Co-Chairman the ICF Global Task Force
Jeanine: Welcome everybody. Welcome to the next episode of the Empower world coaching and leadership podcast and I'm here in the southern state of Victoria and it's evening here and at the same time I'm here with Marie and I can see on zoom that you're in a beautiful place in the morning. Good morning Marie.
Marie: Good morning Jeanine. Good morning listeners. Yes, absolutely stunning day here in the UK sitting looking out at my garden and enjoying all the greenery.
Jeanine: It's looking lovely and we're excited today because we're being joined by a very special guest George Nuthu, I hope I said that correctly George your surname. Thank you.
George Nuthu: Yes, you did. Yeah.
Jeanine: Fantastic. We were introduced to George by another one of our wonderful coaches in our community Michelle Ascot who absolutely supports us in so many ways. And by introducing us to George. Another beautiful way of supporting these conversations that Marie and I love to have. And it's about again empowering coaches to be the best that they can be. To tackle courageous conversations and so with that introduction from Michelle to George we're excited to bring him on board not only to our podcast but a wonderful virtual summit that's taking place in ICF Australasia. So, thank you George for saying yes to that. And so, George we know that you've been invited to a very special role with the ICF global so I'm going to hand over to you to introduce yourself and that great honor you've got of working on a particular role so. Welcome George.
George Nuthu: Thank you. Thank you so much. It's a great joy and honor to be here. I'm speaking to you all from Nairobi Kenya. Beautiful place in the world. East Africa. And I have been asked to do a task force that is looking at designing a framework for Diversity Inclusion belonging and injustice in the ICF Global. And so, we are sitting down as a team we'll be starting our meetings soon. And for us is just really to design the framework because a few weeks ago the ICF board took out a statement and asking us to get involved as coaches globally in this these four things because this right now these are a cry out for diversity and inclusion and belonging and justice so we've been called in a number of us to just come and help frame and design a… we're trying to design the structure and really not getting into just do the vendor structure. Then another team will take it up and actualize it. So, for us we’re just designing the structure we should be meeting for about two months or so. And I'm so honored to have the co-chair with host Tracey Sinclair from UK. So, we are both co-chairing this team and a number of global coaches from around the world. So that is what I'm getting involved in.
Marie: Fantastic, George very exciting work that I'm very not just exciting for you but really important work in this world that's emerging where ethical standards are really important for coaches to pay attention to.
George Nuthu: Yeah.
Marie: So, can you expand more on what those standards are from the ICF what does it mean for coaches.
George Nuthu: So, I think this standard kind of is embedded in the new code of ethics. Standard Number 25 which is really our responsibility to the society and for us coaches. We are called upon to avoid discriminating and by maintaining fairness and equality in all our activities and operations while respecting local rules and cultural practices. And you see this is quite a broad definition or standard that we are supposed to abide by. And it talks about very many things. It includes but is not limited to discrimination on the basis of age, race, gender expression, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion, national origin, disability or marital status. So, you find that it's really broad and that's what we are called to that we should act fairly and equitably to the clients that we serve and even to the way we respond to some of these cultural or issues in our society because we are responsible to the society around us. And you find that that is one of our responsibility as coaches. So that’s kind of broad. So, what does it mean? It means that we should be able to particularly extend up to and in my views appreciate humanity not withstanding where people come from, what God they worship, their gender or their sexual orientation, their ethnicity so we should we should look at human beings as human beings and want to serve them and try to deal with an unconscious biases our dentition our thinking. Because one thing we are quoted as coaches is to suspend judgment and at times we are human beings and at times depending on how we have been oriented we have various lenses we look at people with that may stop us from really being true coaches and effective coaches to the people who interact with us or come to us or even in the way we respond to issues around us in our society or in the community we live in. That's what it's all about.
Jeanine: Hmm. Well yes there's a lot there George. And at the same time. And at the same time, it sounds very straightforward.
George Nuthu: OH Yeah.
Jeanine: And potentially speaking on Marie's behalf. If I may for us that makes perfect sense and that's what we aim to do. Knowing that I'm also aware that potentially this unconscious bias that we're just not even aware of so they'll be viewed as blind spots and we were having a conversation before we came onto this call together. And you were sharing that that some coaches out there are perhaps struggling.
George Nuthu: Yes.
Jeanine: The climate is challenging. Can you share a little bit more about what that might mean for some coaches?
