A host of representatives from professional coaching and coaching psychology bodies have agreed to explore the possibility of collaboration to produce a charter for race equity in coaching.
The possibility emerged at the fourth meeting of a roundtable hosted by Coaching at Work, now known as the Towards Race Equity in Coaching Roundtable, attended by representatives from the following bodies, Association of Coaching Supervisors (AoCS), Association for Professional Executive Coaching and Supervision (APECS), British Psychological Society Division of Coaching Psychology (BPS DoCP), Coaches and Mentors of South Africa (COMENSA), European Mentoring & Coaching Council (EMCC) UK, International Society for Coaching Psychology (ISCP), and the Psychological Society of Ireland Coaching Psychology Special Interest Group (PSI CP SIG)
UK International Coaching Foundation and the Association for Coaching UK have attended previous meetings, and the intention is to invite other bodies, too. At the first meeting, all the bodies represented signalled their intent to “stand against racism.”
In addition to possible collaborations, the aim of the roundtable, formerly the Anti-Racism in Coaching roundtable, is to share what each of the bodies is doing around diversity, inclusion, equity and belonging, focusing on race for now. The BPS DoCP’s Jonathan Passmore noted the value of “coming together, sowing seeds, and learning from one another”.
APECS’ James emphasised the importance of adopting a systemic lens (when exploring race), looking at what’s going on in the wider system: “That idea of homeostasis, of every organism wanting to keep the system the same, and collusion against real change. White supremacy is in the water, in the operating system. And it’s a huge task to detoxify ourselves from that.”
One theme was how to increase psychological safety so white people, who have traditionally held more power, can engage more easily with these conversations. “If in the system there are lots of people holding acute anxiety and stress, and these are marginalised people, maybe it’s about equalising or reversing?” asked James.
At the second meeting, participants explored steps individuals and organisations might take to boost the numbers of equally or more qualified BIPOC colleagues. At the latest meeting, the AoCS’s Felicia Lauw shared that the AoCS is issuing an invitation in its newsletter to include lesser-represented and lesser-known coaches and coaching supervisors as part of its diversity and inclusion efforts. Also raised was the lack of data held on the backgrounds of coaches and coaching supervisors in many professional bodies. Roundtable participants agreed to take a request to gather ethnicity data back to their bodies.
- Felicia Lauw, AoCS, global diversity & inclusion voice
- Will James, APECS chair of Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Working Group
- Jonathan Passmore, BPS DoCP
- Colleen Qvist, COMENSA national vice president
- Hande Yasargil, EMCC UK diversity and inclusion director
- Liz Hall, editor, Coaching at Work
- Angela Puri, ISCP equality, diversity & inclusion lead
- Camellia Cheikhah, representing Síle Walsh (PSI CP SIG)