Activism through Coaching: 9 Tips for Difficult Conversations

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In February 2021 my short story, “Musings of a COVID-19 Baby” appeared in Voices of the 21st Century: Resilient Women Who Rise and Make a Difference. Shortly thereafter I released my second independent project, Cultivating Change from the Inside Out: The Power of Being Human. While both these accomplishments were significant, they were actually steppingstones to a larger body of work that birthed an Activism through Coaching model and a podcast. All this activity was initially sparked by a soon-to-be-two-year-old boy named Cairo.

The Activism through Coaching model along with InflexionPoint Podcast rests upon four fundamental principles — courage, conversation, relationship, and accountability — based on the belief that, in addition to laws and legislation, politics and economics, if we are to move the social needle towards antiracism, we must also be willing to engage in critical self-reflection. In other words, to transform a nation, we must also be willing to engage in personal transformation and personal accountability. Yes, at the individual level! InflexionPoint Podcast is the place where individuals come to realize they don’t know what they don’t know.

Having said all that I also recognize that conversations about personal transformation, accountability, race, racism, and antiracism can certainly be difficult. And I do mean conversations — not arguments, debates, shouting matches, or fights. I mean conversations from a critical self-reflection standpoint. This is where courage enters the picture. It takes courage to be immersed in the historical and lived experiences of another group of people for the sole purpose of examining your own thoughts, ideas, and beliefs about that same group of people. It takes a double dose of courage to then examine what flows out from your words, actions, and behaviors into society.

Difficult conversations are exactly that, difficult, especially when the light of scrutiny is shining on our own lives. We don’t like having those types of conversations with others. We don’t like others having them with us. Consequently, we aren’t very good at them. We avoid having them as much as possible. And we often lie to ourselves saying that having the conversation only makes the situation worse. Or that we are walking in unknown territory. The…

Anita D Russell, Founder/CEO The Place to SOAR

Activism through Coaching | Author of Cultivating Change from the Inside Out: The Power of Being Human | Creating space for courageous conversation.