#IAMCandidateX with Dawn Jackson – Coach Inclusion

#IAMCandidateX with Dawn Jackson – Coach Inclusion

We all have our own wonderful uniqueness.

Sometimes its difficult to see it, feel it and exercise it in our work. Some of us require a little outside help from someone that you can trust. Coaching can help you realise just that.

Earlier this year just before the Pandemic, the amazing Dawn Jackson founded CoachInclusion and it was Dawn’s mission to provide accessible and inclusive coaching to anyone that really needed it but doesn’t realise it’s there for them.

Dawn shares with us her journey, hopes and visions for her new business and the role she has as Co-chair for Inclusion and belonging at the City Women Network.

We also talk about singing – her coping mechanism during Covid and her involvement with London City Voices and the amazing track recorded virtually between 280 members in support of Women’s Aid. Women’s Aid is a charity that provides life -saving services against domestic abuse.

You can watch their rendition of You’ve got a Friend by the amazing Carole King and PLEASE you can still donate to Women’s Aid – all details are in the link of the video.


Dawn Jackson – CoachInclusion – City Womens Network



coaching, people, organisations, inclusion, diversity inclusion, individuals, important, coach, bit, business, benefit, learning, coaches, support, diversity, services, talking, opportunity, moved, find


Man Wong, Dawn Jackson

Man Wong  00:06

Hi, welcome to the IAMCandidateX series the show about community, innovators, entrepreneurs and the impact they’re having in our world through diversity lens. I’m your host Man Wong and today we are joined by Dawn Jackson. Dawn is the Founder and Director of CoachInclusion and also the Co-Chair for Inclusion and Belonging for the City Women’s Network. May I also a great friend and advisor to the CandidateX team. Dawn, welcome. We’re thrilled to have you today. How are you?

Dawn Jackson  00:30

I’m good, Man. How are you?

Man Wong  00:33

Yeah, I’m alright. I’m alright. Thank you – still adjusting to everything that is going on trying to my best to stay out the kids way. Keep a smile and a brave face on my side as best I can. How are you adjusting to the lockdown?

Dawn Jackson  00:46

Yeah, good actually, I find myself reinventing myself every day, but that’s also very good.

Man Wong  00:51

That sounds exciting. What sort of things have you been up to?

Dawn Jackson  00:55

Oh, wow. All sorts of stuff. So as you rightly said, I’ve got a lot of coaching going on right now. I’m coaching a really wide section of interesting people, which is fabulous. People that I wouldn’t normally have coached in the past. I’m also doing some stuff with a Women’s Network. In fact, we have a board meeting in the next couple of days to talk about direction of travel around our events. We’ve moved a whole lot online as you can imagine. So it’s about making sure that’s working, we have traction, we have people interested in attending stuff like that. So yeah, I’m doing those two and doing some singing in as per normal once a week. Yeah. Which is keeping me sane I have to say,

Man Wong  01:33

Yeah, still meditation as well.

Dawn Jackson  01:36

Yep, still meditating as well doing my 15 minutes a day homework. I now attend a weekly meditation course for keeping me straight keeping me level headed, which is fabulous.

Man Wong  01:50

Yeah, it’s so important to keep yourself mentally stimulated as well as physically healthy, eating well, and all this sort of stuff, which is great. What are you missing for are locked down in your life? Favourite restaurant perhaps?

Dawn Jackson  02:02

Yeah, I mean, one of my hobbies if you can call eating a hobby

Man Wong  02:07

it’s an official hobby.

Dawn Jackson  02:09

It’s going out to restaurants. So I’m obviously living in London we have loads down here. And not having them open has been a real challenge walking past them rather than sitting inside them. I’m also I have a house in France as well. So I can’t get out there as often as I would like. So I’m kind of keeping my eye on the news to make sure that at some point opens up. Who knows when that will be?

Man Wong  02:31

Can you can you travel there? If you own a place I think or am I wrong there?.

Dawn Jackson  02:37

I would love you to be right. But no, you can’t. The second home basically so no, that’s not deemed as essential. I can understand that. But yeah, I mean, in the scheme of things, it’s not it’s not a big loss, but it’s something that was part of my life, along with the restaurant eating so the sooner the both come on up the line, the better.

Man Wong  03:00

Well, fingers crossed for you not long to go. And I guess before we sort of segue into the crux of the core of the conversation, I think on a personal note, I’ve certainly felt a bit more reflective during this period, right, I’m appreciating things that I think I would certainly have otherwise been taking for granted. You know, I often say to Treen at the moment, as soon as soon as everything returns back to normal, quote, unquote, you know, I definitely want to go see a band as soon as possible. What sort of things have you been? Well, I guess more thankful for but more grateful for.

