As I watch around the globe the pain and cries for change, I find myself reflecting on the issues of Racism and Systemic Inequality. As an ethnic minority, as a former leader of corporate diversity efforts and as someone who specializes in coaching people of color, I have been personally passionate to use my own influence to create diversity and inclusion for all. Making things better for the ones who have suffered or have been at a disadvantage is a key part of what drew me to serving on the ICF Foundation Board of Trustees.
At the ICF Foundation, we have seen first-hand what happens when coaches and coaching harness their collective power and influence through working to amplify and accelerate social impact. Now is the time for us to rise and work together to benefit our clients, communities, and the world. Not only through the impact, our coaching brings, but also by taking a stance against the current racial injustices and systemic inequalities that are causing this great divide.
I stand alongside the recent statements released by the International Coaching Federation this week. With my fellow trustees, we extend this invitation to you, to join us in partnering with One ICF in taking a stand and taking action to improve people’s lives.
José Piñero is also the Co-Founder & Chief Mentor at The Cultivation Company, a diversity consulting firm focusing on empowering women and minorities. His firm has coached and developed women and minority professionals in top companies including Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft, Google and others. For half a decade he led the diversity and multicultural marketing initiative for all of Microsoft. In this role, José was the voice of Microsoft to the U.S. Hispanic community and an advocate for Latino opportunities.
On June 1, 2020, the International Coaching Federation released the following statement from CEO Magdalena Nowicka Mook and ICF Professional Coaches Global Board Chair Sara Smith, MCC:
Ahmaud Arbery. George Floyd. Tony McDade. Breonna Taylor.
We have heard their names, read their stories, and mourned their early and senseless deaths. Our disbelief and sadness have prompted us to consider changes we must make in our own lives, actions and attitudes in order to dismantle inequality, be better allies, and drive meaningful and lasting change.
As the global association for coaches and coaching, ICF can harness the collective power, influence and voice of our membership to champion changes that will benefit our industry, our clients, our communities and the world.
As coaches, we consider our clients’ context, identity, environment, experiences, values and beliefs as we partner with them in unlocking their potential. However, we cannot help our clients reach their greatest potential unless we also work against entrenched conditions that limit it.
The continued perpetuation of systemic inequality is at odds with our shared values and vision as ICF. As coaches, we know that change often begins in moments of discomfort. Change begins with tough conversations. Change begins when we open ourselves to feedback about where we are getting it wrong and to guidance on what we can do to get it right. We must act.
In the days, weeks and months ahead, we are committed to an open dialogue that can open the door for our Association and our industry to move us closer toward the creation of a thriving society.
As One ICF, we stand together. We stand for greater diversity and inclusion. We stand against racism. We stand against violence. We stand for respect, dignity and integrity.
It is our sincere hope that you will join us as partners on this journey.
Magdalena Nowicka Mook, CEO, ICF and Sara Smith, MCC, 2020 ICF Professional Coaches Global Board Chair