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The Difference Between Diversity Training and Diversity Coaching

By: Paul Medea


The Business Case for Diversity

Diversity in the workplace is not a new concept, but it is becoming increasingly important to train and coach members of staff in this area. The models of diversity in the workplace have been in development since the 1960s and the benefits are plain to see.

Businesses are blessed with better decision making and improved problems solving. Creativity and innovation is improved which leads to even more benefits down the line. A business can compete better in the global market when it works hard to encourage diversity and it allows employees to feel a sense of belonging. This in turn increases their desire to work for the company and improves the reputation that the organisation has at the same time. Clearly, diversity is not only beneficial, but it is essential for the success of a business endeavoring to grow in today’s modern world.

Why Diversity Training and Coaching is Important

Before we get started, it’s important to know why diversity training and coaching is so essential. Diversity and inclusion is not something that comes naturally to all. Whether we like to admit it or not, we all have bias within ourselves that may go undetected to the untrained eye but has its own negative impact at some point. Therefore, it is essential that diversity training and coaching is part of a business model and affects the way that an organization operates.

Diversity training and diversity coaching may sound the same, as they both work towards common goals, however they are different and not interchangeable. This information will help you to understand the difference so that you can take action to improve the diversity of your company.

What is Diversity Training?

Diversity training is a traditional form of education that usually involves a classroom like setting where employees gather as students to listen to talks and take part in workshops. These training sessions give the learners the specific knowledge they need to know about the diversity and inclusion in their workplace. It can help staff members to understand the impact of biased behavior and to learn how to identify bias when it presents itself.

The strategies of diversity training focus on interpersonal conflicts and educating the participants in the company policies and procedures of their employment in relation to bias and discrimination. Additionally, learners will be taught some basic information about different cultures with the goal of making them aware of the cultural differences that can exist.

Diversity training focuses more on the access of such information than on the application of the information, leading some to conclude that it’s not an effective form of education. However, it does form the basis of a solid effort towards improved diversity and inclusion and is therefore still important within a workplace.

The Format

Diversity trainers often teach standards for new hires, or if there are any changes in company policies and practises. These trainers are involved in employee orientation and usually are brought in to assist with a specific need and follow a standard formula.

The Foundation

The foundation of training is to share knowledge and skills, often in a structure and pre-set way. Therefore, it may be beneficial to think about how to make the training more interactive so that learners take something useful away from it.

The Duration

Training is a one-time thing and often doesn’t take very long. It’s designed to be a quick and simple step to get everyone on the same page.

What is Diversity Coaching?

On the other hand, diversity coaching is more personal, taking a one-on-one approach with individual staff members. This more intimate, collaborative environment helps people to take an honest look at their own personal beliefs and biases which allows them to explore their feelings without the fear of judgement from others.

The goal of diversity coaching is to give individuals the knowledge and skills they need to act on the information they take in on a day to day basis, in real life situations. It goes beyond simply learning the facts but applying them in their actions. With a coaching program is used in conjunction with a training program, the two can work together to equip team members in not only a knowledgeable way, but also in a practical way too.

The Format

A diversity and inclusion coach will work with their clients to help them reach an overall goal, giving learners the autonomy to experiment with different things to see which gets them the most positive results. Coaches tend to work with established employees and help them to improve their relationships with others through reflection and mindfulness.

The Foundation

Coaching is more than the transference of knowledge, but it relies on asking questions and making observations. Learners have the freedom to address specific issues with the goal of helping them to gain a better perspective and formulate actions that will help them to keep growing and improving even after the coaching period is over.

The Duration

Coaches may not always be hired for a set amount of time but instead be contracted until a certain goal is reached. They take a more personal approach, assessing the individual needs of their learners and work towards helping them progress at their own speed. Diversity coaching is more about changing a person’s thinking and behaviour for good.

It’s Time to Get Training and Get Coaching

Now you understand the difference between diversity training and coaching, it’s time to think about the needs of your business and your unique employees to decide on the route that you will take. IN summary, training focuses on learning, while coaching focuses on acting in line with what you learn. While both may seem similar, they are both individual important and necessary.

Therefore, you need to know when to implement both strategies in order to improve the working environment of your company. Never assume that new starters know the basics, and never forget to support your established employees to keep improving. With diversity training and coaching, you can ensure success for your whole business.

Published: February 27, 2023

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