Listening Circles make progress on diversity and inclusion

Listening Circles make progress on diversity and inclusion

hand together

Paul Crick, our Professional Development Director, writes about the Listening Circles which met in December to discuss issues of diversity and inclusion.

The public statements by EMCC UK on diversity and inclusion are clear, but they must not end with a full stop. In fact, there should not even be a comma. We need to keep moving. There is work to be done inside EMCC UK and inside the organisations we serve and the leaders who make decisions in them. The focus is on all of us, and there is work for every one of us.

The Listening Circles we ran in December have been a great success. We have begun the process of moving forward. They have begun to answer the primary question: How do we help our mentors, supervisors and coaches in EMCC UK be more diverse and inclusive in their work from this day forwards?

If you would like to join one of the Listening Circles in January, please register here:

24 February 2021
10 March 2021
24 March 2021
7 April 2021
21 April 2021

Asking the questions

Thank you to all those who took the time, at the end of a frenetic and difficult 2020, to step up and join the conversation. It has been a vibrant, energising and honest conversation which has, so far, touched on several important questions:

• How do we raise awareness in ways that are meaningful, tangible and compassionate?

• Where does it make practical sense to begin our work, given the scale and complexity of the systems involved?

• How do we start with ourselves to do our work both in private and in public, and how is this recorded as part of our CPD?

• How do we identify what we are not seeing and not bringing into our work, specifically around issues of diversity and inclusion? How do we help our Supervisors with this specific issue?

• What resources do we need to share or signpost through our members to help and support them to develop the capacity needed to be more diverse and inclusive?

• How do we incorporate diversity and inclusion into our standards for accreditation beyond the potential trap of simply ticking a box and/or counting numbers?

• How does the economics of our profession need to change to be more diverse and inclusive?

• What does the process of allyship need to look, sound and feel like, and how do we walk our talk?

• How do we make it psychologically safe for others to contribute to the conversation?

What we have learned

So far, together, we have learned that:

• There is a healthy balance between the need for action and the need to see and hear the contribution of as many voices who wish to participate.

• The answers are ‘in the room’ already, and we simply need to ask and draw on the help available within our membership and beyond.

• We need to be practical and not get caught in complexity or use it as a reason to put things in the ’too hard’ box.

• We have expertise among us and beyond us that we can and must draw on.

• This is an ongoing conversation that requires time and patience.

• There is appetite for this conversation to go much further than where we are today.

• As the conversation evolves further, tangible next steps will emerge and be shared with you in subsequent newsletters.

The EMCC UK family is a highly skilled, highly experienced and compassionate group of professionals. I believe this makes the difference when people choose to be a part of our organisation. Our intention and the focus is to take the diversity and inclusion agenda forward in ways that have a meaningful and direct impact on the clients we serve, and on their constituencies.

The Listening Circles will be extended throughout 2021 – please watch for the February dates! We’re also asking each of the UK regions to add a Listening Circle to their event agenda in the first half of the year (and thank you, Norfolk, for being the first to do this). Please do join us, make your voice heard, and (to borrow a line) help be the change.

Photo: Matthew Henry