DEIB in Coaching 1) Identity Mapping Exercises: The Identity Iceberg (Free .PDF Tool) | Abena Baiden & Emma-Louise

Happy Coach holding out pen with clipboard and exercise on it on Blue Background

Diversity is a fact. Equity is a choice. Inclusion is an action. Belonging is an outcome. Arthur Chan, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Strategist

If you're reading this, you're most likely looking for ideas or wondering how coaching can be more inclusive. Well, it starts with you! And so in this article we're sharing a great first identity mapping exercise you can do to begin to understand where YOU fit into the grand scheme of DEIB (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Belonging).

This article is part of a series where we've suggested 7 Ways You Can Increase (Your) Cultural Awareness in Your Coaching Practice. Here we explore the first step 1) Create an Identity Map/s: Reflect on 'who' you are, and how you connect and contrast with others.

First we're excited you're here!

Because we're more likely than ever before in history to encounter clients with different identities to us—in every way possible.

Consider education, socioeconomic status, race, skin colour, culture, religion/spirituality, gender, sexual orientation, age, size, ability and more! There are things we can change about ourselves—and things that we can't. We have our own individual set of beliefs, values and experiences and are each beautifully—and utterly—unique.

Why Create an Identity Map?

An Identity Map is a tool that helps us gain a deeper understanding of our own identity and how it intersects with those of our clients. This helps us be more self-aware, recognise our own privileges and biases, and appreciate the diversity in our lives and the human race.

Be the best coach you can be

These days, to be the best coach we can be, we need to be aware of our biases, beliefs, and values and how these might impact our view of others and our world. And this awareness makes us a reflexive1 coach practitioner, one who is culturally aware, competent and values diversity.

It's also fun and interesting to delve into who we are, what makes us tick and how we can relate to others better!

So, this coaching exercise helps coaches reflect on their identity, build self-awareness, empathy—and be a more impactful coach.

Get your FREE Iceberg Identity Mapping Tool here:Iceberg Identity Mapping Tool with Inner PagesClick to download your FREE
Iceberg Identity Map Exercise (.PDF) >>

Please note: this exercise is not brandable as it is not client-facing.


I hope you love this eye-opening exercise!

Your finished identity map can be kept as a private, personal reflection tool or it can be shared. For example you might like to share it with clients or even publish it in your marketing materials.

It's entirely up to you. The key is that we keep learning.

We'd love to know what you think of this tool: please comment below with your suggestions, ideas and more!

So watch for the next in this series of 7 articles that looks specifically at what each of us can do in our coaching businesses to embrace diversity, equity and inclusion and minimize our own blind spots.

Remember that raising your awareness and starting 'diversity' conversations with others (whether in person or online) means you're making a difference—contributing to greater awareness and being a champion of inclusion.

Where Next?

Lastly, whilst you won't see a disclosure in every article on our blog, we think it's important to do so when covering this DEIB topic:

DISCLOSURE: This article has been written from the perspective of a female who is (largely) heteronormative and of White European descent and another atypical female who is of Ghanaian, Irish, and British descent. We acknowledge that even with both our perspectives and best intentions, we may (like everyone) have blind spots and are open to discussion about these.

References and Footnotes

  • Reflexive practitioners are coaches who intentionally examine their own assumptions and motives. They consider how these influence what they do or think in any given situation—especially in the coaching space.

So what do you think? What did you take away from this article? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Author Bios

Emma-Louise Elsey HeadshotContributing author:

Emma-Louise Elsey has been coaching since 2003. She's the founder of both The Coaching Tools and her latest venture, Fierce Kindness where she shares personal tips, tools and ideas to transform ourselves—and our world! Originally a project/relationship manager for Fortune 500 companies she's combined her passion for coaching, creativity and love of systems to create 100+ brandable coaching exercises including 30 completely free coaching tools. She serves coaches through her newsletter for coaches and loves to offer ideas for your coaching toolbox!

Learn more about Emma-Louise & see all their articles here >>

Contributing Author:

Abena Baiden (she/hers) GMBPsS is the ACC- and ICF-trained founder of Positively Flourishing. Abena runs adult and teen coaching programs to promote wellbeing and personal development with her practice firmly rooted in the values of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging. If not in the classroom or coaching space, you'll find Abena studying for her doctorate (which focuses on coaching in education) or exploring the world from her latest base as an international educator and coach. Lift the lid a little more here

Learn more about Abena & see all their articles here >>

Image of Smiling young Asian female coach with clipboard and holding pen by Mix and Match Studio via Shutterstock

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