The visceral “fight or flight” feelings evoked by seeing street protests,
remind me also of the feelings I experienced, when I first started coaching.
That sense,
that I am being judged because I am seen as an “Other”, a woman coach,
a brown woman coach,
an inexperienced coach.

My being is intact,
I meet those eyes looking at me,
I don’t question whether I am good enough, I don’t have to prove myself over and over.
I meet those eyes with my competence intact, my coaching framework ready,
my integrity unwavering.

The visceral “fight or flight” feelings evoked by seeing street protests,
remind me also of the feelings I experience, when I am told
by buyers of coaching services,
“We are looking for coaches of colour”
And then I wait….and wait,…and nobody responds.

Focusing merely on the numbers of coaches of colour in a database is like trying to understand literature by studying the ink.

I understand
that you want to
broaden your database of coaches, to be diverse
and inclusive.

But
I am not just a number.
I am trying to evoke awareness.
Client-coach compatibility is important.

But so is understanding
your user’s context, which may include their identity, environment, experiences, values and beliefs.

The difficult task is to be curious and
have courageous conversations with your users.

Ask your users
to try a coaching session
with a coach who is different to them; a coach who is female, or
a coach who is male, or
a coach from a different race group;

When we don’t notice the change that is needed,
it is easy to be ignored,
not seen
or heard
or taken seriously as a coach.

I invite you
to have courageous conversations about issues of diversity and inclusion.
It may make us feel uncomfortable , but that’s why it takes curiosity to have a courageous conversation.