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  • 08 Apr 2024 4:05 PM | Marcia Jacquette (Administrator)

    As part of an ICF Global initiative, ICF Philadelphia has updated their bylaws. To enact the new bylaws, they must be approved by the chapter membership, so a question will be added to this year's election ballot.

    You can read the new bylaws here, or check out the FAQ about the changes.

    If you have any additional questions, email them to

  • 01 Feb 2024 4:31 PM | Ossie Vaughn (Administrator)

    Are you a passionate coach, great team player and willing to share your thoughts and ideas and make more impact on the community? If so, we invite you to join an energized team of professional coaches who volunteer their time to elevate the profession of coaching in the greater Philadelphia area!

    The ICF Philadelphia Chapter (ICFP) is looking for coaches with leadership potential, attention to detail and who possess enthusiasm, energy, and a passion to serve to join our board for the 2024-2026 term. 

    To throw your hat in the ring, you must be an ICF Philadelphia Chapter member and hold an ICF credential (ACC, PCC or MCC). Experience on a not-for-profit board is great, but not required.

    Here’s what you’re committing to:

    • A 2-year term of office from July 1, 2024, to June 30, 2026 (with an option to stand for re-election at that time)
    • Attendance at a 2-hour monthly virtual Board meeting (second Thursday of the month at 8:00am ET)
    • Approximately 5-10 hours per month working on a committee or in general support of board activities
    • Attendance at a few ICFP educational and/or social events per year

    Benefits of being part of the ICFP Board:

    • Contribute your talents and skills to the betterment of the Chapter
    • Opportunity for travel to national and international ICF events to represent the Philadelphia Chapter
    • Learn from experienced and successful coaches
    • Attend ICFP events at no cost
    • Build your not-for-profit board experience

    Get started by nominating yourself or another chapter member (once you’ve discussed it with them of course!) by close of business on February 29, 2024.


    Other Volunteer Opportunities

    Perhaps you are currently unable to commit to a Board role or you’d like to get a taste of what volunteering in the ICF Philadelphia Chapter is like? Well, there are many opportunities to volunteer on our committees which include

    • Community Relations Committee
    • Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging Committee
    • Education Committee
    • Events Committee
    • Governance Committee
    • Marketing & Communications Committee
    • Membership Committee

    We also look for volunteers for special initiatives such as International Coaching Week, the annual member survey, the PA Conference for Women, and the Ignite Program.

    To learn more about these volunteer opportunities, or to connect with a board member to discuss board service, please reach out to us at any time!

  • 09 Feb 2023 9:26 AM | Muhunthan Chanmugham (Administrator)

    Calling all team players! ICF Philadelphia is looking for new Board members.

    Join an energized team of professional coaches who volunteer their time to elevate the profession of coaching in the greater Philadelphia area!

    You are…

    …a fantastic communicator.

    …reliable and eager to work with a variety of peers.

    …excited to make a difference in your Chapter.

    We are…

    …on the hunt for members who are committed and willing to share their thoughts and ideas to further the coaching profession.

    …seeking to fill a few “At Large” Board positions.

    …looking for coaches with leadership potential, attention to detail and who possess enthusiasm, energy, and great organizational and planning skills.

    …loving it if you had some experience within the non-for-profit world too (although this is certainly not a deal breaker!)

    General participation requirements:

     2-year term of office from July 1, 2023, to June 30, 2025

     Attend a 2 hour monthly virtual Board meeting

     Devote approximately 5-10 hours per month on a committee or in general support

     Attend at least a couple of ICFP educational and/or social events per year

    To throw your hat in the ring, you must:

     Be an ICF global member

     Be an ICF Philadelphia Chapter member

     Hold an ICF credential

    Benefits of being part of the ICFP Board:

     Contribute your talents and skills to the betterment of the Chapter

     Opportunity for travel to national and international ICF events to represent the

    Philadelphia Chapter

     Learn from experienced and successful coaches

     Attend ICFP events at no cost

     Build your not-for-profit board experience

    Please get started by nominating yourself or another (once you’ve discussed it with them of course!) by end of day February 28, 2023.

    Apply here

    Perhaps you are currently unable to commit to a Board role but would like to get a taste of what volunteering in the ICF Philadelphia Chapter is like?

