33rd Annual Conference

March 8-12, 2021


Troubling the Waters: Decentering U.S. Cultural Norms in Coaching

75-minute Workshops

Day 2

Session Code: S2-D
When: March 9, 2021
Level: Intermediate
Track: Global Diversity
Presenters: Deanna Blackwell, United States Peace Corps  |  Emily Clawson, United States Peace Corps


While the field of coaching is international, coach training curricula tends to assume dominant U.S. cultural norms. When dominant U.S. cultural norms go unexamined, coach training experiences and coaching sessions run the risk of being inequitable in that they only work for people operating within those dominant U.S. norms. Additionally, training programs operating from U.S. cultural norms do not prepare coaches to adapt their approach when working with a coach that does not align to those norms. This results in their coach practice being less effective and appropriate with regard to intercultural competence, and further reinforces this norm within the coaching profession.

We approach this challenge by applying the lens of intercultural competence, diversity, equity and inclusion (ICDEI) to make coaching more effective, appropriate, and inclusive for anyone who does not operate within those norms. We explore key insights from our experiences designing and delivering a coach training program for Peace Corps staff around the world and our practice coaching clients of color and clients of culture. Insights from these key areas have contributed to our view that culturally responsive coaching matters. This session is designed to create space for participants to explore how to apply tools for developing a culturally responsive approach to coaching. Be ready to practice!

Learning Outcomes

• Explore ways to name and decenter dominant U.S. cultural norms when facilitating coach training
• Apply an ICDEI lens to one’s coaching relationships and coaching education practice
• Learn ways that coaching skills can enhance the ability to work toward equity

The Forum on Workplace Inclusion®
2211 Riverside Ave, CB 54
Minneapolis, MN 55454
(612) 373-5994

Photos by Sarah Morreim Photography
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