When I was a young, ambitious, college student, I was excited about setting out and creating my version of the American dream. I thought the formula was simple: work hard + study hard + “be professional” = wild success. Looking back on that time, I was naive about the obstacles I’d have to navigate to attain my dreams.
The obstacles were many. Having grown up in a low-income household, I didn’t have family to help pay for college. I settled on Management Information Systems as my major. It was far from my passion but seemed logical and lucrative. I was frequently the only black woman in my classes and at my IT internships, which felt isolating. I was perplexed and angered by corporate micro-aggressions before I knew there was a term for it. This was all in addition to the typical college-related drama of stress, imposter syndrome, relationships and more. While having mentors was nice, having a coach would have helped me develop critical skills including seeing more possibilities and finding my own resourcefulness.
In those days, having a coach was a best kept secret and privilege for those who had access and finances to invest in them. It certainly wasn’t a resource that was known by my parents or others in my mostly Black north Omaha community. Twenty years on, and that hasn’t changed much.
I wonder how much further I would be, how many more lives I could have impacted if I had access to an ICF credentialed coach. Hindsight is 2020, but I’m shifting my attention to making sure that under-served populations don’t have to ask the same question.
What is Coaching for Everyone?
Coaching for Everyone is a 501(c)(3) organization, that provides complimentary coaching to traditionally under-resourced populations, particularly Black, Latinx and Indigenous young adults, K-12 educators, and nonprofit employees. We match coaches with participants, to provide six free sessions. Our goal is simple: ensure that under-represented populations have full opportunity to maximize their potential in work and in life.
Why Access to Coaching is Critical
In a world where assimilation is encouraged and structural racism appears at every turn, it’s more critical than ever for low income and minority populations to have equal access to life-changing resources like coaching. Although formal research about access to coaching is extremely limited, anecdotally, there are large swaths of population that are simply overlooked. While equal in potential, Black, Latinx and Indigenous populations often shoulder unique burdens with access to fewer resources.
How to get involved with Coaching for Everyone
Visit our website for more information on:
- Scholarships for coach certification granted to Black, Latinx and Indigenous individuals
- ICF certified coaches becoming Coaching for Everyone coaches
- Become a founding member of our organization
Despite challenges of the past, I’m on the exact journey I’m supposed to be on. Please join me on this mission to help others create their most fulfilled lives by having access to the best of themselves. All of our futures depend on it.
Ashira Jones, ACC, Director of Coaching, Coaching for Everyone, helps single women of color over 30 go from self-sabotage supreme to designing the life of your dreams. She also provides life, leadership and relationship coaching to ambitious professionals from diverse backgrounds who want to simplify their lives, amplify their power and focus their energy for maximum impact. She also has a bachelor of science in management information systems and an MBA. Additionally, she completed the Certified Professional Co-Active Coach certification from The Coaches Training institute.