    Well, there are many opportunities to volunteer on our committees which include

    Governance, Education and Programming, Communications and Marketing,

    Membership, and Community Relations plus special initiatives such as International

    Coach Week, the annual member survey, the PA Women’s Conference, the Events

    Committee, the Ignite Program, Sponsorship Partnership, Community Outreach and


    If you’d like to get involved, please reach out to us at any time!

  • 09 Sep 2022 1:51 PM | Muhunthan Chanmugham (Administrator)

    Photo by Emma Dau on Unsplash

    By Kim Wunner

    One of the issues I see coming up is the business of coaching. With the field exploding and the demand growing, how do we want to participate and provide our offerings. The brilliance here is that they are in no one way to do this. The key is to do it in a way that feels harmonious to you. While building a practice may feel uncomfortable because it is new, it can and should be a reflection of your truth. That is what your clients will resonate with.

    Currently, there are three ways we engage as coaches;

    1) we have a private practice

    2) we are an in-house coach at a company 

    3) we consult. for this purpose, this is defined as being associated with an organization that businesses outsource their coaching to. 

    Each of these arrangements lend themselves to a full time/part-time/or side-hustle engagement. There are a variety of factors each of us weigh in which we want to pursue. And, neither of these are exclusive. You could do all three or two of them.  A few of the factors to include in that decision making process are target market, required income and  schedule. 

    Next, we want to look at who we want to coach and why. This is what we mean by target market. - who do you coach? Know this may change over time, as you evolve.  I started with only coaching women and I have expanded my market to include the queer community. There was demand and it became a natural evolution. The community you work with needs to come from your heart. Who do you resonate with? 

    Once we know who we want to coach and how, we can go about doing just that. If it is a full time or part time coaching role, we  start looking for opportunities as we would in any job search. If we are going the route of private practice, then we also take on the role of business owner and start to build a business with a website, marketing, etc. 

    No matter what the decision that suits you best, the most effective way to be in the business of coaching is to start talking about it. Let your friends and family know you are taking on clients or looking for a role. Use your social media to tell your network that you are here, ready to offer your skills and talent as a coach forward.

    The key takeaway is there is no one way to be in the business of coaching. This is about YOU. The best coaching comes from when we are in alignment and true to ourselves. Do not be afraid to ask for what you want and need. 

  • 04 Jun 2022 5:32 AM | Muhunthan Chanmugham (Administrator)

    By Melissa Carson,

    We are all imperfect leaders, of ourselves and of others. However, along our life journey, we have the opportunity to learn lessons that we can take forward as we become more intentional leaders. Though these lessons were hard at the time, I am thankful for the experiences and the leadership coaching I received that have helped me become more intentional in my style.

    Here are 10 of the lessons I've had the opportunity to learn during my career.

    1. Just because someone is your boss doesn't mean that s/he has all the answers. Probably not the exact phrasing as it's been 10-15 years, but this is what I learned: "Melissa, your bar of expectations for me as a leader is too high. I don't have all the answers. I'm figuring it out just like you." At the time, this was a serious ah-ha moment, and I'm not sure I  loved that answer. It's hard when you put people on pedestals. As you wear your leader hat, consider that others may be thinking this about you.

    2. You can't prioritize the fun stuff and let the more tedious (though critical) work slide. Sometimes your leadership will reset your priorities for you if you can't do it yourself. I found myself spending more time on some work that was more energizing for me but less impactful at the time for the organization. My boss made the call to say, "you need to sit this trip out and focus on this critical effort." I was sad but respected the decision.  It was a lesson I needed to learn about really understanding the most critical business priorities.

    3. Your stress behaviors are probably more obvious to others than you think. I've had several situations where this has come to light but the one that impacted me the most was when a leader told me, "you look like you're always stressed/upset. You've been given a nickname" (it was not flattering in the least). Wow…that one was hard to hear but once I got past the emotion of it all, I could see how I could be showing up with those expressions.  Though I wished I didn't have to hear that one, it was critical for me to recognize how I was showing up as a leader, unintentionally.

    4. Sometimes it's not about being right and saying what you think. It's often tempting to just blurt out what you're thinking. Early in my career, I did exactly that in a weekly portfolio meeting of our leadership group.  I expressed a retort to a leader's comment that publicly blamed them.  Once it came out of my mouth, I knew it was too late to take it back. I was terrified all day that I would be fired while I waited for the opportunity to be able to apologize. I'm not perfect at choosing my words and timing still but I am definitely more conscious about picking the right words and setting.