George Nuthu: Sure. Because right now we know springing from what happened in the U.S. and this Black Lives Matter movement that has swept across you know across the world you find that there are all these and processions that are coming out. I think those same in Australia, in UK, in the US but not so much here in Africa but there are some kind of discussions going on. And what has happened is because of this. And right now, within ICF we're talking about diversity and inclusion we have to be very careful that we do not reduce this to the racial platform alone. You know we cannot just say diversity is a racial matter. And what happens is this that people who are struggling with that because we are really having a good discussion in the ICF ethics a community of practice. We discuss some of these two cities. It was interesting. Coaches ICF coaches talking about this and it is more particularly some from North America where really openly talking about just the struggle of the racial struggle that they have because of the whiteness and the blackness of their community. And some coming even to admit that even the coaching profession it seemed to be a profession for the whites and it has not been dominated by whites. And then black coaches are kind of trying to get into that. And also, I think I also remember reading I bought even the same struggle in some part of UK where you find that non-white coaches are struggling to get accepted by certain white clients and that is there. But I think for me diversity and inclusion that's just a slice. Yes, we should deal with it but also look at it even I think some even bigger one that is across the world the gender one you know ladies and men. And for me I have come to recognize that the coaching profession is a big percentage like in our country, is a big percentage a lady. And then you find that kind of what happens is this like I'm a leadership coach. And what happens is there's a lot of the leaders at the system level are men OK. So, it becomes a bit challenging for women to pitch for work in the corporate world. And you find that these men who are dominating this sisterhood leadership positions would prefer men to coach them. So, I’ve gotten into that situation where you'll find that if I'm pitching for a job with a lady the chances of me getting rejected by the assistant level are higher than for Lady Coach. So, I said and that is something that has been going on for I think it's across. Then there's also the aspect of religion, there’s that aspect of sexual orientation. And do you see all these things need to be addressed and did they depending on our culture and I think for ICF global it’s because it is a global organization. It cuts across various cultures the 140 countries represented the 35000 coaches. How do you balance it all out? Because one issue in one country may not be the same may not have the same intensity in another country.
Marie: It's so fascinating George that you say that so. The trainings that. You do. Up until COVID-19 time have mostly been based in Doha, Qatar and it's a place where people from all around the globe come to work and live. It's an amazing city and what we find in our trainings unlike other training organizations who provide ICF approved coach training is we get people from all around the globe and that's fascinating to work with. We often smile, don't we Jeanine, when we feel like we've got the United Nations in the room because we are represented from one end of the Earth to the other with our participants. And it is such a joy to bring the cultural aspects, the ethical issues to the table in relation to all of the things you're talking about.
George Nuthu: Yes
Marie: We have such great learning from our participants as they're exploring their own perceptions of ethical issues and then hearing the global perspective. So, we really applaud you and the team, the task force, for looking further into how important this is for the role of coaches.
Jeanine: And if I can get if I can add to that to George around 70 percent of the participants would generally be women in our training.
George Nuthu: Yeah
Jeanine: That's what we did we would attract. And we also would often get requests from our executive coaching coaches from organizations and though they would ask they would ask us and they would also ask do you have any male coaches that can support our coaching.
George Nuthu: Yes
Jeanine: And if I can also add something else that was quite interesting. So, I have a role volunteer role with ICF Australasia. And my role reports into the board. And there’s three-pillar head and I'm one of them and we rotate our opportunities to sit with the board. And so, mine was about a week ago and I entered the board room so to speak on Zoom and it was interesting to see all women. Sitting on the board of ICF Australasia. So, it was kind of oh gosh it's all women. That's interesting to get curious about my response. It was wonderful. I have to say it was a lovely surprise.
George Nuthu: Yeah.
Jeanine: But then always the diversity I know we did have I think two men who exited the board recently.
George Nuthu: Ok.
Jeanine: Yeah. And you know it brings to mind the… I forgotten her name… the judge that passed away.
George Nuthu: Yes.
Jeanine: You said you know I will and I can't remember her words exactly but I. Something like well no I've made a difference or there will be a difference when there are 12 Judges on.
George Nuthu: The Supreme Court.
George Nuthu: Oh yes. Yeah. Yes. I think it's a challenge that we need to keep learning and growing too. There are just certain things that affect different cultures, different countries. And how can we as coaches, as we collaborate with each other and uphold that value the core value of collaboration and respect with each other and our clients, is being able to really work towards maturing and learning. I don't think we'll ever reach perfection because we are, we are not perfect as coaches, as human beings. But I think it's really learning to be a bit more open. And I guess even being in Asia you know their religious and cultural things that are so strong that actually are so systematic in dividing the people you know segregating people in the various casts and saying these ones cannot mix with this or what. How does that look for coach because if you are a coach like in India comes from a lower cast? I can could somebody from a higher cost because the higher costs that the wealthier and they are running the business and you find that too hard. So, I think for me it's a challenge and it's for each and every one a way to. Approach it with a learning heart, with a heart of wanting to improve and get better, with a heart of addressing our biases and using peer coaching I think one of the greatest thing that we have as coaches is that we had the peer coaching mechanism where we can coach each other out of these challenges and feel safe with each other to come and say you know what I think I'm racial I really have a bias I can't accept this person I need to be coached to be better than that and I think that's one we can really help each other in those safe spaces where we can actually come and talk about struggles and be coached by somebody who understands and is willing to help us out of that struggle. That's the way I look at it.
