We want to share some of our story on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in coaching and some of our next steps. 

Our coaching story

We founded Inner Glow Circle in 2015. In 2016, our community started to question our whiteness and the whiteness of the coaching industry overall, which we addressed. In 2017, we hired one of our graduates to help us host our first roundtable on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in coaching. 

We listened, learned and looked at how we could facilitate more diversity, equity and inclusion in the coaching industry. One of our main initiatives became hiring more Black women and women of color as Trainers. This would provide our student body with more diverse leadership. It would also provide BIWOC with safer and more equitable spaces where they could train to become life coaches. 

Step by step

But we couldn’t jump right into it. We had to go through a few important steps:

  1. Our training manual submitted to the International Coach Federation (ICF) requires us to hire graduates of our program as Trainers. This made us realize that as a first step, we needed to prepare ourselves to serve more BIWOC students.
  2. Because we wanted to encourage BIWOC graduates to work with us long-term, because of the overwhelming whiteness of the coaching industry and because BIWOC disproportionately earn less and have less collective wealth, we wanted to create a scholarship.
  3. To ensure we had the proper tools and training to serve these students, in 2018, we hired an outside Diversity, Equity and Inclusion consultant to partner with us to create a scholarship for BIWOC.
  4. Before we could address the company, she required us to go through a series of personal anti-racism trainings. She conducted due diligence, spoke directly with students who identified as being BIWOC and worked with us to improve our culture and communication.
  5. During summer 2018, our team carefully assembled a scholarship review board that was aligned with our mission. We also designed an anonymous review process.
  6. We also updated our coursework and curriculums. In 2018, we added an entire week of focus on Diversity and Inclusion in Coaching. Additionally, we added Inclusivity Considerations to every week of the 24-week curriculum to ensure the focus was throughout and not just one week.

“Being aware of your own implicit biases and continuously doing your own anti-racism work within yourself and your business is key to maintaining a healthy and powerful coaching relationship with any and all clients.”

—Inner Glow Circle Coach Training curriculum

Our evolution towards a more diverse space

In fall of 2018, we launched the scholarship and as of July 2020, have awarded $75,500 in scholarships to Black women and women of color. Our first year we had over 60 applicants.

The first two full scholarship recipients, Hayley J. Mckenzie and Thea Sobers Charles now make up two-thirds of our training team. They are both incredible coaches and leaders, as well as mothers.

Our process of creating a more inclusive team of Trainers and Mentor Coaches has been slow. After six months in our life coach training, a prospective Trainer has to complete six months as a Student Trainer (three if they are becoming a Trainer for Leaders Rising).

Additionally, the ICF requires Trainers and Mentor Coaches to have a Professional Certified Coach (PCC) credential which requires them to have at least 500 coaching practice hours, 125 hours of Approved Coach Specific Training and pass a coaching knowledge exam. After that, they are able to come on board as a Trainer.

Hayley joined as a Student Trainer as soon as she graduated from Coach Training in March 2019. She trained her first class starting in September 2019 and then took over a second class in December 2019. Thea joined as a Leaders Rising Student Trainer in September 2019 and then a Trainer in March 2020. Both Hayley and Thea are Mentor Coaches and PCC coaches, as required by the ICF for all our Trainers. Thea earned her PCC in May 2020, and her recorded call was so strong that the ICF requested to use it for training purposes organization-wide! 

Our team

Our education, our scholarship, our curriculum upgrades and our ongoing desire to serve BIWOC are changing our student body. Currently, 65% of our Leader’s Rising students (our graduate program, available to graduates of IGC Coach Training) are BIWOC. Three are applying for PCC to be Mentor Coaches with IGC this fall (not required but something all graduates are invited to apply for).

We recently hired another DEI educator, VP Wright, a 2019 partial scholarship recipient. She will help us continue to support BIWOC and facilitate further training for our students.

In summary, we have had 3 Diversity, Equity and Inclusion educators since 2017. All management has done and continues to do anti-racism work, including direct advisement from experts, books, trainings and coursework.

Next steps in DEI

Before covid, we had a team of 20, all women. Now we have streamlined to a team of 13. Eight of the women on our team are moms, two of which are single moms. Four of the women on our team are Black, five are women of color. We are still a predominantly white team and this is something we hope to evolve over the next year. 

We are gearing up to open up our scholarship for fall 2020, gathering our scholarship board and surveying our community.

If you identify as being a BIWOC, we would love to hear from you.

As we teach in the Inner Glow Circle Coach Training curriculum, “Being aware of your own implicit biases and continuously doing your own anti-racism work within yourself and your business is key to maintaining a healthy and powerful coaching relationship with any and all clients.” 

There is so much work to do, but that doesn’t discourage us from taking small steps every day. We are motivated, inspired, humbled and grateful to contribute to this mission.

In solidarity,
Katie, Liv and the IGC team