This blog post is about dismantling unhealthy power dynamics in the coaching industry.
The more that I educate myself on systemic issues, the harder it is to believe that the coaching industry is one only of ‘light and love’.
In fact, I’ve come to the realisation that unless we want to unconsciously perpetuate harm, it’s necessary to question and shift unhealthy power dynamics (decolonise) in the coaching industry. This means taking an active stand against any practices that disempower, manipulate and exploit.
I’m very much in the process of thinking this through and questioning my own practices - so I’m definitely not an expert in this.
But I have started the process by reflecting upon the ‘coloniser’s mindset’ & how it shows up in the coaching industry:
- A coach with a ‘coloniser’s mindset’ believes that their coaching, product or service is 100% needed by the client and without it, they’ll fail. And if they don’t buy it, they blame the prospect for having a ‘scarcity mindset.’
- A coach with such a mindset will also view their Instagram followers or email list as a resource from which they can make money, rather than seeing and valuing them first as a community of people.
- These coaches may create an elite popular group vibe around them - to be in the cool club, you have to pay extreme prices.
- They may believe that what worked for them will work for everyone else. They teach a blanket approach and don’t take into account gender, race, ancestral trauma and personal history. They might gaslight or teach toxic positivity.
- And finally, they may flaunt their client's success as their own, taking subtle ownership of their client results by needing recognition as being the person's coach.
If you recognise yourself in this - it’s not your fault - it’s what we’ve been taught. And if you're recognising that you've been on the receiving end, you're now more aware and so can make more empowered decisions about who you look up to and learn from.
I personally believe that it is up to us to seek leaders who're demonstrating their own messy processes of dismantling unhealthy power dynamics, for the empowerment of all.
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