    5. We would like to believe that there's always a right or wrong answer. Unfortunately, circumstances always play a role and most of the time, we need to be comfortable living in the gray. I've often come down strongly on one side of the decision fence only to then hear more details of a situation and need to rethink my approach. What I thought was black and white was definitely not.  We need to be open to revisiting our decisions and being comfortable that there are rarely perfect answers.

    6. Just because it seems like the right thing to do and leaders agree doesn't mean you skip the stakeholder and change management of a new initiative. I was so excited once about launching a new program and was confident that our employees would like it though I knew that there would be some concerns raised.  I didn't do the due diligence needed to get a better feel on how we could address those situations upfront. Unfortunately, those details were a bigger deal than I had assumed. I could have avoided a retraction/redo of the program if I had done more due diligence with a broader stakeholder group.

    7. You have to be big enough/have the courage to try to fix what's not working. I  spent so much negative energy on a situation where I was sure the person didn't like me and was purposefully working against me. What a waste of energy because when we actually talked it through, we often agreed. Thank goodness they were willing to take that first step because I wasn't brave enough to do it.

    8. I expect a seat at the table and sometimes I'm not going to get it. Sometimes based on our role, we feel that we should be at a leadership table. Unfortunately, sometimes it's not a guarantee, and we have to work through how to handle this. When this happened to me, I was initially shocked that they didn't want or need me to be part of it.  I never fully changed the mind of this leader but over time I built a layer of trust and respect for the work that I did. Trying to muscle our way in is not the best solution when the door is not open.

    9. Having a high bar of expectations for yourself can be good but it may not always be a fair bar for your team. It's so important to meet your team where they are against that bar and raise it over time. I was often told that my expectations were really high for what good/great looked like. I assumed people thought like me, worked like I did, prioritized like I did. I was wrong and at times this bar of expectations impacted the morale of the team because I was pushing too hard.  Our desire for a one-size-fits-all approach doesn't work when it comes to motivating people.

    10. Being direct and candid is good but you can't forget to express your perspectives with care. The concept of radical candor is so key for this one…you have to care first so that you can be honest with the best of intentions. Making sure that the caring comes out is still often difficult for me in moments of high stress and that requires that we slow down and be intentional in how we communicate.

    Some of these lessons were uncomfortable to learn, but they have helped me become a different leader.  We have to be willing to hear how we're being perceived.  Even if we have the best of intentions, our delivery may not be hitting the mark so we need to be open to feeling the discomfort of not being a perfect leader for ourselves or for others.

    I will always be an imperfect leader, but I am much more intentional about how I want to show up as a leader, what I want to be known for and how I get work done through my teams.

  • 04 Jun 2022 4:57 AM | Muhunthan Chanmugham (Administrator)

    By Kim Wunner

    Ridley Park, PA, Feminist Business Coach,

    The path to becoming a coach is different for each of us. That path is part of what shapes our unique experience that we draw from to serve our clients.

    Mine was a quest for alignment.

    This was one of the darkest and most relieving days of my professional career.

    I was driving down 12th street in Philadelphia to the parking garage at 8 am on an August day, stifled by the heat, the noise and the people. I couldn't breathe. The fear was crippling, my chest about cave in. There was sheer terror and panic in my body. I craved a way out of the job, a way out of the 14 hour days, and most of all. I craved feeling at home in myself.

    I got out of my black SUV on the roof deck of the parking garage, wearing my red high heeled boots feeling the wind in my hair, I wished I could stay on that rooftop. The city looked hostile below - everyone probably happier than me, everyone able to live a peaceful successful life  - everyone better than me. I craved an ally. I craved to demonstrate how smart and capable I was.

    Standing there, I practiced rhythmic tapping on my chest to calm myself down. After months, days, nights, and weekends of endless hours of panic to try and get my job under control, my projects were over budget, clients were pissed off, and owners were mad. I was failing. I was malnourished, not sleeping well, not exercising, missing my daughter because 14 hour days demanded my attention at work, not with her.  I spent about two hours a day with her and the weekends were spent sleeping to recover, in the car running errands in weekend traffic and preparing laundry and food for the week.

