I was speaking to my colleague Lina-Maria Kotschedoff about coaching and initiatives to further diversity and inclusion. During our conversation we found that a coaching mindset and coaching skills already go a long way: coaches are natural supporters of diversity and inclusion! Here is why and when:
Coaches see their clients as resourceful and whole. They are striving to partner with clients “in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential” (ICF Definition of Coaching). Simply by doing our jobs, we are supporting diversity and inclusion. We focus on what is possible, what our clients are able to do, what they aspire to in life, irrespective of who our clients are. The only thing coaches need to do to be advocates is to make sure to provide access to their services to diverse groups. For example, I offer one free coaching slot for a woman entrepreneur at any given time.
In a very short definition of a leader’s job you might say that a leader creates the conditions which help everyone come to work every morning willing and able to do their best. So by coaching leaders to help their teams to be at their best, coaches are already furthering diversity and inclusion. If leaders can be supported to focus on (and thereby perceive and make use of) the diverse potential of their teams, they will naturally become more appreciative of what everyone has to offer.
Having a diverse team with different perspectives can be a pain in the you-know-what. It is not easy for leaders and team to generate value out of different ways of thinking and different ways of approaching an issue. Yet, in our complex world and ever faster changing environment, the more perspectives we can harness, the better the outcome IF (and this is a big if) the diversity of viewpoints does not result in conflict and breakdown of communication. This is where coaches and team coaches come in. With our unique skillset, we can support teams to suspend judgement and to create a productive work atmosphere even if people do not agree. We can help teams to be “curious not furious” and to generate value out of diversity.
As you see: coaching and coaches are natural “diversity and inclusion” enablers! If you want to learn how to do that, have a look at our programs on team and individual coaching here: