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.