    Later that day, I walked into the smartly designed austere office of one of the partners, where my boss and another partner waited for me.

    I was let go.

    A single mother, making more money than she ever had, doing a job she knew she could have been successful at, was now unemployed.

    There was relief in me.

    This led me on a quest of alignment. First, I took care of my health by taking a few weeks off, spending time on hikes and napping. I cooked good food and spent  luxurious amounts of time with my daughter.

    Next, I hired a coach and a therapist. I read books on true purpose. I confronted social norms on single motherhood and success by journaling and meeting other single mothers rejecting ideas of scarcity.  I learned the word alignment. I studied the Japanese concept of Ikigai.

    I healed. I found my voice, quiet and inside of me, she became louder.

    I admitted I wanted to be my own boss and help women and the LGBTQ communities create lives to be home in themselves.  Just like I had craved on that rooftop.

    I had gotten away from my mission, for me my life had always been about supporting women’s self-sufficiency.  I admitted I wanted to be my own boss and CREATE something. I was able to articulate that I prioritized flexibility in my schedule to be present for my daughter in any way she needed. 

    A year later, sitting in my home office, I was on a Zoom call with a round-faced woman, a successful project manager an LGBT mother of 4 adopted children. Her life had gotten overwhelming - she wasn’t showing up with joy any longer but with a short temper and anxiety. She has hired me to work with her on being able to navigate it better.

    In the middle of the call, I listened to what she was saying, tuning into the actual words and the ones that caught my attention - she was upset about her kids not being respectful. I asked the first question that I was thinking -

    “Did your parents value productivity?”

    My client’s face started to change, it lightened up a little bit, it became inquisitive. She then spent about 20 minutes on productivity in her family. How she wasn't loved for being her and how much she loved her 4 children. She just wanted their help because as a single mother with a full-time job she was swamped. The journey then came to that  it wasn't their help she needed, what she needed was to set priorities in how she managed her time because she was overwhelmed, not feeling productive and projecting onto the kids. 

    BINGO, I thought. 

    She started to cry. “Wow”, she said. “I had no idea”. From there, we spent the next three sessions walking through a vision for the life she wanted to lead. 

    That night, I felt liberated. 

    How many times did I think, “I could just listen to people for a living?” because it seemed to be my gift. I LOVE that I can listen and ask questions that make a difference to someone.

    Three months later I enrolled in my coaching certification program. Today, I am a certified, accredited coach.

    I partner with women to live in alignment.  That is what I do now. 

    I am 100% sure at least 90% of us have to go through transformation to be able to get there because we have all come to be with pressures, ideas, wounds and expectations that we developed that we were not born with.

    Those of us who have the stomach to do it, to ask the hard questions, do the hard things, face the hard truths, and see the other side of those mirrors are met with loving compassion, bliss, goodness, and freedom.

    Those of us willing to transform are the leaders. We lead the way for others.

    Yes, personally.  Yes, in business. Yes, on teams and in families and in classrooms and in communities and churches and schools and even at the dog park.

    If enough of us do this, we have a culture change.  And then, maybe we can transform together.

  • 11 Oct 2021 12:54 PM | Muhunthan Chanmugham (Administrator)

      By Scott Messer

      Hello coaches, this is the first of a series of posts on how ICF-certified coaches can become more proficient in doing the thing that drives their practices further, fastest, yet is often the most uncomfortable part of coaching, new client acquisition.

      These posts have less relevance for internal company coaches, but you’ll find value in between the lines; not what is written on the page, but what the thought behind it is.

      As a Sales leader, trainer and coach for over 30 years, I’ve noticed some basic, standard mental blocks all salespeople- oops, business developers (I know you don’t want to be considered a salesperson, even though that is what you are when talking to prospects).  Here are a few:

    • -        Credibility: You don’t think you have enough experience or subject-matter expertise
    • -        Impostor Syndrome: You don’t believe you are as good as they think you are, and you’re afraid of being found out
    • -        “I don’t like to sell”: Sales is a profession, like any other, and you don’t know what selling really is or how to do it

    There are many other blocks, but let’s start out with these three.


