On Inclusion & Diversity

 

READ TIME: 2m 15s


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I recently had the opportunity to attend a talk hosted by The Wells Tobias Group, “Lifting The Bonnet: Diversity And Inclusion Experiences at Facebook”. An interesting and thought provoking talk raising a lot of important questions as well as offering a lot of useful insights and answers.

Also this week (nudged by International Coaching Week) I’ve been looking again at some of the books that have influenced my coaching. Challenging Coaching by John Blakey and Ian Day is one of them. 

As I listened to the talk, wanting to expand my understanding of the work being done, and still to be done around Inclusion and Diversity in the workplace, I was thinking about this book and about being a coach and thinking partner that “speaks their truth” in service of both support and challenge for my clients. 

“CERTAIN CHARACTERISTICS, BELIEFS AND BEHAVIOURS ENABLE A CHALLENGING COACH TO SPREAD THEIR TRUTH AND FACE THE FACTS. THESE INCLUDE…

STEPPING IN ON BEHALF OF ABSENT STAKEHOLDERS AND THE COMMON GOOD AND TAKING THE RISK OF UPSETTING THE STATUS QUO.”

-BLAKEY & DAY

I believe that as a coach I have a role to play (if contracted for and that is of course key) in supporting and challenging leaders to uncover unconscious bias, and of course that work entails continuing to work at uncovering my own. Supporting and challenging them too, to have important and challenging conversations with colleagues and themselves and to truly test the implications of their actions (or lack of action) against a range of questions and taking account of the whole system we all live and work in. This has really got me thinking this week, and looking forward to thinking it through more in supervision and in conversation with coaching colleagues.

While I’m on the subject, another reason for attending the talk was as a passionate governor of Oakley School. I am keen to work with business leaders in our town to ensure that we really are creating appropriate opportunities for young adults with special needs, graduating from our school and college with skills to be utilised, a contribution to make and a wish to do so. Again, the talk was incredibly useful. I’m also aware that thinking about offering work placements to young people with special needs might involve asking questions people are worried about asking in case they say the ‘wrong’ thing – I know I worried about that when I joined. As coaches we create safe and confidential spaces every day for important work to happen – so it strikes me there is something I can usefully do here, and the conversations I’m already having makes me hopeful that we can build on the strong links and successful work placements that have already been achieved. There is always more we can do!

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Because, as Verna Myers says, and as the brilliant Stopgap Inclusive Dance Company demonstrated at TEDxRoyalTunbridgeWells in January, “Diversity is being invited to the party, inclusion is being asked to dance.” 

So here’s some Friday joy, diversity and inclusivity for you…enjoy!


All the photos in this post were taken by Peter Robertshaw. Thank you Peter!