Dawn Jackson  03:34

I’m grateful for the simpler things, your life takes on a much simpler perspective, and slows down. So I’ve been thankful for the extra reflection space I have. I’m at my most creative at the moment actually. That’s not been the case for some time. So that’s the stuff plus the simple things that are nature and appreciating birds, appreciating flowers, all those things which you don’t tend to even notice, I guess, you know, pre Covid, you didn’t really notice that to a certain extent but then now it’s a real appreciation of what’s going on around you.

Man Wong  04:09

It’s great isn’t it? Take some time to take a breath and have a look? Yeah and pause for a moment to consider everything. And so let’s get started. I’m really excited to chat to you about what you’re currently up to and how that journey has been for yourself a little bit your story really. I’d love to start with your your mission and vision as to what you’re doing with with your business Coach Inclusion and how that’s all sort of come about.

Dawn Jackson  04:34

Yeah, so if I start with what actually energises me and what I recognised over recent times, just where I should be focusing my energy that’s been on, ultimately baling to my values, one of which is fairness. So I suppose that’s my key value if you like, and I’m energised by the desire to make the world a fairer place. By that, what I mean is where people have the opportunity to succeed and have the opportunity to benefit from things like education, and other opportunities. And that should be available freely to everybody. It shouldn’t just be preserved or reserved for the few. So, with that, if we can get to a space where everybody has everybody in their uniqueness, I use the word uniqueness, quite specifically, everybody has their own uniqueness. And if we can get to the point where we can value uniqueness, and ensure that people feel a sense of belonging, whether that be in society or whether that be in corporates, for example, then that would give me a sense of real fulfilment, even being part of that journey if you like?

Man Wong  05:50

how did that come about then? So what’s, uh, what inspired I mean, it’s, it’s something that I, I feel, I feel the same as you know, it’s important to to see if we can work together to collaborate and make a fairer world and fair workplace. Opportunities for all. But what inspired you to did?  Was it people that you had met or experiences that you’d seen or…?

Dawn Jackson  06:13

Now remember, it’s there’s a couple of things and I often I, I learned from practical, practical scenario situations I find myself in increasingly over the years working in corporate, particularly missing scenarios I found or was finding that the same people were given the opportunity to speak, the same people were given the opportunity to run certain projects, the same people were, were treated slightly differently, probably unconsciously. And I was always the person that tried to pull it out. I was always the person that said, Well hold on a second, he’s got a point of view. I think she wants to speak rather than let’s just assume it’s the same voices, the same, perhaps, louder voices that got it got the attention. So I think a number of those scenarios I kept, they kept repeating themselves. I kept seeing it everywhere. And being somebody that came from a slightly underprivileged background and fighting to progress and have a meaningful role and to actually push myself, I recognise that there’s more people like me out there. And we need to start listening. And we need to start giving them a voice. So I think that’s where all spored really recognise it exists, unconsciously perhaps, and but also my own personal circumstances as well.

Man Wong  07:29

It’s it’s apparent that the more conversations I have, and the more of these shows that we do, when you talk about someone’s why it’s always down to an experience, isn’t it? And what you can see and moreover, it’s those that are, will take that brave step to go actually, that’s not acceptable for me, and I want to do something about it. It’s within your powers to do so. So did you feel in your time in corporate, or that you could see these problems that existed this gap, and you wanted to take and make some impact on there, but you felt that you couldn’t do it in corporate because , obviously I, I’ve said this to you in passing and personally, many times, anybody that starts their own business, I think it’s tremendously brave. And you know, everyone should be supporting and giving a lot of credit towards that. And you’ve done so the beginning of this year, smack bang over what we’re having now as pandemic and crisis. So I guess there’s a few questions in here. Did you feel it wasn’t possible to make that impact and that change within the corporate side? And you had to go it alone? And how has that process been through this period?

Dawn Jackson  08:31

I think it’s, it’s been possible to make change from inside an organisation and I have done that, but it’s the acceleration of that change, I think and the real laser focus on this agenda. I often found that I was, I suppose trying to push water uphill a little bit when it came to trying to get people to embrace inclusion fully across an organisation when so many, other distractions was happening. But now I have I recognise I’m in control of my own business, I can put that laser focus in place and start to think about what I can do. But I think that in itself can cause challenges because you’re only one person, one person in the business, as opposed to the benefit of having another many, many colleagues that you’re working alongside. They can actually power house the whole agenda. But in answer to your question. I think it depends on I think the opportunities internally to make a difference, but it depends on the speed at which you want to run I guess.

