Tag: diversitymatters

be S.H.U.R.: Evolving Your Coach/Leader Approach

As coaches and leaders, the one constant that remains is our need to adapt and evolve our techniques and approach to our craft. This has never been more important than today, when every company, based on customers, suppliers, and employee location, is a global company.   As generation Z pours into the workforce, balancing five generations in the workplace, whether they show up and/or “zoom-in”, our complex environment continues to challenge many leaders. Meanwhile, geo-political instability, climate change, pseudo-recession, and endemic fears add stress and uncertainty for everyone.

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The Future of Coaching: Change Agent

As the coaching community begins to embrace diversity in coaching, it will need to embrace its role as a change agent as well.  “Coaching is not seen as neutral; it either supports the status quo or creates critical awareness necessary to change it”, states Charmaine Roche and Jonathan Passmore in their recent article Racial Justice, Equity and Belonging in Coaching.

In coaching, our opportunity to change the status quo is by identifying and exploring the dimensions of difference within your client.  Whether these are dimensions of diversity or cultural differences, this discussion gives deeper and greater context to the client’s lived experiences.  In this way, the client can determine whether those differences may or may not have an impact or meaning in the context of their future life.  This is embracing diversity in coaching.

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Coaches: Develop a Lens of Diversity

“I feel as though I have been tokenized…”

“There are so many times when I am the only one like me at a meeting…”

“It is exhausting … not being able to bring my whole self to work…”

(actual client statements)

As we enter into 2022, we are amid a social revolution caused by politics, protests, and a pandemic.  The great resignation is driving career contemplation more than ever with more than 4.5 million quits in November 2021 alone, the highest recorded for one month since the US government began tracking the statistic back in 2000.

For these reasons, coaches are needed.  What we say and do, continues to shape who we are and reminds us of the impact we have on others. Coaches, and managers as coaches, need to heighten their awareness of the changing needs of their clients and embrace the growing complexity of the world around us.

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Happy “All-The-Days”?

With the holiday season upon us, it is time to give pause and reflect, what’s in a name? Answer: Everything.  

Last week, I watched a commercial for a very large box retailer gladly tout, “Happy All-The-Days!” (pronounce it like Mary Poppins’ friend Bert might, with a terrible Cockney accent).  Today in the grocery store, someone said, “Happy Day of Thanks”. Did they mean Thanksgiving?

My niece is a teacher in a local elementary school where they have removed specific holidays entirely from being discussed and celebrated. They removed Halloween and Thanksgiving in favor of “Fall Festivities”. They also removed Christmas (December 25), Chanukah (begins November 28), Diwali (November 4), and Kwanzaa (begins December 26) in favor of “Winter Holidays”.

Has there been a rash of recent holiday name changes that I am unaware of? 

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Coaching the Coach About Diversity

In today’s global environment, where technology is making the world smaller and diversity remains one of the most important topics, coaches can no longer remain ignorant of the impact these two tsunamis have on their coach approach and on their clients.  As coaches, we need to lift up our heads, so we can lift up others. 

The current climate is looking for innovative ways of approaching diversity and cultural differences within coaching. Diversity in coaching is about understanding the mindset of your client within their larger context – be it culture, religious belief, gender, race, or economic realities.  As described by the International Coaching Federation, “this includes a paramount emphasis on … the critical distinctions between various levels of coaching agreements, the criticality of a partnership between coach and client, and the importance of cultural, systemic and contextual awareness.”

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Coaching Through the Lens of Diversity

Recently, I was talking with a new coaching client.  It was a usual intake meeting where we were getting to know each other and exploring ways in which coaching may enhance their life. We were about 40 minutes into the conversation when I realized the new client had not used any traditional pronouns while speaking about themselves or others.

A moment of decision; a time when a coach needs to determine the next step or the next question.  What do you do in that moment? Wait for the next session and determine the right approach? Or, remain curious and courageous and ask a difficult and direct question in that moment?

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Embracing Diversity in YOUR Coaching

With 2020 behind us, social protests and politics remain with us as we continue to struggle living through a pandemic. What we say and do, continues to define us and our legacy as coaches and continues to shape the impact we have on others. Therein lies both the challenge and the opportunity.

Coaches must re-address their coach approach through the lens of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB) in every coaching exchange – adapting and evolving their mindset and presence to their client’s needs. Coaches need to embody the ICF competencies with a laser focus on building DEIB awareness, knowledge, and discipline to be an effective and empathetic coach.

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Diversity in Coaching

I played the oboe for years.  Beginning in primary school and through college, I practiced and practiced, joining the band, the wind ensemble, a church group and even formed a professional trio with a flute and clarinet.  Now you may wonder why I open a piece on Coaching with my musical skills?  Simple.  When I was seeking out a music coach, I searched for someone who understood me – and who understood the oboe – and the distinctive value of the double-reed instrument.  Not someone who played drums, not a tuba teacher, but a skilled musician that believed in the beauty and joy of the unusual oboe and related to the unique needs and challenges of the oboist.

It is the same with any coaching, whether it be leadership coaching, career coaching, or life coaching.  A client brings their unique perspectives – their differences – to every coaching session.  Hence, a coach must see their client, hear their client, and truly understand their client, all while respecting their own perspectives and honoring the coaching process.  This is embracing diversity in coaching.

Why is diversity important in coaching?  To be an effective and present coach, we must seek to understand the client within their context.  A client’s context that may include their identity, environment, experiences, values, culture, and beliefs. 

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