a)plan coaching

Unpacking The Power of Coaching for Equity at Organizations

A new coaching category has emerged in recent years, fueled by organizations at the forefront of positive change-making: Coaching for equity. In this article, we’ll define this type of coaching, unpacking how it works both in a general sense and from the lens of our approach at a)plan coaching.

Understanding Coaching for Equity

In its simplest form, coaching for equity aims to promote fairness, inclusivity, and equal opportunities within a team, organization, or society at large. A great coaching for equity program creates fundamental change not just for the short term, but in sustainable ways for years to come.

Organizations leveraging this resource may offer it to executive leadership, managers, or in some cases, to all employees. Program design depends on the specific coaching provider, with different companies specializing in different areas or types of coaching.

As a)plan advisor and equity-focused executive, Marcus Walton, says, “Coaching is about creating a space in which we can think, dream, and plan out new possibilities. It’s a space to think differently about how to have an impact on the world and to rethink ways to be effective.”

Organizations that Use Coaching for Equity

Wondering if you’re at an organization that should look into coaching for equity programs? Here are some of the most common types of organizations where you can expect to see this type of resource being leveraged for big impact.

Foundations and Nonprofits

Nonprofits and foundations are inherently mission-driven, often with a focus on addressing social inequalities and fostering community wellness. By adopting coaching for equity programs, these organizations ensure that their internal practices reflect their public commitments to diversity and inclusion. These organizations help set a standard for how to operationalize equity in every aspect of organizational conduct—from governance and staffing to outreach and impact measurement.

Major Tech Companies

The technology sector, known for rapid innovation and significant societal impact, has increasingly been under the microscope for issues related to diversity, equity, and inclusion. Major tech companies benefit from coaching for equity programs by developing more inclusive workplace cultures that not only attract but also retain diverse talent. Equity coaching can help dismantle unconscious biases and build more inclusive environments that reflect the global customer base tech companies serve.

Government Agencies

Government agencies, from local to federal levels, can use coaching for equity programs to ensure that their policies and services are delivered without bias. These programs equip employees with the skills needed to serve a diverse public effectively. This not only helps in meeting legal and ethical obligations but also improves civic engagement and public satisfaction.

“Legacy Industries” on the Brink of Innovation

Industries such as legal, healthcare, and finance are often seen as traditional fields, yet they sit at the brink of innovation—and coaching can put that innovation into motion. These sectors can harness coaching for equity programs as a tool for navigating the inevitable change that comes with modernizing culture and implementing equity-forward practices which are sometimes overdue.

For each of these sectors, embracing equity isn’t just about fairness or compliance; it’s a strategic move towards sustainability, relevance, and simply doing what’s right. As these organizations champion equity, they not only contribute to a more just society but also enjoy the internal benefits of diversity, innovation, and resilience.

Coaching for Equity from a)plan coaching

At a)plan, we have a long-standing track record and stated mission of operationalizing equity at forward-thinking organizations ranging from social impact foundations to tech powerhouses. Our thesis is simple: True equity requires foundational structure, commitment, and intention. Coaching serves as one of the best resources to achieve those outcomes.

How Our Coaching for Equity Programs Work

While our coaching for equity programs are completely customizable, we see some common themes among the organizations we serve. For starters, all of our engagements run through an “executive sponsor,” who gets our team up to speed on the goals challenges facing the organization. Executive sponsors give us the inside scoop that makes our program design process so effective.

Typically, coaching for equity involves both training and coaching. That’s because there’s almost always an educational element to equity and what it means to cultivate it within cultures. Many of a)plan’s training topics are relevant to equity programs, including Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, Culture Transformation, Courageous Communication, and more.

If training is the educational element of an engagement, think of coaching as the follow-through. a)plan coaches represent some of the best and most experienced in the industry, providing clients with one-on-one support as they explore their personal and professional goals. In an equity-focused program, coaching provides the space to explore key areas, including:

  • Building on training materials
  • Reflecting on one’s own behaviors promoting or inhibiting equity
  • Exploring actionable changes to enhance equity
  • Overcoming obstacles created by lack of equity

Exploring these areas may happen via one-on-one coaching or team coaching—or both!

Exploring coaching for equity programs? Let us know more about your organization here.

Case Study: City of San Francisco

Among some of our favorite coaching for equity case studies is the City of San Francisco, where we’ve served multiple departments over the past few years.

Most recently, we were the chosen coaching provider for a City of SF department seeking to advance racial equity both internally and externally. The department had already implemented a Racial Equity Action Plan to promote fairness and equality in all aspects of their operations. To supplement this progress, a)plan was brought in to help department employees enhance their people management skills with a focus on racial equity.

As with many of our coaching for equity programs, the overarching goal was to both train and coach employees, creating a multi-angle approach. That is, we trained this department in larger groups on topics like “Giving & Receiving Feedback” and “Coaching Peers & Direct Reports” over the course of a multi-month schedule. Simultaneously, to make sure the learning sticks, department employees worked one-on-one with our coaches to explore these topics and their applications further.

We are proud to coach at major departments, agencies, and companies moving the needle on operationalizing equity. The City of San Francisco has not only been an excellent partner, but a guiding light for other organizations wanting to follow suit.

Coaching for Equity at Your Organization

Whether you’re exploring coaching solutions to level up your organization’s internal commitment to coaching or seeking to empower your teams to become changemakers outside of the office, we’d love to hear from you.

a)plan is proud to serve as a boutique coaching operation that is big enough to provide coaching at scale, but small enough to create completely customized coaching programs. We have found that no two organizations are alike, so let us know exactly what you’re hoping to achieve here and we’ll be happy to give you our best ideas on how to do so!

Interested in launching a coaching for equity program?
Let us know more about your organization here.

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