer “weak” damsel in destress type of females?
Unfortunately some men are intimidated by powerful women. This has largely to do with the way they were socialized. Society and the community within which a man grows plays an important role in shaping his perception and attitude towards women.
Unfortunately in most cases men are socialized in places where a woman is seen as weaker and/or ‘belonging in the kitchen’. When such men are confronted by powerful women they easily feel intimidated, as their perception of a woman gets challenged.
As a coach, I have helped women shift from weak, vulnerable and insecure. To powerful positions where they felt in control – professionally and in business.
3. Do you think that women are as “innocent” as the world portrays them? Men are bashed everyday for multiple reasons. Do you think it is fair at all?
Pushed by circumstances, like men, women can be erroneous, vindictive, vengeful or any other not-so-nice thing. Like anybody else, especially relating to matters of breaking the law, they should be placed under scrutiny. And must face the consequences of their actions.
Unfortunately there are many circumstances in which women are pushed over the edge by men (the same can be said about men being pushed over the edge by women!). They end up committing some of the most gruesome acts. Women are not always as innocent as the world portrays them. However, in an unequal male-dominated society, it becomes necessary to carefully examine the context and situations where women’s actions are horrific.
My default position as a coach is to refrain from judging, but rather to try and understand why people do the things they do.
4. How do you as man want to be treated by women you work with AND in a romantic relationship?
Whether it is in the workplace or in a romantic relationship we are in it together. We are a team and each one has a valuable role to fulfill. I prefer to be treated with respect, as an equal and as a valuable member in the relationship.
5. How should women respond to men who ask for sexual favors? But still fear being treated badly by the boss, lose their job or not get a business deal?
If ever confronted with a situation where sexual favor is being asked in order to secure a job or a business deal; never hesitate to seize the opportunity to expose this evil tendency. That’s how to contribute to its ending. By taking this courageous step to expose it, you will not only be saving yourself and fellow women folks; but also your daughters, granddaughters and generations of women to come. The long term gains will always be more worth than any current short-term fears.
6. What is it that most men are willing to buy expensive gifts, vacations and alcohol for a woman but won’t invest in her business idea?
It is all about power and control. A business idea might lead a woman to success and freedom from dependency and control by a man. For an ego-and-control-driven man who wants the woman to be always dependent and subservient, it makes sense to rather continue showering her with material things. Rather than investing on a business idea which could push her out of the control button.
I am always inspired when someone shares their business dream or idea. In some cases even where I have not been supportive financially; I usually offer Coaching and Mentoring support to help women in my life realize the business dreams.
7. Why is it that men find it so hard to communicate, show and share their fears with their romantic partners?
Men tend to like to be perceived as being strong and in control – and not as being weak and vulnerable. They tend to want to be seen as strong and dependable. It is for these reasons that men generally find it difficult to communicate and share their fears with their romantic partners.
I share as much as possible about my fears. However, I always take care to ensure that in the long term the sharing does not result in my partner living in fear or carrying the negative burdens. I strive to ensure that sharing my fears empowers both of us in the end.
8. Do you find it easy or hard to talk about debt with your romantic partner at all?
I believe that being open and honest about my financial challenges is the best way to go. Talking openly about my debt is one of the strategies of avoiding the relationship to fail due to the financial problems. I believe that by sharing about my debts and financial pains with my partner, one day when the good times arrive. We will both be able to appreciate where we have been together.
9. How do men handle their finance/money different to women?
I am afraid of making generalizations about how men handling finances differently to women. I do however believe that there are certain financial principles which hold true for both men and women; which are non-negotiable. These principles could make or break anyone irrespective of their gender; e.g. do not live beyond your means; a budget and adhere to it; save for a rainy day; invest for the future.
10. Do you feel disempowered by women or do you feel men still hold ALL the power?
I do not feel disempowered by women. Women should be recognized and respected for the crucial roles they play in society, in leadership and in business. I do not feel men still hold ALL the power. Men should share and not abuse power – within the family, workplace or in business.