Coaching is meant to be transformational and inspiring. In most of the cases it is. However when you add to it the mix of diversity it becomes extremely complex. As minorities we are many times impacted by our status. Whether we like it or not, we use the behaviors of our minorities as reference points (e.g. I’m Hispanic so I make an extra effort not to arrive late, because people tend to think of my ethnicity as one that is flexible with time). Perhaps life experiences make you react differently, but for those who have not been able to completely erase these roadblocks, it’s important to know.
Knowing how to tailor your coaching practice to be more effective with your minority coachee will make you more effective. Here are a few examples:
So here are a few tips to remember:
1- People are naturally anxious about opening up and this can be more complex with minorities (e.g. fitting in, rejection, insecurities, acceptance)
2- Coaching is meant to LISTEN (but minorities may struggle with not being heard or not being heard loud enough), INSPIRE (but minorities may struggle with not daring to go where they’re inspired to go) and TRANSFORM (but minorities may struggle with transforming themselves for fear of losing who they are)
3- Help your coachee ACCEPT (but minorities may be afraid of acknowledging who they are because it makes them different and brands them), VALUE (but minorities have a hard time exposing themselves and feeling a sense of pride in being different when everyone is trying to fit in) or USING (minorities may be shy in marketing their uniqueness, selling who they are for the value they bring) their minority status
4- People react to feelings and feeling drives behavior, so go to the root of the feelings
5- It’s important to teach them how to use their instincts without letting negative thoughts hold them back
6- Know that PEOPLE ARE PEOPLE, so coach minorities the way you would anyone else
The important thing to remember as a coach is that you are better equipped to guide your minority coachee when you understand their minority status. Show them you BELIEVE in them, TRUST them, and INVEST in them and that you expect the same from them.