Corporate Trends in diversity coaching

Diversity in Corporate America.

I recently did some research on trends in diversity and leadership coaching.  As you may know, an international assignment is often mandatory for high potential employees in global companies.  Recent research indicates that corporate leadership teams with more diversity yield higher shareholder values.  Initiatives within companies designed to identify and promote internal talent lead to higher retention and engagement rates.  Global markets require experienced leaders.  Many companies want to increase cultural diversity for the employees who are relocated, and for those in the host culture.  There is a subset of executive coaches who specialize in supporting the diversity goals of those companies.  That subset is called “diversity coaches.”

One article is an interview with Bo Razak, a senior consultant and diversity coach, conducted by Wendy Conklin, editor of The Diversity Factor (2006.) Razak specializes in diversity issues, and developing leadership skills that can support organizational missions such as increasing diversity awareness.

Razak states that executive coaching “for diversity” narrows the focus or framework to specific leadership capabilities that support the leader in developing his or her capacity to incorporate diversity into all aspects of work (37).  Also, the coaching engagement may be shorter term than another executive coaching engagement.  The diversity coaching engagement may focus on “leading by feeling” so that members of subordinated groups may feel supported with examples of empathy, or awareness of group identity and its effects.

Group identity is so central to Razak’s description of diversity coaching that I include his explanation.  “Everyone has multiple group identities, including age, ability/ ableness, class, education level, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, nationality, race, first language, religion / spirituality and sexual orientation. In organizations and society, the extent to which we are aware of the meaning and impact of these identities is key to understanding the impact of diversity and changing the status quo.”  (38)

Razak describes 4 critical factors for diversity coaches.

1) The primary factor is organizational support for diversity coaching, and diversity issues, that are tied to compensation rewards.  He states that leaders need to adopt a “diversity lens” and become inclusive in language, action, and words.

2) Leaders need to become comfortable with a common language that is inclusive and enables them to discuss words like “gender” and “sexual orientation” in any strategic or operational discussion,

3)  Leaders must pay attention to the dynamics of difference, and multiple perspectives from multiple group identities, by engaging a broad range of perspectives.

4)  And leaders must actively solicit feedback on how they are embracing the capabilities of diversity, and make open statements that reflect awareness of multiple perspectives.

My takeaways from this article include the following:

1) My 25 year-old nephew was recently promoted into a role that required an international assignment.  That experience is exciting for him, and he is young for such an assignment.  I cannot imagine that he will eagerly embrace that culture; he would benefit from such a diversity coach.

2) Diversity coaching requires a systems approach to others.  The coach must be aware of the layers of corporate expectations.  The leaders/ coaching clients must be willing to engage in anything called diversity coaching.  If it is an EEO requirement for compliance, or an extension of a training, those requirements may minimize the impact of diversity coaching.  Razak states that compensation must be tied to behavioral outcomes based on the diversity coaching.  That point reminds me of Peter Drucker’s maxim that “what gets rewarded leads to results.”

3) Selecting and matching coaches with leaders/ coaching clients requires a high level of awareness of group identity.  But there are no rules.  It may be ideal to match people from dramatically different group identities in order to be more effective.  For instance, if I were being coached by a Hispanic, lesbian woman from Brazil, and I am a Caucasian, heterosexual male from the U.S., we may be well matched.  Or it may be a setup for failure.

4)  Diversity coaching may be a shorter-term engagement than executive coaching engagements.  However, the effects of diversity coaching may be more anecdotal than measurable, and longer term rather than shorter.  And in a country that is more ethnically diverse, such as Canada, diversity coaching may be more effective than a country that is more ethnically homogenous, such as Japan.

Conklin, W. (2006). Executive Coaching for Diversity: An Opportunity for Leaders to Learn and Change. Diversity Factor, 14(2), 37-42.

What are some of your takeaways from this subject?

Call me or contact me to discuss them today.

Property For Sale

Thank you for your interest in our spectacular property on Lake James, near Morganton and Marion, NC.

We urge you to print this page for your reference.  (updated 2.10.14)

1.  The link describing our property and photos is located at and here.

2.  Directions to The Arbors:  From I40 exit 90, head N towards Lake James on Harmony Grove Rd.  There is a right turn after 1/2 mile, with a sign stating “Lake James.”  Harmony Grove Rd crosses SR70 at a stoplight, through the crossroads town of Nebo to a stop sign at SR 126.  Go striaght, and the road changes to Nebo School Rd.  After 1 mile, turn right on Forest Lake Heights Dr for 1/2 mile.  The back entrance to The Arbors is on your left.  (There is a larger main entrance on Nebo School Rd.)  The code is 2872.

3.  Directions to Lot #5.  (42 Waters Edge Rd is not accurately marked on Google Maps.)  Go straight over the crest of the hill, with spectacular views.  Drop down on Dockside Dr and veer left.  Park at the small parking lot for 8 cars.  Our driveway us next to the community walkway, out to the smaller boat docks.  There is a small sign stating “Community Watch” at the foot of our new driveway.

4.  For a detailed plat of the land from the GIS, go to which is linked here, then use the Quick Search feature on the right side.  Click on the Tax Pin link and enter the following numbers:  1723-45-1407  You will see the tax appraisal data there as a matter of public record.

