I am currently reading Coaching for Equity: Conversations That Change Practice by Elena Aguilar. Each chapter ends with a series of reflective questions for the reader to consider in our own equity and coaching journey, and I’ve decided to blog some of my reflections. I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
Chapter 8: What You Need to Know about Identity
“Coaching for equity requires that we manage our discomfort around discussing race and class and identity differences.” ~ Aguilar, page 207
This is another chapter I wish I had access to years ago. In my previous district, I coached many leaders with identity markers different than my own, more so than in any other role, and I wish I had acknowledged those differences more openly.
What questions came up about the identities of people you coach?
This chapter is an important reminder for white coaches – while talking about race often makes us feel uncomfortable, when we bring up differences between us and those we coach, we often make others more comfortable. My discomfort in a conversation cannot compare to a BIPOC’s discomfort in the many times across their day when they experience racism. This is a great way to start: “I want to acknowledge the differences in our gender, age, and race. What comes up for you as you think about our work together and these differences?”
There are fewer reflective questions at the end of this chapter, so instead I want to share a few more quotes that stood out to me as I read.
“I’m curious how you identify in terms of your sociopolitical identity markers – race, class, gender, and so on. Of your identity markers, which ones feel more important to you?”
“We learn about our client’s sense of identity for a few reasons: so we can understand how they see themselves, so we can coach them into deeper insights about themselves, and so we can coach them into greater understanding about how their markers show up in their teaching and leadership.”
“Given that the experience of white people is dominant in our media, curriculum, and literature, people of color know a lot about white people. But white people don’t know a lot about people of color, or what they know is distorted or inaccurate.”
Coaching for Equity Reflections Series: