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  • Writer's pictureGST Inc.

The Purpose of Diversity Coaching

John Norris

Many businesses choose to increase mindfulness of diversity issues and bring about cohesiveness in teams through diversity coaching. But what exactly is diversity coaching and why is it important to business owners of all types? Furthermore, where do you even start teaching your team about diversity? Should you use an awareness-based or skills-based coaching and what is the difference, anyway? Hopefully, we can answer these questions and more below.

The intention of diversity coaching is to bring attention to issues within the workplace related to biases individuals have regarding appearance, gender, religion, race, disability, beliefs, and even personality traits. Diversity and inclusion coaching dates back to the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s. It addresses inequalities in workplace and any event that requires teams to work together to achieve a common goal.

It is vital for businesses to deliberate on these facets of human nature as they build project teams. A group that lacks members who are willing to take risks will not function well. On the same token, a team where all members are risk takers will run into trouble in completing projects, especially if the risks the team members are willing to take are not compatible. Instead, creating a balanced team with all personality types can help ensure the success of that team.

Types of Diversity Coaching

Awareness-Based Diversity Coaching

This type of coaching is commonly used to sensitize employees to diversity issues. It involves raising awareness among office personnel of the importance of diversity in the workplace. It also draws attention to individual prejudices and cultural assumptions employees may have about others. The coaching uses case studies and experiential exercises to provide participants with real-world examples they can draw from to help make their workplace more inclusive.

Skill-Based Coaching:

In addition to raising awareness of diversity issues, skills-based coaching helps train employees on tactics to positively handle diversity in the workplace. The goal of skills-based diversity coaching is to bring employees from the awareness stage to a point where they can proficiently handle diversity issues.

Skills-based diversity coaching often incorporates a combination of seminars, presentations, virtual skills training courses, collaborative competitions, and roleplaying. Although there are pros and cons to each method, they are all designed to promote active participation in diversity initiatives.

The Goal of Diversity Coaching

The goal of diversity coaching is to help staff members appreciate the differences among the coworkers that they work with and understand that even small adjustments in the way they interact with colleagues can make their teams extraordinary.

The premise of this training is to encourage tolerance of the differences that employees see around them and to help them value those variances as a part of effective teams.

To bring out the best in your staff, you need to promote an inclusive work environment. In this age of globalization, we must think beyond the conventional diversity facets of gender, race, status, belief, and disabilities. We must select team members based on a value system that determines the individual’s ability to change, accommodate, comprehend, and collaborate with their colleagues to ensure high-functioning professional teams.

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