The word ‘inclusion’ gets batted around a lot in conversations, headlines and the corporate world. I wonder though how much of this discussion is true to the cause, or what defines it. Inclusion to you or the person next to you likely differs.
The Oxford dictionary defines it as “including somebody/something; the fact of being included”. I can’t argue with the dictionary, but I also can’t help feeling it only tells half the story.
For me inclusion is also making sure that no one has to be left out. I’m very specific in my wording of ‘has’ because for me it’s the key to successful and impactful inclusion. Let me give an example to show you what I mean — luckily for me, Susan Room, PCC, MFA, FRSA and Tracy Sinclair, MCC and their coaching of young people through Coachsters provides a fantastic one.
Coaches and coachees are usually well into their careers when exposed to the wonderful world of executive coaching. But is that model inclusive to young people?
Tracy and Susan’s focus to bring coaching to 18-25 year-olds fully embodies what it means to be inclusive. They are working to make the offer, their industry, inclusive to a largely excluded community of young people. They’re creating that inclusion by making coaching accessible to younger audiences.
It’s ‘truly’ inclusive because not only is it available to young people, it’s accessible and it’s affordable (thanks in part to Coachsters’ sponsors), making it inclusive to an entire community who have otherwise been largely excluded.
This is why I always look at claims of inclusion with a pinch (or perhaps sometimes more like a spoonful) of salt. They could have easily claimed their approach was inclusive simply by not precluding young people. If everyone gets the same opportunity to be included — surely that’s inclusive right? But they didn’t do that. They’re making coaching truly inclusive for young people by making it accessible and affordable for them. Had they not done so, I’m confident nowhere near as many of my peers would have been coached or started their journey to become a coach.
Being this inclusive is an art for sure, it requires trial and error, it’s lots of hard work. And this brings me to a key point about inclusion — that real inclusivity requires real collaboration and iteration. Again, this is what Susan and Tracy have been doing with Coachsters. Collaborating with others in the coaching industry, and continuing to evolve their offer to make coaching more inclusive for young people.
Every human experience is different. What you or I deem inclusive might exclude someone else. I’m not saying poll everyone, but one size doesn’t fit all. You probably know the saying ‘too many cooks spoil the broth’, however when it comes to inclusivity, I’m of the mind that the right group of chefs with different experiences, who work together, iterating their recipe to improve it every time, eventually make the best broth.
Article by Founding Coachster, Kirsty Mitchell