Cultural Awareness Glossary

Ablism: Discrimination based on a person’s ability, coupled with a belief in the inherent superiority of those who do not have a permanent disability.

Acculturation: A socialization process in which groups of individuals come in continuous and direct contact with each other, resulting in changes in the cultural patterns of either or both groups. In principle, acculturation is a neutral term, but in practice, changes tend to occur less in the dominant culture.4

Ally: Someone who recognizes the unearned privilege they receive by being a member of a dominant group, and takes responsibility to bring change to such injustice.… Read more

How we Help, How we Harm: Deepening our Understanding of Culture Power Privilege and Rank

Individuals can experience power, privilege and rank as a result of the status they have earned through their own endeavors in life such as professional or academic achievement. These markers of status may be relatively obvious and more easily anticipated and worked with. However, power, privilege and rank that come from the social groups that one identifies with or belongs to, can be more subtle and difficult to name and engage. These forms of social power, privilege and rank are not earned; they are something people are born into.

Every social group has its own set of norms, standards, beliefs and values, all of which help to comprise its unique culture.… Read more

Social Sector Leaders Need Oxygen

Leaders in the social sector feel as though they are climbing Everest with no oxygen, no rest stops, and no base camp. Coaches and facilitators who support the social sector need to understand the unique challenges that leaders face.

Leading in the social sector takes gutsy compassion, and a different skill set than what’s needed in the corporate world. Executive directors work in an environment of perpetual urgency, where ordinary practices are completely suspended, as they work in the thin air of the sector most often referred to as “nonprofit.” EDs have the benefit of staff who are energized by their passion for making a better world, but who quickly become depleted and frustrated by low pay and the slow pace of change. … Read more

Using the Body’s Wisdom Coaching Example

Coach: What’s happening?

Anushka: I am feeling very restless.

Coach: What is this restlessness telling you?

Anushka: I don’t know… I wish I knew.

Coach: Where in your body do you feel this restlessness?

Anushka: In my hands…in my feet…

Coach: You shook your hands like you were shaking off something.

Anushka: Yes, it’s this frustration that I am trying to shake off.

Coach: Where do you feel the frustration the most?

Anushka: Around my chest…it’s caging me…it’s like a tight ball

Coach: What’s its texture… its colour?

Anushka: …It’s black … a ball made up of endless string. It’s tying itself up… (silence)

Coach: You spoke much slower than you did a minute ago… What’s happening?… Read more

5 Myths About Unconscious Bias — And 6 Ways to Reduce It

There’s no denying it, unconscious bias is trendy. It’s so trendy, it’s even become an acronym in some of my circles, known affectionately as “UB.” But as often occurs when a term or concept becomes common or mainstream, myths and misinformation abound:
Myth 1: We don’t need to worry anymore about conscious bias or bigotry. We are not “post-racial.” Individual acts of verbal, physical and emotional violence against people due to their real or perceived group membership are still relatively common. One of my least favorite statistics is that the number of active hate groups in the U.S. has increased by 56 percent — to over 900 — since 2000, particularly since President Obama took office in 2008.
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Privilege

Love is what we are born with. Fear is what we learn. The spiritual journey is the unlearning of fear and prejudices and the acceptance of love back in our hearts. Love is the essential reality and our purpose on earth. To be consciously aware of it, to experience love in ourselves and others, is the meaning of life. Meaning does not lie in things. Meaning lies in us. — Marianne Williamson

Privilege has been described as “unearned rights, benefits, immunity and favours that are bestowed on individuals and groups solely on the basis of their race, culture, religion, gender, sexual orientation, physical ability or other key characteristic.”1… Read more

Cultural Assessment: Awareness of Culture, Power and Privilege

We continuously expand our capacity and deepen our awareness of culture, power and privilege. This self-assessment tool is for your own growth, so please be honest with yourself.

As you read through the statements below, think of specific examples and situations. On a scale of 1-5, how satisfied are you with your demonstration or embodiment of each statement?

1= very dissatisfied

2= somewhat dissatisfied

3= neutral

4= somewhat satisfied

5= very satisfied 

Name: __________________________

SELF-AWARENESS

Know myself and my cultures 

_ I have a deep sense of my cultural influences. 

Aware of discomfort

_ I consciously explore my discomfort when I encounter cultural differences in others.… Read more

The Power of Working with Parts

 Mary, a woman in her late 30’s, came to coaching with the goal of mastering the ups and downs, the powerful inner currents, that seemed to sweep over her and gain control of her thoughts, feelings and actions. Over the course of our work together, we came to know these inner currents as inner parts, or personalities. There was a crippled school girl, a hard-nosed sergeant, a Buddha, a highly charged wild part, a lusty irresponsible sexual part, among many others. Mary dialogued with each of these parts as they presented themselves and got to know how they hijacked her and what they needed.
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Internal Family Systems Coaching Support Authentic Communication and Systemic Change

“Bringing IFS into coaching is one of the most exciting and needed applications taking place right now.” – Richard Schwartz, creator of Internal Family Systems

The problem with many coaching models is that coaches are taught to sideline, or even eliminate parts of the psyche, especially if those parts are blocking or resisting progress toward your goals. 

Since parts cannot be eliminated, this type of shaming leaves clients conflicted as they struggle to transform unwanted behaviors. Instead of going to war with your saboteur or marginalizing resistant parts, IFS coaching respects each part and supports whole system alignment so that desired change initiatives and radical authenticity emerge.… Read more

Requests and Challenges

The main difference between a request and a challenge is that clients generally say yes to our requests, but take a moment to catch their breath before responding to a challenge. In both cases, we listen deeply to what’s important to the client, and base our requests on helping them move toward a more desirable future. Free of demand, we ask clients to take action, but we’re open to hearing yes, no, or a counteroffer.

Both requests and challenges are for the benefit of the client, not for the benefit of the coach. In the wider world, we make requests that benefit ourselves all the time.… Read more