A couple of weeks ago, I attended a conference for the LGBT community in the organisation of my day job. Diversity and Inclusion is a key value of where I work and the way in which it is promoted is something that I am proud to be a part of and something I am learning more and more about since I joined about a year and a half ago.

What is most significant about the Diversity and Inclusion work is that it is not just centred around the protected characteristics (i.e. ethnicity, gender, sexuality, age, disability etc). While these are important, the initiative can ironically ‘exclude’ those who don’t fit into those characteristics (eg. straight, white, males). Diversity and Inclusion work is about understanding that everybody is unique, has a unique experience and perception of the world, and a unique story to tell, no matter what their demographic, and should be respected and valued equally so that this uniqueness can contribute to a rich and cohesive workforce.

In my organisation, this is demonstrable by the number of people who turned up to the LGBT conference who were not lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, but were allies, fully committed and passionate to support the diversity of the organisation and promote the spirit of equality in the work community and these people were welcomed equally to the conference.

So what is the underlying characteristic that is being employed in this work?

It is empathy.

This is a word I first came across when I volunteered for the Samaritans over ten years ago. It is the ability to seek to understand where another person is coming from; see things from their perspective; put yourself in their shoes, and thereby understand why they behave the way that they do and why they make certain decisions in their lives. When you have sought out that understanding you will naturally become more compassionate towards that person and create the space to build a more interpersonal relationship and this will generate a natural synergy. Your reactions to their behaviours that you might find unfamiliar, will be more positive, rather than an all too common negative reaction such as anger, mocking, offence or fear.

Empathy is one of the fundamental skills required to be a Life Coach and most coaching sessions involve me seeking to understand the client by asking probing questions to dig a little deeper into the why and wherefore of the situation. The intention is for the coach to say very little, but listen carefully while the client does the majority of the talking.

Sounds easy doesn’t it! But ‘active listening’, as it is called, is actually quite hard work. It requires strong focus and concentration, fast-time analysis and response to help the client constructively explore, understand and potentially challenge areas of their lives in a way they never have or rarely do.

Giving the client space to voice their experience empowers them to see the situation from the outside with a new clarity. They can then more easily identify the parts that they can realistically change for the better, which provides opportunity to enhance their life and work towards reaching the achievements they always dreamed of.

Giving the same kind of space for Diversity and Inclusion in the workplace has the same affect in empowering the individual to have a voice which can lead to a better sense of wellbeing and value, that will improve work relationships and build a more positive, efficient and productive workforce.

Life Coaching will help you find your voice. It will empower you and working with a Coach will help you on the way to renewing yourself in a way you never thought possible.

Why not make an enquiry to Coaching Earth, and let’s see what you’re really made of!

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