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LinkedIn Post #14 - August 29 2023 - Anti-racist coaching

❓ What needs to change for the world of #coaching to take an anti-racist approach?

👀 I just came across a really eye-opening research paper which explored this question. (linked in comments)

As a coach who is also a white settler, ensuring my coaching practice is informed by an understanding of racial identity and how racialized clients are impacted by racism and oppressive systems is a priority.

📖 In a literature review, the researchers discovered that "The coaching literature largely ignores the power dynamics inherent in racialisation and how this shows up in life and organisational contexts for either coaches or coachees. In this way indirectly, reinforcing and reproducing the structures of systemic racism that exist rather than attempting to at least illuminate or challenge them."

And they also discovered "There is evidence that BIPOC coaches can find coach training alienating..."

🚫 Quoting a Black, African-American woman, coach: "it [the training programme] wasn’t exactly in line for me culturally … if we followed the exact formula that we were taught, and the exact ICF markers of coaching, staying neutral being one of them, that our clients, especially African American clients, and clients of other African descent, would not be fully served."

In response to being presented with the research question, a representative from a coaching professional association stated: "one can easily say, coaching is anti-racist anyway. So, you know, why did you come up with this question? What evidence do you have to suggest that there is any impact or any trace of [sic] anti-racism or racism in coaching?"


The coaching profession, specifically white coaches, have work to do.

As the researchers outline in their calls to action, we must, among other actions:

▫ Recognize the reality of systemic racism and its impact

▫ Recognize the need to develop systemic understanding of racism: Coaches, mentors and supervisors commit to developing and deepening their understanding of anti-racism and the system and structures that oppress, and specifically become more aware of how ideology and historical practices affect personal, interpersonal, social, organizational, economic, and political dynamics.

▫ Recognize the way in which systemic racism is internalized via socialization: Coaches, mentors and supervisors will develop their understanding and sensitivity to how power differentials in society and organizations show up in the self-concept and identity of their clients

👣 What steps are you taking as a coach to recognize the impact of racism on your clients?

Do you feel like coaching is "neutral" and inherently anti-racist?


👋 I'm Gill, a certified coach who works with changemakers and (un)professionals✊

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