White Privilege and Authenticity in the Coaching Relationship

  • Published
  • Updated
  • 3 mins read

White Privilege and Authenticity in the Coaching Relationship

You are currently viewing White Privilege and Authenticity in the Coaching Relationship

This is a guest post by my daughter, Rhiannon Galen-Personick. She has been one of my greatest teachers and challengers in my journey to better understand my privilege.

I was recently asked about how privilege shows up in the coaching relationship. Although the topic of privilege has been discussed in various capacities, I have not yet seen or read enough people tackling the issue of White Privilege. Let me one up that, I have not yet seen WHITE PEOPLE tackle this issue.

As a white, cisgender female, who provides coaching, I have a lot of privilege. The number one area that I have the most privilege in is my Whiteness.

With that said, I thought it would be helpful to provide some of my thoughts and suggestions on how to address it in both the role of being Coached as well as Coaching others.

Let’s look at it from Three main areas – self-awareness, ask/address, and learn & growth.

We not only have to do this for ourselves but also have the skills to assist the person we are coaching.

Start with ourselves as an individual. What are the barriers that exist, both implicit and explicit?

For the person we are coaching, a great place to start is through supportive and reflective questions. Assist them in both identifying areas of need and working through each area of need. Use Role Playing as a way to support their learning

Start with asking how you identify and how each aspect of your identity matter/means to you.  Then we want to connect similarly with those that we coach.

For example, ask “As a White cis-woman coach, how can I best support you?” “As a woman of color, what would you like for me to know about you?”  or “How should we discuss race in our coaching sessions?”

Once an area of need has been identified, begin to address; use the safe space of coaching to explore. Role Play!

With identified gaps go out and learn as much as you can! Some great books to connect directly with Race, Racism, and White Privilege:

  • How to be an Anti-Racist, Ibram X. Kendi,

  • White Fragiility, Robin DiAngelo

  • The New Jim Crow, Michelle Alexander

  • Understanding White Privilege: Francis E. Kendall

And there’s a caveat to learning. As a white coach, it is up to us to learn independently/in our coaching sessions. Do not put the weight on people of color to your teacher.

Any time we continue to learn, we grow within our own self-awareness and our authenticity. By being our true authentic selves, we create space for others to be their authentic selves. This is where growth and change can occur…which I believe is the “secret sauce” of an amazing coaching relationship.

Leave a Reply