Coaching to Enhance Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, & Belonging

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, & Belonging

In today’s fast-paced and competitive business world, Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB) are critical keys to success. However, despite concerted efforts by companies to improve DEIB, progress remains slow. One approach that has gained traction in recent years is strength-based coaching, which focuses on harnessing individuals’ unique talents to achieve their personal and collective goals.

Using a Strengths-Based Approach for DEIB

Achieving DEIB, however, requires a shift from the traditional deficit-based approach to addressing problems to a more strengths-based approach. This is where the CliftonStrengths®, previously StrengthsFinder®, assessment comes in. By using this tool, leaders can understand their strengths and the strengths of their team. This article will explore the fundamental principles, benefits, and tips for implementing a strengths-based coaching strategy with leaders.

Understanding DEIB and Strengths-Based Coaching

DEIB is vital for any workplace’s success, especially in today’s interconnected and diverse world. At its core, a diverse workforce encompasses people of different backgrounds, genders, races, abilities, and lifestyles who bring valuable perspectives and talents. Therefore, companies focusing on diversity can effectively integrate various perspectives, approaches, and talents, leading to more creative problem-solving and innovation.

A strengths-based coaching initiative focusing on workforce diversity can help develop an inclusive and equitable sense of belonging in the company’s culture. This approach can highlight strengths recognize and value differences, and identify each person’s unique contribution that can drive overall success. As a result, employees can collaborate and communicate effectively without anyone expressing their background and experiencing bias by appreciating differing perspectives, talents, and skill sets.

Benefits of Strengths-Based Coaching

Strengths-Based coaching focuses on identifying and leveraging the positive qualities and talents that individuals already possess rather than trying to correct their weaknesses. This approach helps leaders to build confidence and leverage their strengths to effectively manage diverse teams and foster a culture of inclusion in the workplace.

By identifying and focusing on the unique talents of each team member, a strengths-based culture fosters a sense of belonging and empowerment among employees, leading to higher engagement, morale, and productivity. In addition, leaders and staff that receive strengths-based coaching are better equipped to communicate effectively and collaboratively with team members from different backgrounds, fostering trust and mutual respect.

Four Main Pillars of Strengths-Based Coaching for DEIB

The process I have used successfully in engaging leaders and organizations in Strengths-Based DEIB coaching has included the four key pillars of Education/Awareness, Self Reflection, Team Development, Action Planning, and Measurement.

Strengths-Based Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging coaching Model
Strengths-Based Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging coaching Model Williams/Pena 2023


Provide the leader or leadership team with information and education on the benefits of creating a strengths-based coaching culture. (The Business Case). The CliftonStrengths® assessment tool is a vital component when coaching for leaders. It identifies 34 robust talent themes expressed uniquely in each individual and provides a foundation for DEIB coaching.

Self Reflection

Have the leader or leadership team take StrengthsFinder and coach them on their talents and identify ways that they can use them effectively. Additionally, the Cascade tool generates Personal Insights and What I Bring and Need reports to gain a deeper understanding of talents. The Gallup Manager Report provides information on leveraging their talents with their teams to become more effective leaders.

Team Development

Use the CliftonStrengths® assessment with their team to identify their natural talents and enhance DEIB in the workplace. In addition, leaders can use the tool to learn about their team member’s strengths and adapt their management style to encourage and facilitate each person’s unique capabilities. Finally, creating a Team Grid using the Cascade tool will allow them to see their entire team’s strengths.

Action Planning and Measurement

Once leaders have identified their talents and ways to maximize the strengths of their team, the next critical step is to develop a robust action plan to leverage the team’s talents. Through strength-based coaching, leaders can help their teams better understand their strengths and how to use them to contribute to a strengths-based culture. This plan can focus on communication, employee engagement, well-being, and belonging. In addition, this action plan should include initiatives to encourage employees to share their unique experiences and their strengths so that they can be used to foster a sense of community and unity in the workplace. Finally, there should also be regular follow-ups on the plan to monitor and measure progress.


A strengths-based coaching approach is critical to success in today’s modern workplace, whether in an office, remote, or hybrid. Creating a culture of awareness and supporting a unique understanding of their talents can help break down barriers, increase collaboration, and ultimately drive the business forward. As we continue to push for greater DEIB in our workplaces and communities, we must recognize that these efforts should not solely focus on deficits or deficiencies. But on building on our collective strengths and assets. With the help of strength-based coaching, we can all work together to create a more equitable and just world where everyone can thrive. By identifying individual strengths, leaders can work to create a welcoming environment for all employees.

Additionally, incorporating strengths-based language into the organizational culture can help leaders value and celebrate diversity by creating a more positive and productive workplace. Investing in DEIB coaching will benefit individual employees and lead to a successful, competitive, more sustainable organization.

Further Reading

Deepen your effectiveness with Coaching Supervision
Coaching Refugees Immigrants and Displaced People
Strengthening the Coaching Relationship by Cultivating Trust

Written By Rita Williams

Gallup®, CliftonStrengths®, StrengthsFinder® and the 34 theme names of CliftonStrengths® are trademarks of Gallup, Inc.  All rights reserved. To learn more about CliftonStrengths®, please visit Gallup Access.

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