    A client, a person with 30-years of experience at the C-level at two multi-billion corporations, and a history of achievement, was going into consulting as a second act, and needed to learn how to sell his services.  The first thing he asked was how to establish his credibility as a consultant?  Let that sink in for a moment.  He didn’t think he had any credibility.  What is your experience and history of success?  Pretty good, right?  Here’s the big takeaway for Credibility:

    The only reason prospects speak with you is because they think you can help them.  Therefore, you have credibility.

    Impostor Syndrome:

    “I know I’m good, but I’m not that good and they’re going to find me out.”  Big-time head trash.  You are the only person who hears the voice in your head, no one else.  Coach yourself and don’t listen to the voice!  Unlock those locks and break the mental chains, and set yourself free.  Here’s the big takeaway for Impostor Syndrome:

    Yes, you are that good, or they wouldn’t think you could help them, and as long as you know more than them and how to reach them, you are more than good enough.

    “I don’t like to sell”:

    Doctor, lawyer, plumber, carpenter, coach.  These are all professions that are made up of people who know their craft, and business development is a piece of all of it.  The people at the top of their field know how to attract and win clients.  That is what sales is about, and they know how to do it.  Successful people don’t like doing the things unsuccessful people don’t like to do, but they learn how to do them.

    Most people’s idea of what sales is about comes from the movies or experiences with bad, untrained salespeople.  Good news for you, it is nothing like that, not at all.  The focus of a bad salesperson is on what they want and how to trick, trap or snare their prospect; the spotlight is on them.  They “wing it”, with no real process to follow. 

    Professional salespeople know that people buy for their reasons, not the salesperson’s (kind of sounds like coaching, doesn’t it?), and keep the spotlight shining on the prospect.  As I like to say, discover their dream and let them buy it back from you.  Professionals in any field follow a process, and so it is in sales.  Do you have a process?  For that matter, do you know what a sales process is?  Takeaway:

    You can be fabulous at what you do, but if you don’t know how to bring in clients, so what, and now that you know it, what are you going to do about it?


    Scott Messer, Sales Evolution CEO

    Scott’s career as a business coach and entrepreneur spans over 25 years.

    Scott has an uncanny ability to cut through the static and get to the real issues in difficult coaching situations. His ability to understand personal motivation is why so many clients turn to him for coaching when confronted with those really tough issues that need resolved.  Coaching Evolution is based around his 30+ years of coaching and sales experience, and recognizing that people do things for their reasons, not for anyone else’s.

    He can be reached at (610) 662-3199 or, or find him at

  • 19 Jul 2021 10:26 AM | Deleted user

    The results are in! Here are the results of our recent ICF Board election. Congratulations to our new Board Members, Alec Arons, Sharon Brokenbough, Alicia Daugherty, and Steven Jones who have all been elected for a 2-year period. Many thanks to our retiring Board Members, Carl Barringer, Dawn Reid, and Chris Cavalieri for their stellar service in pursuit of Coaching Excellence!

    The new Board from July 1, 2021 is as follows:

    Officer Board Roles

    President - Cassandra Moore, PCC, CPC (2021-2023)

    Secretary - Beverley Doody, ACC, CPC (2020-2022)

    Treasurer – Alec Arons, MBA, ACC (2021-2023)

    At Large Board Roles

    Makeda Brown, ACC, CPC, MSHRD (2020-2022)

    Sharon Brokenbough, MBA ACC, PHR, SHRM-CP (2021-2023)

    Mo Chanmugham, Esq., ACC (2020-2022)

    Alicia Daugherty, MBA, ACC, CPCC (2021-2023)

    Lara Heacock, MBA, PCC (2020-2022)

    Steven Jones, Ph.D, ACC (2021-2023)

    Julie Ketover, JD, PCC (2020-2022)

    Vince Schiela PCC, ECPC (2020-2022)

    Nancy O. Singer, MBA, PCC (2020-2022)

    Special thank you to Dr. Dawn Reid, ACC and Chris Cavalieri, PCC, CDTLF for their official board service over the last two years and their continued active participation.

  • 08 Jul 2021 8:33 AM | Alec Arons

    Scarcity vs Abundance – Inquiring Minds Want to Know

    As a reformed Scarcity-based thinker, I have to admit that living with an abundance mindset has been one of the most transformative experiences of my life. Now, that might come as a shock to anyone who has known me for any length of time. It might even shock you that I am sharing this level of detail about myself. 