Man Wong  09:35

And coaching and in particular, inI mean, obviously, you’ll be biassed to say yes, it’s interesting, isn’t it? In the sense that I guess working very closely with people in the work of coaching and mentoring is where you feel that you can get the best impact and make these particular changes that you’re trying to advocate in and see?

Dawn Jackson  09:59

Yeah, I think, it’s a really good point because what I found is a lot of the awareness around inclusion goes to the heart of people’s beliefs and values, and what motivates them. And often that is a space that’s a little bit can be a little bit risky and scary for people to talk about in an open space. Coaching gives you the opportunity in a safe space to perhaps surface some of those things. And that I think, is where coaching is useful for driving inclusion because it allows you to talk about those things that might be perhaps not in somebody’s sphere of awareness, but you can surface to a good conversation.

Man Wong  10:42

Yeah, yeah, it’s a I think, you end up breaking down barriers a little bit easier, as well as suppose. You know, as a full disclosure, as someone who’s married to someone that’s used, has the benefit of your coaching. That’s what she certainly found and remarked upon, you know, someone objectively helped We break down barriers and understand things and see things in a different perspective rather than so close to you. And it’s interesting, I guess, in turn, that means that you have to be very selective with the types of people that you can work with people that you can coach as well, you can potentially coach people that were very close to you, or good friends, I suppose, right? Because the objective viewpoint is not there.

Dawn Jackson  11:21

it’s a strong code of ethics, particularly with the ICF International coaching Federation that I am a member of, which means that we have to be very, very cautious around the whole ethical side of coaching. So where things perhaps go beyond what we’re able to support that’s moving into things like therapy that we need to refer that we’re not, not able or should be attempting to try and sort out issues with people, which is not within our gift or ability to do so we have to be careful about who we coach. Having said that I could almost coach anybody, from any sector within any role Assuming that they are fully functioning, healthy, mentally healthy individuals. Yeah. That’s because coaching, in terms of approach is not selective of what type of function you’re in. It’s available to everybody freely available to everybody, and then everybody can benefit from it.

Man Wong  12:19

That’s excellent. Yeah. And have you out of interest? Have you used coaches in your, throughout your career?

Dawn Jackson  12:25

Yeah, I have actually I find it enormously helpful. I’ve got a coach. I have a supervisor coach and I have a mentor. So it’s a number of people that offer me different perspectives and offer me different I suppose  pathways if you like to consider that they come out in those conversations. So I think the support element when you’re a coach is extremely important. The supervision is very important.

Man Wong  12:53

Yeah, did you often find a barrier to getting these services done is our people or willing to ask for help and having that vulnerability? Or do you think actually it’s not? It’s not? It’s not that difficult anymore people, it’s, you know, it’s quite a common thing people will seek services of coaches?

Dawn Jackson  13:13

Yeah, I think it’s a journey. And I think the younger generation I’m finding are much more receptive. Then perhaps I can remember when I was younger, they’re much more open to it, and curious and ccommitted to actually to learn. I think that’s, that’s, those are sort of parts of an individual that you have to bring to coaching as a commitment and also a curiosity. To be a beginner, almost learning beginner, you know, because I’m constantly learning in life. So I think you bring those to the coaching conversation, then you know, it’s gonna be successful. But I think it’s when people are told to go on coaching, that is sometimes a problem, particularly if it’s like, remedial So that’s something to be aware of in big organisations around, what’s purpose coaching? Why are you putting somebody on it? And are they fully committed to it? Because that will also impact the effectiveness of it for

Man Wong  14:14

Just before we go into a bit more about your background and your sort of career to date, how does the How does coach inclusion differ from from other coaching services out there? What makes you unique?

Dawn Jackson  14:24

That’s a fabulous question. And it’s something that I need to become even more articulate on.

Man Wong  14:32


Dawn Jackson  14:32

And to have that real laser type sharp, crisp definition.

Man Wong  14:37

I love your honesty, Dawn.

