3 ways to stop carrying your own ‘baggage’ into coaching sessions

Have you ever stopped to think about the attitudes and assumptions you carry with you into coaching sessions?

Cartoon backpackerLet’s face it, no coach can enter a coaching session completely free from his or her own ‘baggage’. We all bear the marks of our particular backgrounds, perspectives, education, relationship history and prejudices. We’ll never get rid of our ‘baggage’ and prejudices completely, and having them is a natural state of affairs. But is it one we as coaches should sit back and accept without question?

I’d say we shouldn’t just sit back and accept this state of affairs. Why? Because if we are unaware that we carry around with us prejudices and ‘baggage’, or if we refuse to admit this is the case, those prejudices and ‘baggage’ will come back to bite us in coaching sessions, potentially damaging the quality of the service we can offer our coachees. Those prejudices and ‘baggage’ will get in the way of our ability to offer the kind of non-judgemental individually-tailored coaching our clients have every right to expect.

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4 bite-sized insights into making our coaching materials more accessible

Have you ever thought about how accessible your slides and other coaching materials are?

I have to admit I’ve been as guilty as anyone else of being blithely unaware of how inaccessible most resources are for those living with a variety of conditions. From low vision to being hard of hearing, from having motor or physical disabilities to living with dyslexia or being on the autistic spectrum – there are a whole host of people out there whose needs are not normally considered when learning and other resources are being designed. Most coaches live and breathe to help other people find ways of overcoming challenges they face or dig deep to become even better than they already are. Yet, we may not spend even a few moments considering how easy it can be to make our materials accessible to all.

Cartoon man and blank slide showI’ve had the good fortune to benefit from a CPD session on this subject delivered by two specialists in accessible design. Emma Pearson is Learning Developer (Inclusive Practice) at The University of Manchester in the UK, and she teamed up with her colleague Carlene Barton (e-Learning Technologist) to produce an eye-opening set of insights which revolutionised the way I view the whole issue of accessibility. You’ll be glad to know that they were kind enough to make a recording to accompany the slides of their session after the event for the benefit of anyone who wasn’t there on the day. You can take a look at it here. Remember to click on the CC icon in the bottom right hand corner of the screen to see the subtitles!

What follows is my top  4  takeaways from the session, which I’m sharing with you so you can start to make your resources more accessible too.

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