Marie: Yes George. We do this work for others so it's making sure that we do the work ourselves as we're getting to know ourselves and understanding our own biases reaching out to other coaches who maybe have the experience of being racially attacked or having issues themselves that can support the learning and these dialogues are so important to have. The more we talk about it the more we can learn about it and the more we can become aware of our own blind spots which we all have. And as coaches.
George Nuthu: Yes.
Marie: That's our job is to uncover the blind spots so that people can become more aware.
George Nuthu: Yeah sure become more aware, discover you know we need to say we are for us as coaches got this quote from a friend of mine “discover, uncover and recover”. You know the things that are hidden within us, in our society, in our chapters even you know. How do we let our members; how do we treat one another? How do we volunteer, who gets involved? So, it's really at a personal level at a chapter level and moving at the regional level and even at a global level. So definitely there is really work to be done.
Jeanine: Yes, absolutely. As you say George you know nothing's perfect. There's always going to be. These challenges which we reframe as opportunities to continue to grow and expand and we can do that through these beautiful skills of coaching through that deep listening, being present with the person or the people that we're with but deep listening asking questions to evoke greater awareness to support, move together. Looking at a different way we can unite together and move in a better way forward. So. Yeah.
George Nuthu: Definitely. And I think for me just allow me to say that I think one thing I’ve come to realize and it's very key for us as coach is the first thing that we really need to hold very dear is the way we… our mindset towards people. I think it's very fundamental. How do we see people? How do we appreciate people? How do we accept the cultural differences? I guess you having worked with your training and getting all these students from different parts of the world. Definitely it has stretched you. It has made you more open to diversity. Do you see but you see many of us are just so localized? We are just local with our town, our city section of our part and the kinds of people that we interact with. So that kind of keeps us very closed and is a bit of a challenge.
Jeanine: Yes. Yes. It's again using those coaching skills to continuing to open up our world.
George Nuthu: Yes.
Jeanine: And it's.
George Nuthu: Yes.
Jeanine: Trying to find those blind spots and break them down.
George Nuthu: Yes. Continue keep breaking them down, keep breaking them down and progressing and getting better at accepting people the way they are, inviting them into your space making them feel safe. And those are the things we are called to do.
Jeanine: Yes. Thank you, George. Thank you so much for bringing your beautiful open heart and open mind and your experiences that you've to date experienced and will continue to keep opening up through the work that you're going to do and I'm looking forward to hearing how that unfolds that important piece that you're doing on this ICF global task force around diversity and inclusion.
George Nuthu: OK thank you. And thank you so much. If there are any thoughts or any things to come across people want to express themselves. Let us be more open to hearing and getting information and nuggets that could help us.
Jeanine: That would be wonderful. So, yes please do listeners provide us with feedback that we can we can send to George or is there somehow some way they can contact you George.
George Nuthu: I guess just my email. I think you have my e-mail right. [email protected] . They can send that to me whatever information they can get me on LinkedIn George Nuthu and they can pass or works to me things I can say for now.
Jeanine: Yes. Fantastic. George and Nuthu spelt N U T H U.
George Nuthu: Yes, just the way you pronounce it.
Jeanine: Yeah, we've lost we've lost Marie. She's disappeared. And I know that if she was here, she would be thanking you very wholeheartedly for providing your insights and wisdom and we wish you all the best with the task force and look forward to staying in touch with you and I’ll see you on the ICF Australasia diversity and Inclusion panel. Which is coming up.
George Nuthu: OK.
Jeanine: Very soon so I can. We will meet again. And I'm looking forward to that George.
George Nuthu: Thank you. Thank you so much for giving me this opportunity and honor. I really do appreciate it and I wish you all the best in all that you are doing. And keep up your good work you guys are, you ladies doing a great job so keep it up. Thank you. Thank you.
Jeanine: Thank you, George. That's a that's made my evening. And you keep up the beautiful work that you're doing and it's a pleasure to meet you and looking forward to hearing more.
George Nuthu: OK. Thank you. Thank you very much.