Dawn Jackson  14:40

I’m talking to myself and I’m, I’m reinforcing this message in my head while I’m talking to you. Ultimately, for me, actually, inclusion brings one very, very important aspect into coaching and that is coaching people that wouldn’t normally have the opportunity to be coached and they may be people from different levels, they may be Junior managers, they may be individuals that are starting out. They could be people from different backgrounds, you know, for people with different ethnicities or different perspectives, who may not ordinarily be aware of the benefits of coaching. Those are the people that I proactively seek out if you like, because I think those are the ones that really will benefit from it. And that’s one thing. So, it’s basically ensuring that people from different backgrounds and different diversities get the opportunity. So that’s where the fairness piece comes in. The I suppose the other thing is, the slant is on. What does inclusion look like for leaders, for example. So it’s about not only the individual perspective, somebody as I just described, who wants to perhaps have a greater voice or sense of belonging, but it’s about leaders, creating that environment to help them happen, you can’t have somebody wanting to be wanted to belong if the environment doesn’t lend itself to that. So that’s where I’m focusing much more on inclusion as a enabler in that respect, as well as obviously focusing on different people that wouldn’t normally benefit from hedging.

Man Wong  16:19

It’s interesting, isn’t it? Because I think I think there’s a few points in your answer there. One from an access point of view, that’s brilliant, you know, to take…it sounds like much more about your, your plan of attack, when you were preparing this business, when you launched earlier this year, was on that basis, right. So, okay, so, you know, in the norm, as I understand coaching and training, you’d be very specific and targets maybe C suite or certainly the top of the pyramid. But I think you’ve be a lot more mindful to go actually the ones that probably didn’t need the support and attention are those maybe sort of middle management. Who has we often say are kind of obviously taking all the all the all the grunt work from the top and then they’ve got an disseminate down to the troops as well. So they’ve got a very precarious role to play into. And it’s interesting from an access point of view, that these individuals might not necessarily feel that they either warrant it, know about it even are aware of it. So it’s it’s really good to consider from that access point. And do you feel in this period then that that idea has managed to grow and people like ourselves have been more reflective and seek the services of yourself because you know, talking off air, since January it’s been growing, right?

Dawn Jackson  17:39

Yeah. I’m fine. I asked that question that’s wanting to say Can I steal the word accessible from you? I absolutely love that idea of accessible coaching. I think that’s a great statement as well. I’m going to steal that with pride. Thank you.

Man Wong  17:52

And I’ve stolen enough things from you Dawn, that you’ve been saying. Half the website of CandidateX is written by you I’m sure.

Dawn Jackson  17:59

Quid pro quo then and that’s fine. Yeah. The other thing that I think is growing, but I think the credit gap still exists is where the budget comes from to find the code. So ordinarily, that funding is available at the pay, or people not far from the top of the tree, whereas middle management don’t often get that focused support development. They probably get access to a course within perhaps an organisation where a few elements but they wouldn’t necessarily get coaching. And I think it is growing and I think when I’ve worked in previous organisations, I was working for a development provider, linked to apprenticeship programmes in the UK. And then those I coach were middle managers. And they often said, This is fantastic. This is this is the tool in the course. This is where the rubber hits the road where the learning, actually you reflect on the learning and you then start to think about how you might apply it. So that’s the bit that is really important about it. So, I think that’s growth is growing, as more organisations recognise the value, but I think there’s still an issue with the budgeting behind it and funding of it. And I often find people are self-funding at the moment at that level, because they can’t obviously, take advantage of supply chain within the organisation.

Man Wong  19:19

Of course, yeah. And then and but as a small business compared to more established coaching organisations, for instance, there have a larger workforce, you’re yourself. And, you know, all the decision making is with you. So, in that respect, you’re a lot more agile. And you can you’ve been able to navigate this crisis, or guess quite effectively, because as I said, your numbers are growing, which is, which is really great to hear. Whereas I, I think, you know, hearing on the grapevine, not all coaches are experiencing the same sort of fortune, sadly.

Dawn Jackson  19:52

Yeah, I’ve experienced that as well. I get a lot of your point. But I think, go back to your point about agile. I think it’s important in this environment. be adaptable. So I mean, you know, who knows I’m taking a direction, it may not work, you know, might be something that’s perhaps short lived. But you have to keep true to what you believe in and follow that. And if it might, it means tweaking occasionally or redirect to certain things, that’s fine. But I think everything I do is tied to my one sort of key value key driver, which is the whole fairness, equality and equity piece. So, whether that be in this format or something slightly different, it’ll always be there as part of any anything I do.

Man Wong  20:33

Brilliant. Now, just to cast your mind back a little bit then you’ve not always been in coaching and not certainly not always in diversity inclusion as well. You started your career in IT. So how did how did that metamorphosize into what you’re doing today

Dawn Jackson  20:49

we’re talking now about 100 years ago Man!

