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How Coaching Helps Diversity and Inclusion

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Coaching People Who Think They are OK

Some clients may not be aware of their issues in embracing diversity. Administering or utilizing 360-degree surveys, asking clients to complete trainings on uncover unconscious bias, and facilitating role plays can help them become what is expected of them. Once such clients realize they had particular challenges, the rest becomes easy.

Coaching People Who Oppose Diversity

This could be a difficult assignment if clients are not willing or collaborative. The worst could be passive-aggressive behaviors and “yes, but” sentences. They may be forced to go through a “compulsory” coaching assignment because their organization is working on making some fundamental changes. However, without a genuine willingness from the client, we can find ourselves stuck. We can do three things:
1. Facilitate a meeting with sponsors and make organizational expectations clear
2. Create awareness for deeper personal issues and difficulties that make embracing diversity difficult
3. Be creative in helping the client find their sources of motivation to align with organizational expectations.

Sometimes this group of clients may have internal conflicts. They may have conflicting feelings and value systems. Also, they may not have the means to resolve such conflicts. As coaches, we can facilitate internal conversations and help the clients work through those conflicts. Working with clients may make us uncomfortable at the beginning, but we can stay firm by believing in their potential to grow.

All the things I mentioned in this article will become more meaningful if the promotion of diversity and inclusion in society is aligned with our personal goals and values. We can still fulfill our contractual obligations if the topic is not something we genuinely care about. However, our sponsors and clients will feel compelled to work with us if we are energized by the opportunity and take the challenges wholeheartedly. One of the Japanese corporate leaders I know used to say he liked to reflect on whom and what he was spending his life for every morning. I believe making life better for minorities would be a noble cause where spending our effort and energy will be well-justified.

This article was originally published on ICF Coaching World.

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