    But as I have been developing the discipline of creating my own blog, the best piece of advice I’ve come across was from my friend Richard — and it was free. 

    He and I have talked about how important it is to write from a place of personal passion, from your distinct point of view, to give people the opportunity to engage with you. With that in mind, I am going to try something new this week. I am going to raise a topic and ask you to think about it. And like Linda Richmond, the old Mike Meyers character from SNL, I want to suggest you talk amongst yourselves and leave a comment below.

    Do you have a Scarcity or Abundance Mindset?

    As I said above. I am a reformed Scarcity-based thinker. I was an incredibly competitive person in my corporate days. I shared very little with colleagues and “friends” based on the belief that there are finite opportunities out there to be successful, and each one of us needs to know about those opportunities before anyone else to gain an edge. 

    I have come to realize that not every opportunity I hear about is the right opportunity for me and perhaps that might be the case with others. I also came to realize that if you do not share your ideas and insights with others, you might be robbing the lifeblood of a great opportunity you do not need to own yourself.

    Having gently hit myself in the head with this 2 by 4, I began to listen more to people around me. I started to share more information with my limited network, which in turn has resulted in my developing a more vibrant network. I have also been introduced to a number of new groups and online communities where I have learned about business and learning opportunities that continue to force me into this new world of abundance. And the funny thing is, it always returns my generosity tenfold.

    Let’s get started

    In the weeks to come, I plan to share more from a place of abundance in terms of books I have read, coaching tips, and photography pointers. I am even willing to share some of my most guarded secrets as people return to attending live sporting events. My shortcuts and parking tips to Yankee Stadium, MetLife Stadium, and the Philadelphia Sports Complex. Just subscribe to my blog.

    As for the books I am reading, I have thoroughly enjoyed Thinking Again by Adam Grant. (Please share what you are reading in the comments below.)

    So satisfy my curiosity now. And be honest with yourself now. What’s the level of your scarcity mindset?

    Do you covet information about opportunities, for fear someone else will take them and run with them faster than you will?

    Are you reluctant to share insights and assistance unless you are paid for it? 

    I would really like to know.


  • 04 Jul 2021 9:00 PM | Muhunthan Chanmugham (Administrator)

    By Dr. Dawn C. Reid, PhD, ACC 

    There is a lot of "buzz" around Critical Race Theory (CRT). Many of the coaches I mentor and train (especially those who identify as white) are not clear on what CRT is and why there is so much opposition towards it.  Actually, it appears that many nations as a whole, particularly the U.S., seem to be confused as well. 

    We Are The City/Dr. Yvette Ankrah MBE, used with permission.

    Diverse Community: Source: We Are The City/Dr. Yvette Ankrah MBE, used with permission.

    For instance, in 2020, former president Donald Trump issued an executive order to cease diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) training because some of these training courses used CRT as a framework. Specifically, some Republican party members denounced CRT's merit and claimed CRT teaches racism and sexism, is divisive, and blames or scapegoats white men for the social ills that exist. As such, those who oppose CRT believe we should focus on exceptionalism and only the "good"  that has come from our past, ignoring the trauma racism and slavery has played in our nation. In addition, some who oppose CRT also deny that racism or sexism currently exists, which contradicts over 50 years of research and literature in the social science field on this topic. Therefore, opponents of CRT claim that racism is a past issue that no longer exists, and has no application in our current society. Any so-called racially-based experiences are exaggerated, media or liberal propaganda, or an excuse to justify lazy, apathetic behavior.

    What is CRT?

    Before I address the actual topic of CRT and Coaching, I wanted to first clarify what CRT is and why it's important to our field and society overall. CRT refers to the "practice of interrogating the role of race and racism in society that emerged in the legal academy and spread to other fields of scholarship," (George, 2021). Meaning, CRT is an academic or scientific exercise that  examines how the social construct of race is embedded in our institutions (e.g., legal system, education system, laws, policies, etc.). Kimberlé Crenshaw, a legal scholar, coined the term “CRT."  Likewise the concept of CRT has been around since the 1970s and has been researched worldwide. The purpose of CRT is to understand the inherent nature of institutional racism and how it creates a type of classism, where people of color (POC; specifically those of African descent, but also any group not identifies as being part of the dominant social order) are positioned to be a type of "lower" class group and justifies why they may have less success or limited access to resources. Furthermore, CRT proposes institutional racism in our society perpetuates the inferiority of  POC, which impacts how different groups are treated and unconsciously condones our implicit and explicit biases we have towards other social groups. Therefore, CRT suggests institutional racism creates systemic and sanctioned social inequities.