Man Wong  20:52

Don’t be silly.

Dawn Jackson  20:55

I’m casting my mind back to those first those first years in Investment Banking in actually IT. It absolutely would have to petrified me at that time, but to be honest, like many people in my position at that time and many people now I wasn’t sure what I want to do after University. So I kind of like, I’m interested in London, okay, so I thought lets try that and almost push myself out of my comfort zone.  Okay, let’s see whether I am recruitable into the city into the big city, and then that’s how I got into it. But you have to almost see a segue between skills you have and what you can offer. So I found very quickly that my French skills French speaking skills because I did French in at University was something that would be valuable in IT particularly when you’re talking to other countries.  So I was working on a help desk translating various things with Paris. So that was my, that was a common thread that benefited both or I have like we offered somebody else to take advantage of and that’s how it started. I started off in IT and then realised very quickly IT perhaps was not the right sector for me. And I learned that quickly because I’m seeing a lot of project management at the time and realised that the reasons why my projects were not always getting the traction is because of the people element. You have all these wonderful work streams like communication or business, business, deliverables and stuff like that, but the learning the development, the engagement was missing. So I realised quickly that would be the more satisfying route for me to take, which is why then move out of it into HR.

Man Wong  22:35

Well, and if you can remember how it was back then, what was IT in the City for a young lady at the time?

Dawn Jackson  22:45

Oh, yeah, back in the day was it was challenging. I mean, some organisations didn’t even have HR functions. And if they were there, they were very transactional. You know, anything around discrimination or anything like that, if you felt harassment, bullying that just wasn’t really taken that seriously because everybody was driving towards the bottom line and I think things have moved a long way since then. So do you have to develop a bit of resilience a bit of a thick skin and the coping strategy for that kind of thing at the time, which I did quite well. And never really had a problem in that respect now since because I guess I’m comfortable in my own skin on that, and I’ve learned coping strategies from that experience.

Man Wong  23:31

Probably didn’t recognise it at the time, but it probably gave the initial seeds to what you go on to do because obviously, you’ve moved into HR after that, very centralised and some people and then moved into other roles surrounded diversity inclusion, right?

Dawn Jackson  23:43

Yeah, you’re probably absolutely right, Man. So thanks for that. Because that’s a real sort of discovery on my part is probably was the seeds were sown at that point? Hmm.

Man Wong  23:53

Yeah, through those experiences and then then from the HR role, obviously, you’re anchored yourself into I think you’ve mentioned to me previously was a maternity cover for an insurance company as their diversity and inclusion head.

Dawn Jackson  24:06

Yes, that’s why it’s I had a bit of a long career in talent and learning leadership for a while. And then I embarked on a bit of engagement work. And then somebody somewhere made me aware of a maternity cover on diversity inclusion, and I said, Okay, not quite sure what that is, but I will have a look anyway. And then I was successful because I bought the engagement angle as well, which is what they wanted. And the D&I stuff would have been a massive learning curve for me but one I think that fit quite nicely into you know, what was important to me in a job.

Man Wong  24:36

And then just for my mind that how long ago was that that first role in D&I and why I’m asking that is I’m just curious to see from your perspective, whether the challenges and solutions that look to engage this challenge of diversity inclusion in the workplace, has IT moved on, you know, are the challenges slightly different to when you first engage with it or do they remain the same

Dawn Jackson  25:01

Yeh, we’re talking about five years ago. So it wasn’t that long ago to be exposed to diversity and inclusion, and I think some of the issues are the same in terms affecting traction, making change happen quickly enough. And moving the dial if you like, you know, I think conversations around inclusion and diversity have been going on, I think, since around 1970. with IBM, and they did a lot of work around it start with and I think the problem we have is, is the pace at which change is happening. What I am finding though, which is a real positive is the fact that people now are understanding how D&I links to business priorities. They are better able to articulate that whereas few years ago, perhaps that wasn’t the case. So the business case for diversity inclusion is much more solid now, if you like. The business case, the social case, the legal case, all those things are a little bit clearer in people’s minds. So we are kind of at an opportunity where we could start to really leverage that and make make progress. But then obviously you’ve got the COVID issue which may well decelerate some of that work.

