We don’t see colour!" How executive coaching can help leaders to create inclusive corporate cultures by acknowledging structural racism in its ecosystem

Charmaine Roche
Jonathan Passmore


While leaders are scrambling to take up the issue of Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) in the context of the heightened consciousness of systemic and structural racism prompted by the Black Lives Matter campaign, the world of coaching has been slow to engage with the issue of racial justice. This year-long qualitative study responds to a gap in coaching literature which is currently silent on the impact of systemic racism on coaching practice.In this paper we focus on the views and experiences of coaches who identify as “Black,”“Indigenous,” or “Persons of Color” (BIPOC). The coaches are from five countries: theUnited States, the United Kingdom, Kenya, South Africa, and New Zealand (NZ),offering a global perspective on how this issue shows up in coaching. Focus groups were convened virtually with coaches from each region. We asked the question “What would need to change in the world of coaching for it to adopt an antiracist approach?” The data analyzed using thematic analysis revealed that the BIPOC coaches in this study experience the world of coaching as a white space in which color blindness reinforces and reproduces the power dynamics of structural racism. The BIPOC coaches’ testimonies suggests that an antiracist approach oriented toward decoloniality could be much more effective in breaking the patterns of underrepresentation and exclusion at senior leadership levels across organizations.

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