    Additionally, CRT investigates the role of gender, sexual orientation, diverse abilities, and how other social identities intersect. For example, a male who identifies as gay and Black may have different social experiences or social injustices than a female who identifies as Asian, biracial, and Buddhist. Therefore, CRT offers a critique of how intersectionality impacts lived experiences. The outcome of CRT is to identify ways in which society normalizes the exclusion of or deem "abnormal" individuals who identify as non-binary, and outside of the socially determined concepts of male/female roles. CRT also suggests those who do not conform to age expectations, religious expectations or what is socially described as "normal" (i.e., white/Anglo-Saxon, male, Christian, and/or Eurocentric) are relegated to second-class citizenry. I have coined this term "Critical Social Identity Theory" or CSIT, which is a term that I believe expands on the application and implication of CRT towards other social identity constructs, and brings more awareness to intersectionality. I plan to write more about this at a later date. But, a great article to read on the tenets of CRT (and by association CSIT) and its origin would be: "A Lesson on Critical Race Theory" by Janel George. In the reference/resource section, I have also provided additional reading material to support this article discussion and CRT. In particular, review the list of racist and misogynistic laws that were enforced and some are still on the books in some states or towns: A History of Racist U.S. Laws.

    It is important to note that CRT proposes our society can create laws or policies that maintain and enforce equality and dismantle systems that adhere to racism, classism, and other social identity exclusions to establish a more egalitarian and equitable society. Moreover, the goal of CRT is not to demonize white people as a group or to blame an individual white person today for the consequences of our institutions. However, based on our history, we cannot deny or ignore the impact of slavery, Jim Crow, and other laws that were created and maintained by white men. Likewise, these laws and policies were instituted to reinforce white supremacy and deny nonwhites equal protections under the law and due process, equal access to resources, and equal participation in our society. Again, CRT studies the role social identity plays in creating, maintaining and enforcing laws and  policies. It also informs us on how institutions normalize racism (or classism) to distribute resources or apply laws within our society.  Although current white people as individuals may not be directly responsible for the systemic social inequalities/inequities that exist, indirectly the institutionalization of race, age, gender and other social identities, without investigating the role of identity creates and maintains the caste category created by our white forefathers to see non-white people as inferior groups (compared with their own) and thus sanction second-class citizenry and unequal treatment within our institutions.

    Unclelkt. Used under CC0

    Helping hands.: Source: Unclelkt. Used under CC0

    The Institution of Coaching through the CRT Lens

    Coaching as a field is an institution. It has policies (coaching standards and ethics). There are frameworks or theories that govern our understanding and application of coaching in different  areas and other fields. The institution of coaching has a culture, language and approach that members in the field are strongly encouraged to follow. Moreover, the institution of coaching is maintained by people. As such, coach training, coaching services, and coaching organizations are influenced by the same concerns as other organizations when it comes to diversity, equity, and inclusion. Meaning,  albeit you and I may be credentialed, experienced coaches, we are subject to our institutional and cultural programming, as well as lived experiences. We all are exposed to our social institutions, concepts, ideologies, and dogma. This includes our education system, religion/faith-based beliefs, and upbringing. Therefore, we can surmise that our implicit biases are a product of our social identity, which has shaped our mindset. In turn, our mindset influences our behavior, thoughts, and feelings/emotions. Meaning, our worldview and how we engage people are shaped by our institutional exposure. Coaching is part of our social dynamic. Furthermore, both experiencing racism AND not experiencing racism can be equally true depending on your lived experience.

    When we partner with a coachee in a coaching session, we bring our whole being, past experiences, as well as biases (Bandura, 1969; Bandura, 1977; Cherry, 2017). Likewise, our client is doing the same. We don't leave our culture or institutional experiences outside of the session. While we are taught in our coach training to suspend our judgments and assumptions, it takes continual practice and awareness to remain a curious observer while being non-attached or nonjudgmental. We must remember that our biases tend to be automatic responses, which are learned, and are institutionalized by our dominant social system. Furthermore, in coaching as an institution, CRT can serve to inform us of how social identity influences goal attainment, motivation, resilience and our worldview based on how we are treated as individuals or group membership, or on how we identify. How we construct coaching standards and ethics, or how coaching is applied, is influenced by the institutions that teach us.  

