Have you ever been in a conversation with a trusted colleague or friend and held back from starting a dialogue about a sensitive topic? You trust the person but this is uncharted territory and the last thing you want to do is damage your relationship. Instead of creating an opportunity for dialogue, you choose to say nothing and feel a sense of relief in not going “there.” Initiating a dialogue on a sensitive topic requires skill, self-confidence and trust. Humility is also a valuable skill. As coach trainers, we have knowledge and skill to help our students learn how to establish trust and intimacy with clients and to build their coaching skills for greater self-confidence.
What I am wondering is if we, coach trainers, have the awareness, exposure and skills to engage in the crucial conversations about race, sexual orientation, white privilege and disabilities with our students, colleagues and friends? Can you imagine being a coach trainer and never having been coached? And, would you want to be in training with a facilitator who is unwilling, or unskilled at how to speak up when another student makes a racist comment? I know that I would not want to be in the front of that room without the skills to have a crucial conversation with the group. As Ugo Ojike shared in her presentation, Colour Brave – how to start courageous conversations about race, we want to work in “a place where people feel safe to bring their whole selves to work.”
The ACTO Conference in Victoria provided a deep dive into issues of diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging. As coach trainers, and as humans, we need to learn and espouse best practices as we strive to provide a learning environment that is accepting of all students, while initiating courageous conversations along the way. The ACTO board is actively engaged in our own courageous conversations. How can we support your school as you initiate and continue to do this work? I look forward to hearing from you. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.