If you should have any questions, contact Doug Gray at 704.895.6479.  We live 90 mins away, near Charlotte.


Who is Doug Gray, PCC?

Doug Gray

Doug Gray, PCC, is a Leadership Consultant and Executive Coach.


Coaching and Consulting Experience

Since 1997, Doug has partnered with hundreds of executive leaders in the Healthcare, Energy, Manufacturing, IT, Construction and Financial industries.  He is quick to say that he has “just enough expertise to support leaders, without too much complicating industry-specific knowledge.”  His clients agree.  Doug typically uses customized assessments to assess organizational and individual strengths.  A popular speaker and facilitator, Doug loves to facilitate experiential leadership training programs and strategic planning retreats.  His recent speaking topics include “How to Apply Positive Psychology to your Business” and “How to Increase Employee Engagement.”


Doug knows how to manage and lead teams.   Doug brings a unique background as an educator, administrator, and non-profit director to his clients. That background enables him to help leaders who are passionate and need his direct, supportive expertise.   He is regarded as an expert facilitator using Action Learning methodology.  And he will bring strategic focus, humor, and proven expertise to maximize your consulting investment.


A representative list of leadership coaching engagements and clients include:

  • CFO and 20 leaders in finance and accounting, Fortune 500 energy construction company, who needed to embrace a redesign without losing productivity
  • team of EVPs tasked with redesigning the IT needs of their F100 healthcare company
  • MD struggling with burnout who needed confidential consulting (e.g. anonymity from his employer and insurer)
  • CEO in a technology company recently promoted to replace the founder
  • President and 18 members of executive leadership team, Fortune 500 energy construction company, who needed to demonstrate alignment within 6 months
  • SVP and site managers at a nuclear power construction site who needed to increase alignment with business partners and avoid negative media
  • SVP in functional but de-centralized group who needed to assimilate 20 leaders, using action learning methodology in direct meetings, coaching, and SharePoint to drive accountability
  • Small business owner of a franchise who needed to fire an employee after 11 years of good service
  • SVP, global bank, who needed to reorganize a division
  • VP, global bank, seeking career opportunities
  • newly hired VP who needed to develop radical transformation of a functional group that required external coaching and team building leadership training using a customized app
  • Newly promoted director who lacked interpersonal skills to manage 33 people
  • Founder of an IT company who was not able to develop new business

Business/Organizational Leadership Experience

Doug has been a successful business owner since 1997; he knows the challenges and “what works.”  He co-developed the Leadership Development Institute at the University of Maryland, College Park and taught there for 7 years, and he is a former adjunct faculty member at several colleges including NC State University.  He directed a non-profit agency in Washington, D.C. for 9 years and grew it 900% while managing 120 people.  As a former world-class athlete, Doug knows that the rigor of change requires regular support from experienced consultants, plus a dash of humor.


Education and Training

Doug’s graduate research at Dartmouth College included development of an assessment to determine risk tolerance and risk aversion.  That theme of mitigating risk in business and leadership has prevailed in his continued learning from clients and colleagues in the safety, consulting, executive assessment, and leadership development industries.  He is certified in the Hogan suite, DISC, several 360’s, several EI assessments, and 5 coaching certification programs.  Since 2000, Doug has been a Professional Certified Coach (PCC) with the International Coaching Federation.  A perpetual learner, he is a doctoral candidate at the Chicago School of Professional Psychology in Organizational Leadership.  His research interests include the effect of positive psychology on business leaders, managers, and executive coaches.


Publications and Appearances

Doug loves to share his expertise as a speaker, facilitator and a writer.  As a keynote speaker, he has addressed annual meetings, executive retreats, and nonprofit leaders.  As a facilitator, he has partnered with clients to design experientially memorable leadership training solutions that range from boot camps to strategic off-sites to contests using customized mobile apps.  As an author, he has frequently been published in journals ranging from the American Society of Safety Engineer’s Professional Safety to Financial Advisor to webinars and hundreds of guest blogs.


He is a published author of articles on leadership development, physician burnout, healthcare, analytics, safety and productivity.  Doug has published two books:  Passionate Action; 5 Steps to Creating Extraordinary Success in Life and Work (2007), and Adventure Coaching; A Guidebook for Action-Based Success in Life and Work (2006) that can be purchased here and here.


Consulting Value Proposition

“Developing smarter leaders.  Faster.”

Doug will not waste any of your time or resources.  He expects you to achieve great results.  And he always guarantees exceptional value.

Call him now at 704.995.6647  or contact us here or schedule your initial consultation here.


For biographies on other Action Learning Associates, Inc leadership consultants and executive coaches, contact us here or review the list of our partners here.  We also provide scaled solutions for any-sized organization, anywhere in the world.

Managing Subcontractors, 5 Proven Tactics

Managing Subcontractors, 5 Proven Tactics, by Doug Gray, in Professional Safety, June 2013.  ASSE- June 2013- Managing Subs- p1.rtfd ASSE- June 2013- Managing Subs- p2.rtfd

Managing other people is hard.  There is no way to avoid that fact.

This article was written at the request of the editors of Professional Safety, the professional journal of the American Society of Safety Engineers.

And it is relevant to you managing others, in any business.

Please share it as you see fit.