    Within the institution of coaching, those who founded our current paradigms set the standards. If we examine the makeup of who dominates within the coaching institution we will find that the majority of leaders, coaches, and policy makers are white.  As such, Eurocentrism is normalized into the institution. So, what happens when a coachee does not fit into this paradigm? In my view, the coachee becomes socially inhibited--even at the unconscious level, and their lived experiences can be suppressed by the coach and the coaching approach. Take for example a case study presented in my coaching group. A coachee, who works in a male-dominated industry, had shared that she felt she was discriminated against at work because of her gender. The coach (credentialed and experienced) asked "what else could it be" other than discrimination? Likewise, in a personal coaching experience, I had a Black coach state to me "maybe it's you or how you see things' ' when I shared I felt I may not be taken as seriously as my white male counterparts on a high-visibility project. In both cases, there was no empathy or holding space for the coachee's experience. The questions and statements in these two cases implied that the coachee's perception of the experience may be self-imposed, false or unreal. CRT can be used to examine how race plays a role in the way we view our clients, ask questions, and how coaching organizations create and enforce coaching ethics, policies or standards.

    Another CRT critique in coaching is that some institutions adhere to strict rules about how to apply coaching techniques without considering the impact the approach has on one's social identity. Meaning, if you are a coach then you should only ask questions and share observations in context to the client's responses to your question. We are discouraged from sharing deeper insight from the perspective of storytelling, advice giving, lived experiences, or points of view, for example. While we are prohibited from giving advice and non-coaching approaches, there are some situations where the coachee needs guidance to understand how behavior works under specific conditions. When working with diverse coachees it is very important to hold space for storytelling to sensitively leverage lived experiences as a tool to empower our coachee. Meaning, guidance, mentoring, or advice may not be coaching, but these tools are part of the coaching process and can better help diverse coachees if implemented with coaching. As such, the goal of CRT in coaching is to serve as a tool to critique the coaching institution. The outcome, then, is to ensure we are adhering to the below ICF ethical criteria, and to view the institution of coaching through the lens of race and/or social identity:

    Code of Ethics, Part 4 (ICF, 2021):

    Section I.11: Am aware of and actively manage any power or status difference between the Client and me that may be caused by cultural, relational, psychological, or contextual issues. 

    Section II.23: Hold responsibility for being aware of and setting clear, appropriate, and culturally sensitive boundaries that govern interactions, physical or otherwise. 

    Section IV.25: Avoid discrimination by maintaining fairness and equality in all activities and operations, while respecting local rules and cultural practices. This includes, but is not limited to, discrimination based on age, race, gender expression, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion, national origin, disability, or military status.  

    In conclusion, CRT is a tool of study. It allows us to examine our institutions, including coaching, under the social construct of race and identity. It questions if our policies, laws, and institutions are fair to all members who participate in it or who are exposed to it. CRT allows us to identify how we measure, gaze, and respond to otherness in comparison to ourselves and our social order. CRT can magnify the gaps for which our biases and understanding of other people are construed or skewed.  For coaching, we can use CRT as a means to ensure we honor DEI and check or weigh our cultural intelligence to see where our cultural or social identity sensitivity may be lacking within the institution of coaching.

    Resources / References

    Alto Arizona. (n.d.). A History of Racist U.S. Laws. Retrieved from 

    Bandura, A. (1969). Principles of behavior modification. Holt, Rinehart &Winston: New York, NY.

    Bandura, A. (1977). Social learning theory. Prentice-Hall: Englewood Cliffs, NJ.

    Cherry, K. (2017). What is social learning theory? A closer look at how people learn through observation. Retrieved from

    George, J., (2021).  A Lesson on Critical Race Theory. Retrieved from

    International Coaching Federation. (2021). ICF Code of Ethics. Retrieved from

    Munger, F. W., & Seron, C. (2017). Race, Law, and Inequality, 50 Years After the Civil Rights Era. Annual Review of Law and Social Science, 13(1), 331-350. Retrieved from

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