LEADING LIGHTS     Issue 4 | 2021

Coaching For Social Justice Featured


Commentary on a research report

Racial Justice, Equity and Belonging in Coaching (2021) by Charmaine Roche and Jonathon Passmore. Henley Coaching Centre ( Henley Business School, University of Reading)

Review by   Dr. Murray Fletcher

This research report, set in the business environment, takes coaching as its central premise in shifting beliefs, thinking and practice with regard to racial justice, equity and belonging; areas we in Aotearoa/New Zealand are grappling with as we seek more equitable outcomes in culturally responsive contexts.

This research, in a global network includes New Zealand in its study.

This study places coaching at the heart of partnering leaders and leaders being alongside those they lead. The report quotes Anthony Grant

Coaching has a terrific potential as a methodology for exploring a wide range of issues related to intentional change on both individual and systemic levels

(Grant, 2017: 71).

Central and key to this study is the power of having a coach of similar ethnicity and background and what results when this happens.

A quote from the report

Coaching, it’s almost going to be a key tool for liberation for us and also connectivity of our community. Because I think that coaching really handles your ability to create, to produce, to be your best self to show up fully.

(USA, Black/African American, female coach)

The authors state that the aim of their research was to raise awareness within coaching and to ensure a totally inclusive and diverse culture of coaching.

The findings from this study do identify a colour blindness within coaching across the globe. There is an argument made by the authors, for a shift to a conscious stance towards race and colour; which is seen as a prerequisite to having coaching contribute to racial justice and equity.


Grant, A (2017) Coaching as evidence-based practice. In: T Bachkirova, G Spence & D Drake (eds) The Sage Handbook of Coaching. London: Sage, pp. 62–84

Roche, C & Passmore, J (2021) Racial Justice, Equity and Belonging in Coaching. Henley-on-Thames: Henley Business School

Further reading:

Nieuwerburgh, C. (2017). Interculturally sensitive coaching. In: T Bachkirova, G Spence & D Drake (eds) The Sage Handbook of Coaching. London: Sage, pp 453–469