Diversity has become a priority for many organisations. And if it is not, it should be.
In fact, around 69% of executives in Deloitte’s 2017 Diversity and Inclusion Insights survey cited diversity as a priority. This is because the benefits of having diverse teams are now well recognised. For instance, a study by Boston Consulting Group has shown diverse teams to have 19% higher revenue due to innovation.
To fully capture the benefits of having a diverse team, it is important for organisations to build and sustain a culture of inclusivity. Inclusion makes employees feel valued and engaged, which allows them to be more productive and innovative at work.
Inclusivity can be accomplished when team members and leaders are committed to building a culture that promotes diversity. One-to-one professional coaching is a powerful way to support leaders who are promoting diversity, and for individuals to follow best practices at work whilst being authentic to themselves.
Leading With Awareness
Often leaders are aware of the benefits of diversity but struggle to find ways to create a truly inclusive culture. Developing leaders to have an inclusive mindset is important to unlock the potential of a diverse workforce. Coaching provides a safe and confidential space to allow them to explore this.
Executive coaching helps bring leaders’ conscious as well as unconscious biases to the forefront. By probing them to re-evaluate existing practices and organisational dynamics, one-to-one coaching can help leaders broaden their perspective.
Being inclusive sometimes requires being bold, taking the uncharted path rather than falling back on usual practices. Coaching encourages leaders to take responsibility for building and sustaining inclusive behaviours within their teams, by holding them accountable for their actions. Research by psychologists Ford et al. found that accountability played an important role in reducing biases of managers towards employees of ethnic minorities. Accountability promotes fairness by keeping biases in check.
Elevating Under-Represented Employees
The supportive and empowering nature of coaching can help overcome challenges faced by under-represented team members within an organisation. In addition to managing day-to-day organisational stress, these employees may also have a heightened sense of guardedness towards the biases they face at work. This leads to employees feeling an “emotional tax”, putting them at a risk of being disengaged or even leaving the organisation altogether. Reports show 40% of men and 36% of women from under-represented groups cite unfairness as their main reason for leaving.
Coaching can help team members feel supported by creating a trusting and safe space for discussion with an unbiased third party. One-to-one coaching allows employees of any level to truly be heard and develop solutions that are unique to their situation. Coaches work with employees and team members to help them build confidence, and identify and amplify their unique strengths to help accelerate their performance and career progression.
Diverse teams can flourish when employees of all levels within the organisation proactively and collaboratively work on a culture of inclusion, where everyone feels comfortable enough to express their authentic selves. Coaching is an ongoing process which provides employees with a confidential, safe and supportive environment to freely explore their fears and challenges. Coaching supports long-term behavioural change, expanding an individual’s perspective, focusing on their strengths and embracing their uniqueness. This provides employees of all levels and backgrounds the tools to better navigate their organisation and career.