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Equity Coaching In The Workplace

Updated: Jun 2, 2020

The notion of “fit” in workplace settings can mean an array of things: whether a job candidate is a match for an organization in terms of skills, whether they have the required breadth of experience, or whether they share a company’s values. The phrase "they're a poor fit" is usually taken to mean that a candidate is a not a good match in one of these respects. However, it can also mean something more insidious: that they are a poor fit for the company’s dominant culture. Someone who does not hold historically included identities (which in the US could mean that they are not white, male, straight, etc.) may not easily “fit in” with a workplace culture that is framed around people with those identities. How can this perspective be adjusted? How can leadership shape workplace culture to be truly inclusive of everyone?

We all hold multiple identities, some of which have been historically included, others excluded. Our identities are complex and overlapping, from race, ethnicity, gender, and sexual orientation to religion, age, physical and mental ability, country of origin, and more. Though we may share many of these with other people, the combination of our various identities and personality traits makes each of us truly unique, and therefore our experiences in the world are each our own.

Equity coaching supports people in acknowledging and engaging with all of their identities and being curious about how they affect people’s experience in the world and their impact on others. How does the world respond to you given the identities you hold? Where might you hold privilege, and where might power be withheld from you? It is helpful to understand where you have power based on individual and group identities, as well as how you may have internalized certain forms of oppression. Engaging with this aspect of who you are can better all the relationships in your life-- whether with partners, friends, children, or coworkers.

People in leadership and management can benefit greatly from an awareness of the various identities that they themselves hold, as well as the multitude of identities of people who make up the teams that they manage. Understanding this can help a leader support a team comprised of people with a variety of identities and personalities to work together so that everyone is valued and can contribute to the best of their potential.

Equity coaching can also help others in an organization reflect on the impact they have on their coworkers in a supportive, growth-oriented setting. We are proud to offer skilled, attentive equity coaching at all levels within organizations, as well as to people on an individual learning path.

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