Roundtable Open Letter

Roundtable Open Letter

9 February 2023 Race Equality Week

An Open Letter to Training, Education and Qualification Providers in Coaching, Mentoring and Supervision regarding Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging in Coaching and Coaching Supervision 

Released to coincide with the Race Equality Week (6-10 February 2023), this Open Letter has been drafted by the professional body Roundtable towards Race Equity in the Coaching Profession, hosted by Coaching at Work.

Race Equality Week is an annual is an UK-wide initiative to address the barriers to race equality in the workplace. The theme for 2023 is ‘It’s Everyone’s Business’ because tackling race inequality is everyone’s business. Hashtags: #ItsEveryonesBusiness #ActionDrivesChange


The signatories of this letter are:

Association of Coaching Supervisors (AoCS) Felicia Lauw (global voice for diversity and inclusion)

Association for Professional Executive Coaching and Supervision (APECS) Will James (director of inclusion and sustainability)

Coaching at Work Liz Hall (editor)

Coaches and Mentors of South Africa (COMENSA) Mokadi Mathye (president) and Ashnee Naidoo (chair, social ethics committee)

European Mentoring and Coaching Council (EMCC UK) Rachael Hanley-Browne (president) and Hande Yasargil (director of diversity and inclusion)

UK International Coaching Federation (UK ICFLise Bruynhooge (president) and Henriane Mourgue D’Algue (lead on inclusion and belonging)

International Society for Coaching Psychology (ISCP) Angela Puri (equality, diversity and inclusion lead)

Individual signatory:

Sile Walsh, committee member at Psychological Society of Ireland Coaching Psychology Special Interest Group

Other bodies represented at the Roundtable are the Association for Coaching (AC) and the British Psychology Society Division of Coaching Psychology (BPS DoCP).

Following on from the Roundtable’s statement in 2021 that Professional coaching bodies agree: ‘we stand against racism’ and commit to further dialogue around collaboration’ and subsequent conversations within the Roundtable, Coaching at Work community and in the professional bodies represented, we’ve noticed and experienced that we all have a way to go to improve how we talk about and address race-related  issues within our profession.  Doing so is certainly not just a nice-to-have. Indeed, we believe that Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging (DEIB) directly impacts how we serve and support our clients, including how we address national legal requirements, build awareness of bias, foster psychological safety in the coaching relationship, and build our own capacity to process our own experiences of discrimination as the discriminator and discriminated through self-awareness and the psychology of inclusion.

We’ll continue to address this within the Roundtable and in individual professional bodies including through the ‘Charter Against Racism’ (this is the working title and may be changed) in coaching, mentoring and supervision that we are working on.

In the meantime, we call upon all training, education and certification providers in coaching, mentoring and supervision to help the profession move further forward to greater diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging. And we have some requests for you all:

  • Review progress towards your organisation’s DEIB targets
  • To demonstrate your commitment to DEIB, please include training and development specifically about DEIB in your curriculum to raise awareness around DEIBthrough substantive learning content
  • Start thinking about how you can embed DEIB across the business, including in all training and development

Armed with more knowledge and wisdom, practitioners will be more confident about addressing and calling out discrimination, in ourselves,  within our profession, but also with our clients and their wider systems. Education about, fluency in, and awareness of DEIB within our profession is how we can collectively tackle racism and injustices at scale. Please help us to start to achieve this goal.

Following exploration within the Roundtable, we suggest principles covered in training and development would include amongst others:

  • Legal
  • requirements around DEIB
  • Identifying and working to address systemic barriers
  • Building the coach’s/mentor’s/supervisor’s own awareness around DEI including exploring unconscious bias
  • How to fosterpsychologically safe inclusive spaces given the sensitivity of this territory.

Roundtable participants who have contributed to the creation of the Open Letter are:

  • Jeannette Marshall (AC)
  • Felicia Lauw (AoCS)
  • Will James (APECS)
  • Natalie Lancer & Tia Moin (BPS DoCP)
  • Liz Hall (Coaching at Work)
  • Ashnee Naidoo (COMENSA)
  • Rachael Hanley-Browne (EMCC UK)
  • Hande Yasargil (EMCC UK)
  • Angela Puri (ISCP)
  • Síle Walsh (PSI CP SIG)
  • Henriane Mourge D’Algue (UK ICF)

Find out more and share your stories and responses

We would love to hear from training, education and qualification providers who are already active in the DEIB arena and who are willing to share their stories and experiences with us as we build our ‘Charter Against Racism’ (this is the working title and may be changed) in coaching, mentoring and supervision.

We are setting up a website for the Roundtable Towards Race Equity in the Coaching Professio– details to follow.

Need some help?

We will be uploading information about the Open Letter and other initiatives to the website and various other sites, and also plan to include potentially supportive documents and reflection questions.

Explore with us

We are hosting a free Roundtable webinar on Thursday 23 March, 9.00-10.00 (UK time), with representatives from the Roundtable to discuss and explore the Open Letter and its implications. Eventbrite details to follow.

About the Roundtable Towards Race Equity in the Coaching Profession

This is an initiative launched by Coaching at Work in September 2021, gathering and welcoming professional bodies in a neutral and safe space to explore what each body is doing around race, to learn from each other and how we might collaborate to move further towards race equity in the profession.