my evolving work
Folks know me best as a coach - since 2004. And, as a coach trainer - since 2010. Through coaching and coach training I’ve worked with hundreds of (primarily) BIPOC social justice activists. I’ve learned a hell of a lot partnering with them.
These days I’m pondering this field called “coaching;” even while still working as a coach.
Coaching was “professionalized” by (primarily) white men working in the corporate sector. Coaching schools were created, standards for these schools were set and some schools became “accredited.” Primarily by white, corporate folks.
In communities there have always been people who folks come to for advice or support…Healers, curanderas, shamans, diviners… Some were elders, some designated, some not… A trusted person who could keep secrets, be compassionate and helped folks figure things out.
In the work world there were mentors.
By the early 2000’s, the nonprofit sector began to explore if coaching could benefit the sector. I worked with a coach when I was an Executive Director of a community organization. (And, found having a coach wildly helpful.)
I decided to become a “certified” coach. I went through a program that made no concessions for differences (ethnicity, gender, age, socio-economic or resident status, sexual preferences, physical ability, life experiences). They were vague on social-political realities and had a belief in “abundance.”
I became one of a small group of POC with nonprofit experience who was a certified coach. I began coaching a lot of (primarily) folks of color working in the nonprofit sector. I was recruited to be a trainer in an accredited coach training program that wanted to train more POC from the nonprofit sector and integrate more awareness of power, privilege, race and culture.
So, after being a [certified] coach for almost 20 years and a coach trainer for 10 years, here’s what I now believe:
- It can be useful to partner with a coach.
- It can be useful to have codified coaching methodology and techniques.
- Working with a coach and/or attending a coach training program can be life-changing and transformational.
- Coaching tools and techniques are NOT magic that only a rare few should be able to access.
- Coaching methodology owes much to BIPOC ancestral wisdom, customs, rituals, cultural practices.
- We all benefit from having life-changing experiences that introduce us to ways we can be in loving relationship with ourselves and others.
- We ALL can learn these techniques, use them, and, most likely, all need them.
- Coaching methodology can be enhanced by all kinds of practices: somatics, meditation, Norma Wong’s Forward Stance work, different spiritual practices, Internal Family Systems, psychodrama, playback theater, socionomy, psychedelic therapy…
- The history of genocide, slavery, colonization, imperialism, capitalism and the tools of these systems: racism, heteropatriarchy, ablism, violence – must be acknowledged. Facing the truth of the destructive parts of our human collective is the only way we can heal, repair and reclaim all of who we are, individually and collectively.