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  • Writer's pictureSharon Joy

Being the change in the coaching industry through inclusion & diversity

You may or may not know that social justice, equity, inclusion, and anti-bias work is a strong theme in my places and spaces. Some may think that this "woke" approach is something that coaches are implementing as a way of window dressing... and truth be told, this is dangerously the case with some. I say dangerously because this isn't a season's work... It's a lifetime of work.

This isn't something I just "woke" to. It's been a theme right throughout my life. From calling out my neighbours for racism as they shouted racist remarks over the fence to my primary school best friend Carol, a First Nations girl, to being a young teacher standing alongside teacher unionists when we passed the Welcome to Country/Acknowledgement of Country policy document that created a movement in Australia to teaching my kids the meaning of love is love through the company that we keep and open conversations about sexuality, gender, and inclusion to discussions on neurodiversity, ableist language and a deliberate attempt to consciously remove common or pop-culture words such as idot, dumb, stupid, slay and the word that I hate most r*t^$d from my vernacular.

More recently, since launching my SOULiD Membership, I have been doing this work behind the scenes by supporting clients with social disadvantages in various ways including discounts and scholarships, additional support for neurodivergent clients and 'country of origin' pricing commensurate with the OECD allowing clients in countries where their income is much less than ours to access my programs at a fair rate.

I'm proud to say that this added up to over $3,500 AUD of free support for people with social disadvantages since the launch of SOULiD®.

While I could share many more examples I want to acknowledge that my work in this space is far from perfect. I am a work in progress but I chose to start somewhere and I keep choosing to peel back the layers to reveal more.

Work in this space is met with a whole lot of stumbling and fumbling and it takes time to unravel our many programs as well as unpack our layers of privilege in order to make for safer and more inclusive spaces.

One of the key guiding principles in my business is to be the change I want to see in the coaching, healing, and consultancy space.

This means consciously taking steps to prevent harm through inclusion & diversity learning for myself on an ongoing basis and for those in my programs as part of their participation. Addressing the needs of a wide variety of learners, welcoming people's identities and addressing "isms" in a supportive way.

It takes vulnerability and a willingness to get it wrong in this space. I'm here for all of it and if this isn't a path that you're yet on, I want to encourage and support you to start.

Because in supporting the needs of our most marginalised, we don't take away from others, we enrich their experience in the process.

There are no losers by being more inclusive, instead, there are opportunities for growth but more importantly fairness, equity, empathy and a better future for our industry.

If this resonates, then let me introduce you to my friend, coach and mentor, Louise O'Reilly who I interviewed on my Joyous Journeys in Life + Business Podcast. Louise offers up her wisdom as well as very personal stories of her lived experience as a proud Warra-Noongar woman.

Louise creates cultural inclusion, diversity, equity and allyship in business with her profound work. She works with entrepreneurs to develop expansive leadership that creates a positive impact in the world including how to be a true ally for our most marginalised people. I highly recommend you have a listen to this moving and vulnerable episode.

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