How this DEIB in Coaching Article Series Came to Be! Our Story by Abena Baiden & Emma-Louise

Happy Coach against floral background for DEIB Article Series STORY

This article is the first in a series of articles about DEIB (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging)—and Coaching.

If you're reading this, you're most likely wondering what you can do—or looking for ideas on how coaching can be more inclusive. This is wonderful

And in this article series we'll be sharing specific ways you can bring more DEIB into your coaching practice, plus some tools to help you explore these ideas.

But first, we'd like to share how—and why—this series of articles came about. This article was written by Emma-Louise, and the story was confirmed/discussed with Abena.

Setting the scene

The Coaches Helping Coaches (CHC) Facebook Group has 20,000+ members. And we have a constant barrage of marketers trying to get into the group to sell stuff to our members. Sadly, a few marketers always manage to sneak in, despite our best efforts (mostly by being dishonest when answering the group joining questions).

And one of the ways those marketers use the group is to disingenuously build relationships with CHC members by asking questions like: "What made you want to be a coach?" Or they ask questions like: "What is your biggest struggle as a coach right now?" So they can sell to us later!

So our moderators are super-switched on (and sensitive) to these kinds of questions. And believe me, if we didn't block these questions, the group wall would be flooded with them!

If you want to keep a group of 20K people active and not flooded with sales-y posts, it's a LOT of work. And sometimes it's extremely frustrating.

How Abena and Emma-Louise met

Once upon a time (in mid-2022), Abena (Baiden) and I met through a comedy of errors.

Abena is a member of the CHC Facebook Group, run by The Coaching Tools Company.

One day, she asked a question about the "challenges of being a coach" and her post was disallowed by a moderator. And our moderator was (because of the volume of these posts and possibly was having a bad day!) a little curt when sharing the reason for blocking. It can be really hard to tell what's a genuine question, and when a marketer is trying to manipulatively build relationships with our members.

Then Abena posted another post. This time Facebook popped up a message that said the post was "blocked" even though it was simply in the moderation queue.

Next Abena posted an offer of mutual "Free Coaching" post directly on the wall, which should (according to the group rules) have been posted in the comments of the Weekly "Free Coaching Offers" post. A moderator forgot to include the text to redirect Abena to the relevant post so it felt like a harsh response.

And then a fourth incident! The icing on the cake...

Abena then posted a question about meditation activity ideas (she knew The Coaching Tools Company had articles on this topic on the website) with a large attention-grabbing image. Which this time, one of our moderators blocked because they said it wasn't coaching specific. That week we'd had a slew of people posting irrelevant things with big images which take up a lot of space on the CHC Group wall, and block out people's genuine questions.

So, an unfortunate series of events.

And our journey begins…

Well, luckily, Abena had been getting our newsletter for a while, and she'd noticed (and had already emailed us to thank us) the diverse range of people images on the site. She also saw that the most recent newsletter had been about Juneteenth.

And so Abena sent me a very polite/pleasant personal message wondering (genuinely curious) if what had happened in the FB group was unconscious racism, ie. could it be implicit bias?

At the time, I hadn't delved into what happened, so she had no answers to soften what had happened. And it had been 4 posts in a row, so Abena was trying to find an explanation.

So I could totally see why Abena raised the question. And I was unsettled too! So I looked into what happened, spoke to our moderating team, dug into the deepest recesses of Facebook, figured it all out and let Abena know what had happened.

It took courage

Now it took courage for Abena to reach out and ask. So it was important to me to fully understand what had happened.

And it was great that both Abena and I were willing to ask questions AND keep an open mind.

What happened afterwards

And after I researched and got back to Abena reassuring her that it was just an unfortunate series of events, I had a conversation with our moderators to update them on what had happened.

Our team also had a discussion about implicit biases, and what it's like to be in a minority. We talked about how someone might be sensitised to racism simply because they've encountered it so much. And it was a really great opportunity to get this important topic on the table and raise awareness on our team.

And I realized I wanted to educate myself more. I saw that this was a great opportunity to raise DEIB issues directly with our audience—and perhaps make a difference in the coaching world.

So, I approached Abena to see if she would write—or co-write—an article with me about diversity, equity and inclusion (DEIB) in coaching. Because as well as being a coach, Abena had mentioned she did DEIB work, training staff in schools.

And the more Abena and I talked the more we realized there was to say. Everyone's experience is unique i.e. there is no one shared experience of racism. And so here we are, months later with a series of articles exploring this crucial topic both personally (for me at least) and for our audience.

A conversation was started!

So this incident, while awkward, was ultimately good—because it started this awesome conversation!

We're all on a learning journey—and along the way Abena and I hit it off. As mentioned, she has expertise and personal experience in DEIB issues, delivering workshops to the faculty/teachers in international schools. And we decided we wanted to open up a broader conversation!

So in this series of articles we'll be covering:

  • An introduction to why DEIB matters, and a list of the 7 things you can do
  • Then we follow that up with a series of 7 articles that look specifically at what each of us can do in our coaching businesses to embrace diversity, equity and inclusion and minimize our own blind spots!


I know this Gandhi quote is overused, but we must each "be the change we wish to see".

I wanted to do more at The Coaching Tools Company than ensure we are diverse in our selection of feature images and quotes. So we ensure we highlight a diverse range of people in our monthly "Meet the Coach" features, and I have now written two articles about/reflecting on Juneteenth over at sister site Fierce Kindness. And now this series of articles feels like an awesome way to both educate myself and help make a difference in the world of coaching!

So I am extremely grateful to Abena for her open and non-judgemental mind, her patience as we figured out what happened, and her generous sharing of time and experience to work with me in co-writing this series of articles. I could not have done this without her.

And finally, whilst you won't see a disclosure in every article on our blog, it feels 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. I acknowledge that even with the best intentions, I may (like everyone) have blind spots. I am open to discussion about these.

Where Next?

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 African American Coach wearing shirt with arms folded against grey-blue background by blvdone via Shutterstock


  1. Uchenna Umeh

    Great write.
    Even better read.
    I’d like to know how I can be featured in your Meet a Coach article.

    I am a pediatrician and parent coach and my focus is deep in DEIB. I work with parents and physicians of lgbtqiap kiddos as a coach/consultant.

    Kindly let me know
    Thank you.

    • Marcus

      Thank you for you comment! We will send you an email about how to be featured in our Meet the Coach feature.

  2. Bill Brander

    I like the disclosure; may I please adopt it?
    DISCLOSURE: This article has been written from the perspective of a male who is (largely) heteronormative and of White European descent. I acknowledge that even with the best intentions, I may (like everyone) have blind spots. I am open to discussion about these.


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