Championing Change in Coaching industry: Creating Ripples of Impact, One at a Time


Championing Change in Coaching industry: Creating Ripples of Impact, One at a Time

Those of you who know me will also know that my life values are core to who we are, what we do, and how we work at MRA.  Making a difference, Positivity, Friendship, collaboration and kindness, Equality and Balance are woven into the organisation’s purpose, mission and vision and define the experiences of our clients and associates, our partners and suppliers and the impact we seek to have on the world around us.  

In the last few years, we have started to take steps to further the impact we are having in the coaching industry, to give something back, to create some real change in a different and exciting way.  We set ourselves a goal of training 100 people from diverse backgrounds as outstanding, professional coaches and bring greater diversity into the profession.

In February 2022, and with support from the EMCC, for the first time we ran our EMCC accredited Level 5 coaching programme free of charge, for a cohort of eight.  In 2023 we ran the programme for a second cohort of twelve, many of whom may not have considered coaching as a profession or seen themselves as the right fit.  We were delighted to see these newly qualified coaches graduate from the programme in December, challenging the traditional narrative of an industry dominated by white, middle-class, 40+ year-old women. According to the ICF Global Coaching Study in 2020, a staggering 91% of coach practitioners are aged 40 and above, and 70% are female (based on 22,547 responses from 161 countries and territories). Our efforts in breaking barriers and fostering inclusivity are not only shaping new careers but also contributing to a more diverse and dynamic coaching landscape

“When I was first asked to take part in the programme, I had some thoughts about what a coach is.  My first thought was that I am not white or a woman - all the coaches that I knew fitted that demographic and therefore how would I “fit in”?    I know many people who have been successfully coached and I knew that I did not fit what I perceived to be one”.

Coaching with Confidence delegate, 2022

Our desire to create this opportunity came on the back of re-visiting my life values; making a difference and acting with purpose remain critical to me as does the value of equality. The reflections I did as an individual and we did as an organisation led me to question why the coaching and coaching supervision industries continue to be dominated by white coaches. Why isn’t there the diversity that is critical to bringing forth a multitude of perspectives, fostering innovation, driving excellence, bringing challenge but also creating a more inclusive, empathetic, and effective approach to personal and professional development.

“When organizations fail to tap all the potential in the talent pool—including women and people of color—they stifle their capacity for growth” (Korn Ferry Institute report, 2021)

Recognising that the future credibility of the coaching profession hinges on inclusivity, we made a pivotal commitment in 2022 - to create opportunity for people from diverse backgrounds to train as coaches. Our dedication to cultivating diverse talent, irrespective of background, race, disability, age, sexuality, gender identity, or expression, is not only a step towards industry credibility but also a catalyst for our own growth. By engaging with a broader range of trainee coaches, we've not only enhanced our coaching capabilities but also gained invaluable perspective. The feedback and insights of our diverse cohorts have helped us shape the evolution of the programme and influenced our approach in working with our own clients. 

Since these initial conversations and the inception of the DEI programme, we have strengthened our commitments to our core values by gaining B Corp status in 2022.  B Corp was established to work towards a world where business is a force for good and plays a leading role in positively impacting and transforming the global economy into a more inclusive, equitable, and regenerative systems.  Our desire to drive change in the coaching industry, to create a ripple through which the impact could be felt beyond individuals fits with the B Corp strategy to develop a network of local, regional, and global communities for change.

As we welcome a new diverse cohort of 12 trainee coaches, I believe, as a result that we are helping the coaching profession to become more relatable, more accessible, and inherently more credible, one ripple at a time.  What ideas do you have that would help to drive even greater impact and sustainable, meaningful change across the coaching industry? We already have applicants for the 2025 programme - how could you help broaden the reach of what we are looking to achieve?  What experience could you share that would help us do more, do better?

“I have delivered over 100 hours of coaching since I qualified as coach through the MRA programme with the majority of it being to those from diverse backgrounds who also did not believe they would ever be able to receive coaching in the workplace.  One of my coaches who was a refugee and working for a charity received a promotion whilst being coached and they attributed this to having their confidence “unlocked”. To gain the EMCC qualification and to become a professional coach would never have been something that I thought would be part of my career without being presented with this opportunity”

Coaching with Confidence graduate coach, 2022


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