Yes you can be a coach and an activist: An exploration for the curious

Resource from Zoe Cohen and Rachel Ward Lilley

The essence: An introduction to the topic of activism and an invitation to explore what’s possible for us in a coaching space.

The concept of Coach and Activist are often seen as mutually exclusive and to be labelled an activist has connotations of ‘danger’ and ‘radical’. This seed is an invitation to reflect more deeply on what is the meaning of activism for us as coaches and to reflect on our impact. It provides some basic information about activism, explaining what activism is and what it isn’t, and clarifying some assumptions that we might hold about activism. It also explains how activism can take different forms and be displayed by individuals like you and me, or by larger collectives and groups.

The Seed provoked me to think about the meaning of activism to me. I used it to reflect on how active I’ve been so far and how could I be more active going forward, in relation to the climate and ecological emergency. What would that mean in the personal space? What would it mean in a professional capacity?

I’ve also took a more systemic view of the coaching profession and how activism has shown up in this space. What has been the impact on the coaching profession so far and what might it be going forward? What is the change we need to bring into a coaching system to enable a full response? What would that be?

In a personal space, I’ve realised that I’ve been an activist for a long time, on a small scale and through some of the everyday choices like shopping for ethical brands and reusing/recycling/repairing, and therefore being a more conscious consumer. Both could be considered an expression of activism. I think of activist differently as a result.

Key learnings:

  • Activism has different formats and meanings, and can be anything from an individual choice to an organised rally of thousands of people.
  • Activism is a way to communicate and express the need for change and/or a way of making an impact.

It’s for us to find an active (activist) space that is aligned with our values.

Reviewed by Rebecca Raybould


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