Diverse Coaching – Naked Leader Style

IN a world in which human capital is more than ever the most important raw material, there is now compelling evidence that businesses or countries that fish in only half the talent pool are handicapping themselves badly,” – Cherie Blair in the London Evening Standard of 07/03/12.

Coaching for a diverse workforce – Rosalind Taylor, CEO Naked Leader

Cherie Blair’s observation concerning women in the boardroom applies equally to the ever increasing and inclusive pool with a greater variety of diversity available than ever before. Employing from such a pool is covered to some extent by employment and discrimination laws in many countries, the real issue though, is to find, recruit and exploit the wealth of skills and talent available to us, as employers, that enables us to take our organisations forward in a creative and dynamic environment – viewing the diverse workforce as the strength it ought to be.

When I set the topic for this year’s Coaching Conference, I saw many, in fact, as many or more articles as ever, concerning the lack of women board members, features on the amazing achievements of disabled paralympians and a continued polarisation in some quarters to stay within the familiarity of our origins and its culture.

We must surely be aware that, society today is inclusive of all races, abilities, sexes, sexual orientation, ages, educational backgrounds and religious beliefs, and, ultimately, all our organisations serve that community and would be better placed to do so if the organisations workforce reflected the rich mix that our customer/client base encompasses.

I would argue that Corporate Social Responsibility includes this conscious awakening if we, as a society, are to evolve into the inclusive, trusting civilisation we would all wish for in future generations.

The coaching Community is in the best position to help us all develop and put ourselves forward as individuals, whatever our circumstances – this is a strong fit with our Naked Leader ethos ‘you can achieve your desired success, no matter what your background’ and it is entirely appropriate that the coaching profession takes a good look at how it can really make an impact on this in the workplace, where others are failing.

While preparing the agenda our speakers were already dividing into such strong viewpoints such as all coachees are viewed and coached as individuals so there is no need for special considerations and – there are so few women or disabled board members – that surely targeted coaching for those identified with potential, combined with an understanding of the obstacles faced by them would address this in a more timely, appropriate and valuable way than the heavy hand of legislation. So there are plenty of questions with even more answers to be addressed.

It is not only the members of such diverse groups that would benefit from specific coaching, there is also the case that existing top teams and senior managers, need to be coached on how to bring out the talents and skills of the diverse team they lead. They need to understand why, culturally, some people may behave differently and to be able to discern when this is unrelated to ability or attitude, and then how to resolve this incongruence in a tactful and productive manner.

A typical and real example follows: a disabled individual whose role became redundant and was offered retraining at review several times, (which he refused) was indeed made redundant. The individual felt picked upon because he was disabled and chose to go to tribunal, which he lost. It’s possible that coaching put in place a long way back could have addressed this.

Either coaching for the manager to be able to see the problem from the employee’s view and possibly pick a different path through with the person, or by assigning a coach to the employee. My view is the coach would need to have been one who specialised in people with disabilities to be able to build the right trust and rapport. The eventual outcome may have been avoided (preferable for all the parties involved).

So, if you are a coach, deploy coaches or employ from this wonderful world, I believe there are many benefits to addressing diversity and to gaining a greater insight into the different perspectives.

Naked Leader Coaching Conference 2013 – Coaching for a diverse workforce

3 October 2013, Victory Services Club London

£149 for 1, £250 when booking 2 delegates together. Prices exc VAT.

Book before 31 July to enter draw for a free coaching session with David Taylor, Founder Naked Leader.



11 Comments

  • Graham Stagg

    Just watching the golf and it is being played at a men’s only club.
    Women in the boardroom? There simply not enough of them.
    Power to Karren Brady and the like.

  • Claire Silvester

    Being a woman in the board room, I can only endorse the above, with gusto. During my career I have come across a few, well meaning superiors, Good Leaders, who just don’t understand the impact of what they are saying, to under represented and sectors of the population they poorly understand. I have been asked on many times family or career .( Long Pause )…Claire ? Over the last 20 years and my mind is screaming BOTH… yet my lips would go dry and I use to fumble some diversion tactic. Mostly i was being asked to consider a career move or a development opportunity, and assure family plans were on hold, should I accept, clearly demonstrating the impulse control to refer to my gender, along with my capabilities, is just too much for some. Having now trained in Coaching Skills I wish I had reframed and reflected the bigotry, straight back, maybe they would have not inflicted this outdated view on others and I may have stayed at their organisations a little longer and taken the promotion or embarked on the programme on offer. Such a loss ! We need to use coaching to prepare those under represented to succeed despite the obstacle and also to erode the prejudices they come across, using insightful questions to outdated attitudes, not a resignation letter as I did more than once !

  • Ethan Ross

    Career women CAN have a family life too.
    It’s a case of juggling the two.
    One can get in the way of the other only if time management has not been thought through.

  • Thomas Frith

    Love the fact there are women in board rooms.
    They should be welcomed, applauded, and if they need to be let home to do some household chores then that should be recognised too.
    Working mums should be given extra dispensation and allowed to try to juggle their lives to encourage others.

  • Francis Greve

    Agreed. Be diversive. For better results.

  • Daniel Terat

    That term conscious awakening resonates with me.
    A lot of people I work with seem to be unconscious most of the time in their dull thinking.
    Consciousness awakening is what many people can learn to do. They need to live a little and wake up!

  • Peter Frith

    Boardrooms should not rely just on men.
    It is just wrong.
    Women have a raw deal and should be allowed to be more prominent.

  • Cynthia James

    It can often be intimidating in a boardroom for a woman and well done to all those who stand up and are willing to put their reputations on the line by being bold enough to say…’I might be a woman but I’m good enough, on equal terms’.
    There aren’t enough of them around in my opinion.

  • Tony Weeks

    Women deserve the right to be in any boardroom across the country.
    And golf clubs! A moot point!

  • Ryan Norris

    What sort of a world are we bringing up our children in that doesn’t allow women in certain clubs?
    It is plain wrong.

  • Sam Jacob

    Achieving success no matter what the background rings so true and a great example of this is at the athletics tonight in London.
    Everybody starts at a club and certainly those from London boroughs really have to work hard to achieve.
    The fact a few of those sprinters are reaping the benefits despite a poor upbringing in some cases is testament to their strength and belief.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.