How Do You Assist in Developing a More Inclusive Company Culture?

How Do You Assist in Developing a More Inclusive Company Culture?

In the quest to build a more inclusive company culture, we turned to six seasoned Executive Coaches for their expert advice and personal insights. From fostering awareness and inclusive policies to creating milestones for an inclusive culture, these professionals offer a wealth of experience on guiding executives toward a more diverse and empathetic workplace.

  • Foster Awareness and Inclusive Policies
  • Cultivate Self-Awareness and Action Plans
  • Value Input for Authentic Inclusion
  • Guide Executives in Diversity and Empathy
  • Listen to Define a Shared Inclusion Vision
  • Create Milestones for an Inclusive Culture

Foster Awareness and Inclusive Policies

Coaches assist executives in developing a more inclusive company culture by raising awareness about diversity and unconscious biases, fostering personal reflection, and guiding the creation of inclusive policies. They empower leaders to support employee resource groups and create environments where all individuals feel valued and respected. In my experience, coaching has led to transformative changes, such as CEOs championing initiatives like mentorship programs for minority employees and inclusive leadership training for managers.

As a Muslim, being mindful of parties involving food during Ramadan has been particularly helpful, making me feel like I matter and that my religious practices are respected. Through targeted interventions and candid conversations, coaches facilitate cultivating environments where diversity is celebrated, inclusion is embraced, and belonging is the norm.

Tazeen Raza
Tazeen RazaExecutive Coach, Tazeen Raza

Cultivate Self-Awareness and Action Plans

Self-awareness is a primary outcome a coach brings to their client, helping them see themselves as others see them, and to make the necessary shifts to ensure they're the powerhouse leader they're meant to be, and their people need.

The same is applied when developing an inclusive culture: have them assess the culture they currently have, discover how they define an inclusive culture, identify the current alignment to that definition, and engage team members to create a plan to fill the gaps.

For example, bringing to light the controlling and micromanaging culture a client had created compared to the collaborative and teaming culture they wanted, he was open to hearing straight from his people the issues and opportunities there were, and bringing members together to define a 12-month action plan.

Within 15 months, his own leadership and team engagement was dramatically transformed with recognition across the business, resulting in improved collaboration, productivity, and overall effectiveness in achieving their goals.

P.S. - If anyone says they can change a culture quickly for you, run. Transformation takes patience, courage, perseverance, determination, and discipline.

Bernadette BoasExecutive Coach, Trainer, and Speaker, Ball of Fire Coaching

Value Input for Authentic Inclusion

An inclusive culture is not just one where people are invited to the table, but one that seeks their input and values what they bring to the table. I interviewed over 200 professionals at various levels and in various industries and asked each person, "If you could give your executive team one piece of advice, what would it be?" About 80% responded with a story about how the decisions made at the top don't translate well to the folks doing the work, and they don't feel as though the executives know or understand what it really looks like to execute on those decisions.

As an Executive Coach, I help senior leaders see their blind spots. You can't be all things to all people, at least not well. Anytime I am working with leaders who are receiving a lot of pushback about changes they are trying to make, one of the first things I ask them is, "What input did you gather from the people who will be affected BEFORE you decided what change to implement?" The answer is usually, "I didn't."

You can't just invite people to the party and call your company culture inclusive; you also have to ask them to dance.

Shaina Lane
Shaina LaneOwner, Certified Executive Coach, Premier Professional Coaching

Guide Executives in Diversity and Empathy

As a coach, I've had the privilege of guiding executives toward fostering a more inclusive company culture. By first understanding the unique dynamics of their organization, I collaborate with them to identify areas for improvement and implement tailored strategies. One example is working closely with an executive team to redefine their hiring practices, ensuring diversity and inclusion are prioritized at every stage. Additionally, I facilitate workshops and training sessions to cultivate empathy and understanding among team members, fostering an environment where everyone feels valued and respected.

Through ongoing support and feedback, I help executives navigate challenges and champion diversity as a core value within their company. Witnessing the transformation from a homogeneous culture to one that celebrates diversity has been incredibly rewarding, both personally and professionally. Ultimately, by empowering executives to lead by example and champion inclusivity, we pave the way for a brighter, more equitable future in the workplace.

Christopher Salem
Christopher SalemBusiness Executive Coach - Corporate Trainer - Business Acceleration Strategist, CRS Group Holdings LLC

Listen to Define a Shared Inclusion Vision

The first step in developing a more inclusive company culture is simply listening.

And since there are quite a few conflicting ideas around what 'inclusive' even means, it's essential for an executive to get input from their teams about their particular vision of 'inclusion' so that everyone's on the same page and supports its development.

And that involves listening.

How can a coach help with that? By allowing the leader to sift through the nebulous layers of what inclusion is, define and design a vision that is aligned with business objectives, and devise a communication strategy that will involve others in its implementation.

Again, it's all about listening, as listening is the quiet power that fuels trust and fosters a creative space for innovation and sustainable excellence.

Sylvia Larrass
Sylvia LarrassExecutive Coach, Sylvia Larrass Voice and Leadership Excellence

Create Milestones for an Inclusive Culture

A coach can help an executive develop a more inclusive culture by helping the executive understand what is contributing to a non-inclusive culture and developing a vision for the inclusive culture they desire. With this vision, the coach will help the executive create milestones and action steps that will determine if they are on course for their vision. Along the way, the executive will encounter roadblocks and obstacles and can bring those challenges to their coach to develop more awareness and identify ways of being that will be in line with their goals.

Erin ConlonExecutive Coach & Founder, EPC LLC

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