Man Wong  26:11

and using consistent enablers and inhibitors in terms of progress for diversity inclusion during those five years, so it seemed, you know, what I’m what I’m conscious of is whether the, whether the conversation remains the same and obviously, we want to move this dial and show progress and show impact. You know, and whilst there have been… I see many initiatives coming out, which seemed really solid and so promising. I guess the cynical part of me sometimes when I’m when I’m talking to organisations, because I’ve worked as a recruiter for 15 years that I’ll meet a manager that tells me this is what I need to tell you that I’m looking for. And then I get an under the table kind of job spec for what they’re really looking for, because that’s what they know and all that sort of stuff. So, you know, and you’ve got the the privy of this insider perspective, you know, whether it is a tick box exercise, which I fear sometimes it may be. Or actually, you know, well and truly there are some very genuine things out there and there are people fighting this because we’re, you know, in your role five years ago, I can’t imagine diversity inclusion was such a big market space down there. And we’ve often talked about it, I think singularly in an organisation you could just end up being a lot a lobbyist trying to garner momentum and interest, right. So I’m just interested for your perspective, you think that’s moved that’s changed that idea.

Dawn Jackson  27:31

And I think it’s so dependent on the organisation to be honest, because different organisations have different levels of maturity towards diversity, inclusion, and are different stages of the journey. So it’s difficult always to say, has progress be made because it comes down to the culture and the organisation and their levels of maturity around diversity inclusion. But then I have noticed is a recognition that there’s loads of people doing loads of stuff, good stuff with good intentions. But it’s still not having the desired result. So somewhere we need to start doing something differently to gain traction. But I think also there’s a recognition that organisations need to work more closely together to bring about change. You can’t attack this agenda from an individual organisational angle, you have to come together to create a societal shift, I think. And I think there’s a better appreciation of the fact that this is not always a battle. You can fight on your own if you want to achieve big change. And there’s so much linked isn’t that to society’s norms, and organisations norms, you’ve got to look at the  wider pool in which you play as an organisation to bring about change. You can’t do it all within one organisation on its own.

Man Wong  28:50

I couldn’t agree more. I think that’s so interesting, this collaboration aspect, you know, look at look at ERG group. And different setups that support and fly the flag for diverse groups in individual buckets, but I find that quite siloed. And, you know, maybe it’s my idealistic mindset I feel if actually everybody got on the phone and spoke to each other, or did a zoom call now, because they can’t meet whether a great deal more traction could be a sort of achieved really, because you’re right, you know, these problems are sometimes quite systemic. And it does require a lot more work and sharing of ideas to make that change. And, you know, perhaps not the conversation to have now but it’d be very interesting to sort of see how that might sort of work out and whether you can feature that into the coaching that you do as well with some of the some of the people that you work with. Moving into back into the sort of coaching idea. Inclusive coaching for me sounds very intuitive, very new. I love as I said, the accessibility and aspects of it. What’s, what’s the marketplace? Like? Is it pretty embryonic at this stage? Did you find?

Dawn Jackson  30:07

Yeah, I mean, there’s, there’s not many inclusive coaches out there. Or if there are there different definitions of what that means. So, you know, inclusive coaches and coaching could sometimes be around coaching people with certain disabilities specifically. So, making, as you said, coaching accessible to that group of people. But there’s, there’s less inclusion in coaching and that could be inclusion in terms of diverse backgrounds, being coaches, so diverse individuals being coaches, as well as thinking around inclusion, and keeping that front and centre when you’re coaching. So that that kind of stuff is very embryonic in my view, and more needs to be done about it, to allow us to, I suppose, support adequately the diverse world we now live in. We have so much diversity. Why is coaching, only really offered to or available to or resonating with people that have a certain background. Why not expand that? So I think that’s where it’s new.

Man Wong  31:15

Yeah, removing it just from people that perhaps in positions of privilege or or ability to have that right.

Dawn Jackson  31:23

That seniority

Man Wong  31:23

 Yeah. And which is so, so important. And then Have you found, I guess I’m in your early point as well, how diversity inclusion as a wider, perspective, some of the initiatives and all that progress, maybe, slow down or and we also obviously hope not, during this period, and in turn, have you found your services when you’ve been trying to use it? Obviously, you got to put a business development hat on which, which is which is I’m sure new and exciting for you.

Dawn Jackson  31:52


Man Wong  31:53

Yes, yeah. Someone who’s accustomed to bashing the phone for most of my career I know how you feel. It’s not the most comforting thing to do. But um, have you found this period actually close more doors for you or actually so opened more doors for you?

