Diversity coaching and training are both goal oriented and very complementary to one another. However, they’re not the same or interchangeable as some believe.
What Is Diversity Training?
When it comes to traditional diversity training, the definition typically involves a classroom-like environment. Employees gather to listen to presentations and participate in workshops. These educational sessions are intended to give participants specific knowledge relating to diversity and inclusion issues in the workplace. In general, this can include explaining the impact of certain biased behaviors on a group dynamic and teaching how to identify them.
What is diversity training in the workplace? These programs delve into specific strategies for addressing interpersonal conflicts and increasing awareness of company policies and procedures related to instances of bias and discrimination among team members. Another common element of these programs is providing employees with basic information about various cultures in an effort to increase knowledge of what types of cultural differences exist. The focus these initiatives have on providing access to information without an emphasis on helping individuals process and internalize it has caused many to question their overall effectiveness when used by itself. Nevertheless, training remains a core component of many organizations’ diversity and inclusion efforts.
What Is Diversity Coaching?
Coaching takes the approach of working one-on-one with individual employees. A professional coach will work closely with each person in a more intimate, collaborative setting. It is through this method that people can look at and examine their personal beliefs and biases. By concentrating on working face-to-face rather than in a group, employees can feel free to explore their feelings on cultural differences without fear of what others may think. The focus of coaching is to give someone the skills necessary to make decisions on a day-to-day basis that work to combat issues of discrimination and bias in a meaningful way that goes beyond simply learning about what causes them. This provides him or her with the ability to take the information received during training and integrate it into his or her process for making decisions.
When paired with training programs, this can be highly effective at building the type of workplace environment that achieves an organization’s diversity goals.
There are three major key differences to note between coaching and training to ensure you’ve got the right help for your business!
Trainers teach standards and systems for things like new-hire orientation, job role procedures, and any changes in company practices. It’s usually for something very specific and closely follows a formula. Trainers generally work with new employees. Diversity and inclusion training may be included in employee orientation. It can be as simple as showing a short video, but it contains information that’s critical to sustaining a respectful workplace like how to appropriately interact with others.
Coaches help their clients to reach an overall goal, like improving sales or preparing an individual to move up into a new role, through reflection, action planning, and accountability. They don’t use a step-by-step formula but give clients the autonomy to try different things to find what resonates the most while delivering positive results. Coaches usually work with established employees.
Diversity coaching teaches employees ways to improve their relationships through mindfulness and positive adjustments. For example, this can be done by encouraging reflection around conflict that exists between colleagues or stakeholders.
What is diversity and inclusion training? In short, the foundation is sharing knowledge and skills. Some trainings are structured so there’s little room for deviation or customization of the information delivered. As your company seeks training options for your team, keep in mind how much interaction, application, and experiential learning are incorporated into the training. The more interactive, the more team members may contextualize the learning and apply it to solving their every workplace challenges.
Coaching relies on asking questions and observation. This allows coaches to facilitate inquiry, allowing clients the opportunity to address specific or individual issues. The goal is to give each person the perspective and action plans that will continually support them in their personal or career growth long after the coach’s work is complete. Diversity coaching can help a workplace to continually implement respectful ways to embrace and celebrate their team’s differences and what that can bring to the table.
Training is a one time event or for a very short period. It’s meant to get everyone on the same page at the same time. It should prep everyone to know the same skills and achieve the same results.
Coaches may be contracted for a certain number of months or until a particular goal is reached, but it’s ongoing as needed. They measure progress along the way and consider that what works for one person, might not be an appropriate option for another. They help to keep employees on a positive track forward by being mindful of their options and choices. Diversity coaching teaches people how to be thoughtful with their words and actions, allowing them to adjust their individual behaviors as needed.
What is the importance of workplace diversity training? Training is focused on learning, providing specific knowledge and techniques employees didn’t have before. Coaching supports employee training by providing ongoing feedback and guidance, allowing employees to expand and adapt their skills, producing better results and achieving goals quicker. Both are necessary in business and, although they seem similar, it’s important to know when you need each one.
CoachDiversity Institute is hosting a premiere event for coaching and diversity on Oct. 3rd, 2019, the theme of which is “Culture At Work!” This event highlights the use of coaching as an instrument to promote and celebrate diversity. The greatest minds in coaching, diversity, and inclusion will be gathered at this symposium to share knowledge, resources, and tools. To find out more, please click here, or click here to purchase your ticket now. We hope to see you there!
CoachDiversity Institute provides customized coaching solutions to forward-thinking corporations, foundations, nonprofit organizations, and government entities. Join us in November for our inaugural coach certification cohort at Howard University. Learn more here, or contact us today for additional information.