Desiree Adaway & Molly Gordon: Beyond Good Intentions: Bursting the Bubble of Bias in Coach Training

If coaching is to live up to its potential as both an expression and engine of individual and collective evolution, we must proactively identify and dismantle biases and inequities in ourselves, our programs, and our profession. This adaptive challenge can “only be addressed through changes in people’s priorities, beliefs, habits, and loyalties. Making progress requires going beyond any authoritative expertise to mobilize discovery, shedding certain entrenched ways, tolerating losses, and generating the new capacity to thrive anew.”*

This dialogue between Molly (a coach firmly situated inside the tradition of the ICF Core Coaching Competencies and standards) and Desiree (a trainer and facilitator with over 20 years’ experience creating, leading and managing international multicultural teams through major organizational changes in over 40 countries) is an attempt to “mobilize discovery,” to begin to reveal what we don’t know we don’t know about bias in coach training/coach education, for the sake of developing more diverse, equitable, and inclusive programs. Our intention is to establish a space of genuine mutual respect and care, a place safe enough for all present to do risky work. This will be a dynamic, living, real-time conversation. We intend to model the interpersonal risks we must take in order to have meaningful conversations about diversity, equity, and inclusion and how to receive critiques from outside a privileged bubble.

Participants will receive a resource guide to support them in taking this conversation into their own organizations.

Molly Gordon is known to many as a “coach’s coach.” A visionary, she regards coaching as both an expression and means of individual and collective evolution. A pragmatist, she is committed to grounding that vision in the cultivation of coaches who embody both artistry and skill for the sake of catalyzing in their clients the insight and abilities they need to lead, adapt, and innovate. Molly is an instructor and mentor coach for the University of Miami (Coral Gables) Professional Coaching Certificate Program, 7 Paths Forward, ClientWise, and Coach Masters Academy. She was a founding member and first president of ICF Washington State and is the recipient of the 2015 ACES Award (Advancement of Coaching Excellence and Service).


Desiree Adaway is a consultant, trainer, teacher, and speaker building resilient, equitable, and inclusive organizations. She has over 20 years’ experience creating, leading and managing international multicultural teams through major organizational changes in over 40 countries. She has crafted and administered partnerships that have secured over $10.5 million in funding from a variety of private and corporate resources. As Senior Director of Mobilization for Habitat for Humanity, she was responsible for planning the strategy and training for hundreds of membership organizations totaling more than 50,000 members. From this experience, she knows that if you want to create real and lasting change in the world you can’t expect to get something better if you’re doing the things you’ve always done.