Dawn Jackson  32:12

I think to be realistic. I think the doors have been closing, because it’s probably the first thing that people de-prioritise when they’ve got issues with budget. So coaching is like, Oh, no, we can’t do that because, and the more forward thinking organisations and leaders are seeing the opportunity, but since closed doors been opened others I would say.

Man Wong  32:37

Yeah and what my my biggest fear of the whole thing is whether people – we were talking about this off air earlier, are experiencing diversity fatigue in this situation, you know, and it’s like, I listen to a show about football a lot. They keep talking about the fact that they probably shouldn’t be talking about football while people are dying. You know.

Dawn Jackson  32:59

Fair point

Man Wong  33:00

I know it’s not the, you know, I’m trying to be careful not to compare apples with oranges here. But when you’re talking to business leaders, it’s kind of like, like Diversity and Inclusion is very important for us, because that’s a word that we’re engaged into. And we understand all the impacts and effects. But as a leader of a business, for instance, you know, it’s often been said, you’re worried about the next pound, and how do you pay the bills and keep people on? It’s wherever that slides down the pecking order. So, I’m curious, you know, from the engagements that you’ve had, do you find that people are experiencing a little bit diversity fatigue?

Dawn Jackson  33:32

Yeah. And I think it’s not just relevant for now. I think it’s been around for a little while, which is why I’m really keen to change the narrative around it so that it’s not just the conversation that says why isn’t diversity inclusion, changing things fast enough? It’s about perhaps redirecting that conversation to be, how can diversity and inclusion really benefit you as a leader and your priorities, so you know, whether that’s around gaining new customers or understanding customer needs, it’s about changing the narrative to be much more aligned and in sync with leaders and what keeps them awake at night and what they’re focusing on. That’s where the opportunity exists. And maybe that’s something about how we also talk to leaders around how inclusion can benefit and help them as they move through this COVID journey from a lockdown now to reopen and into future New World whatever that is.

Man Wong  34:30

Yeah, it’s it’s an interesting situation and you know, what he wants, there’s, there’s these services out there, that can that can help, either in the situation through transition and certainly in a new world. It’d be interesting for people to sort of know learn more about that. In that respect, then can you talk a little bit about your process? How do you work in your coaching as to what that might look like if I was to if I was to come on, talk on the shoulder and say, I’m interest in your services what would that process look like?

Dawn Jackson  35:02

It’s down to each individual. But generally speaking, what tends to happen is I would ensure through a chemistry conversation on a one to one basis, that we are a good fit for each other. It’s a partnership, it’s not a one way thing. It’s a partnership. So it needs to work for both sides. That is where you start to get a feel for the individual and you start to work out what is keeping them up at night, what’s what’s on their mind. And then you make sure that the level of trust is starting to develop, you can’t have coaching without trust. And so a lot of it is about building the right relationship between the two of you. So once the coaching chemistry session as happened, we then start to look at, you know, the number of sessions you might need, and the kind of two way contracts you need to do in terms of what do I need from you? What do you need for me? It’s really important to get out to help build the trust and on the honesty and openness if you like, so all that contracting up front is absolutely vital to make the coaching successful for the client as possible. It’s their conversation, I’m there to shine the light and to and to perhaps point out things that may be blocking them but they’re unconscious of them. So that’s the kind of process it follows and obviously then you have an opportunity to agree coaching goals and then you come back and revisit them to make sure that the coaching has actually helped achieve them.

Man Wong  36:31

It’s fairly extensive, isn’t it? So what does success look look like for you with the individuals that you’re coaching then is it the light bulb moment? Is it something that they end up doing? How does that how  does that look for you and how does that make you feel?

Dawn Jackson  36:45

It’s the raising the awareness. So I see light bulbs, or breakthrough moments. That is stuff that I really do feel fulfilled around because if I can help to shine that light, then that’s to me that’s that’s progress. Whether or not The end of successions that now they actually started doing things differently is a  different thing. And that’s down for them to determine. But for me if they are perhaps benefiting from a different approach or thinking about things they wouldn’t have thought of before, on earthing, there’s nuggets that have been hidden inside you for how many ever however many years, that to me is progress.

Man Wong  37:24

It’s digging to that uniqueness of those individuals.

Dawn Jackson  37:27

Yeh finding that uniqueness and digging into it, yeah, completely, always.

Man Wong  37:31

Brilliant. And segueing into a little bit of a about the city Women’s Network. Can you tell me a little bit more about what they do? What’s its purpose and how did you come about to be involved?

