Could Coaching help solve Systemic Inequality?

Do you believe that we need to 'be the change we want to see in the world'? 

For me, personal development has never only been about 'feeling happy'. I have always believed that being our 'best self' is a journey to be more empowered, and that means being able to make a bigger difference in the world.

This is why I am throwing a whole heap of energy into doing a postgraduate research project to find out if coaching can change unconscious bias. I want to see if coaching can directly support creating a more fair and equitable society.

Through research into unconscious bias, we know that people grow into beliefs that maintain the status quo of an unequal society.  Even when, as adults, we consciously change our beliefs about other groups of people, we are still influenced by stereotypes at a deeper level. These reflect in decisions and behaviours towards others, where we unintentionally contribute to maintaining the status quo.

We know this thanks to a 5-minute online test that has been around for 20 years now: the Implicit Association Test (IAT).  The IAT has shown us that good intentions for living in a just world are not enough to undo a bias that is ingrained into us from an early age.

What I want to know is, does this really mean that we have to accept it? I, personally, would like to see if it is possible to change something that I did not choose, and that limits the meanings that I may be making about other people.

Unfortunately, the research into unconscious bias to date has not offered us practical solutions about how to change it.  Mostly the research has show how it can explain incredibly consistent unequal outcomes across society, without an active conspiracy.

In my own research, I will be seeking to change a bias in just 4 hours of coaching, by re-aligning our unconscious beliefs about a specific group, with our what our conscious mind knows to be true. Participants will be able to choose the bias that they wish to work on changing.

The project will be a part of the Master of Arts Neuro Coaching program and meet the gold standard of research: 'evidence-based'.

It has the potential to make a real difference in the world, but I cannot do it alone.

I am currently doing a call-out for volunteers from the public to participate.

There will be no cost to participants, just the donation of time. People from all backgrounds will be able to participate.

As well as 10 Coachees, the project requires 10 Control Group Members.  It also requires a large 'pool' of volunteers to create a ‘randomised sample’ of participants. Even if you are not in Perth, you can join the control group, and also hear about the findings of the research at the end of the process. Not only will you be helping me, but you will also be working on becoming a better ally to a group of people you care about, and potentially be contributing to new actionable strategies to transform a major problem in our world.

Currently, I am seeking people who have not studied coaching, psychology or NLP. If that excludes you, you can still help by spreading the word about this opportunity with others. If you would like to help, please click through here.

About the Author

I am a qualified Coach (ICF PCC level) with over 17 years of professional experience as a Coach working in both organisational and personal development. I am also a Coach Trainer, the only person able to deliver the practical units of the Master of Arts Neuro Coaching in Australia.