Dawn Jackson  37:44

Okay, so the City Women’s Network is a wonderful network that was established in the 1970s, I think, and their mission is to enable members to engage with their authentic selves and to bring their purpose to life through connectivity, collaboration, sharing, learning and trusting relationships. And an important point of  having fun at the end o it. So I love that mission. It captures the essence of what that network is all about. And I got involved purely through as is mostly the case nowadays, you’ll probably find Man is through connection – through network connections. So somebody I spoke to who was a fellow coach, recommended, I talked to the VP of the network. And we started talking about inclusion and my role in it in the past and my feelings and my passions around the subject. And she said, We’d love you to apply for this, this inclusion role on the board. And I thought about it and thought, yeah, okay, great, but now I haven’t got the time and that’s not white for me. And interesting enough, sometimes, you don’t always see what’s the best for you at the time. Like coaching, to be honest, is when you sort of recognised for conscious thoughts around something. So I said no. And she said, You need to rethink because I think this is exactly what you need. Within half an hour, I’d sort of decided, yes, okay, I’m going for it. You know, seems been a great journey since, you know, I thought regretted that decision at all, a wonderful set of like minded individuals all working together voluntarily to, to help bring this, you know, these members together and to help forward learning which is fantastic. Yeah, so the network is one to look at, and to think about because it is a way of sharing your thinking and your, your, I suppose your expertise with each other, I guess.

Man Wong  39:44

Brilliant. So you’ve gained a larger network, some more interesting individuals to sort of engage with I guess, and then as that then provided you with a larger platform in the work that you do, and more interest in the work you do as well?

Dawn Jackson  40:02

Yeah, I think it’s that way of, of validating as well, because you’ve got a wonderful group of people, they’re all very focused on, you know, driving greater inclusion. And so it really does bleed over into my, my coaching work. And that’s really necessary and really important because one supports the other. And I’m finding myself having conversations from a slightly different perspective on the same subject, which is enormously valuable. And he’s helping my thinking at the same time.

Man Wong  40:35

And members, membership was so the individuals and also organisations and corporates, right?

Dawn Jackson  40:42

Organisations and corporates Yeah, we have a number of corporate members, and we have a larger number of individual members. And we offer now thanks to the COVID I suppose catalyst if you like we offer all of that online, which has been remarkably successful, to be honest and it’s more – I love your words keep going back to it – accessible because it’s online and because people, it’s much easier, isn’t it just to look at Zoom and find the right the right session dial into it, then if having to get on the tube and then go and find the venue. So it’s offered a space, which perhaps wouldn’t have been open to as many people in the past.

Man Wong  41:23

And you’d obviously encourage people to look into this and come on board and join as a member.

Dawn Jackson  41:30

Yeah, have a look and see what’s, what’s going on. See some of the events, you can actually attend the events. I think that we’re offering people to attend but with a nominal contribution to a charity, we have a charitable partner called Well Being of Women. So for a non for a nominal donation, you could come and experience and see just what sorts of events are being put on by the network.

Man Wong  41:55

Yeah, that’d be great. I think I think, I mean, I often I often refer people to you to go. You know, there might be interesting individuals for the City Women’s Network, because I’m fascinated with the work that you guys do. And I think it’s it does some tremendous things with great impact and and I love how diverse the community is, you know.

Dawn Jackson  42:15

Thank you for doing that Man because I’ve noticed up taking over people wanting to find that more noticeable, you know, so clearly it’s filling a gap for people at the moment wanting to create communities will be part of the community that perhaps they’ve lost a little bit of since they’ve been working from home.

Man Wong  42:33

I think I think more than ever, right? In this situation, even before COVID there’s a lot of people who are either in senior management roles or just starting out or got their own business, whatever it might be. Will be going through something and often feel like there is no support. I’m kind of doing this on my own and I need a bit of help and having community of in this case women who are in similar situations, but have a different perspective. different experiences can be so beneficial and fruitful. And that’s why that’s why I’m always eager and keen to go link in with the likes of yourself. So that they can they can harness some of that.

Dawn Jackson  43:08

Because when you say unique individuals, Man,

Man Wong  43:11

indeed. Absolutely. I need to write that down.

Dawn Jackson  43:15

You. you’re wonderfully unique Man.

Man Wong  43:19

I hope I inspired that from you. I’m just conscious of time. So I’m just going to segue into to draw us to a bit of a close so what’s what’s the future look like for you? Once we get out of this guy’s and locked down? How are you looking to, to ramp up things for CoachInclusion in the work that you’re doing for the city Women’s Network?

Dawn Jackson  43:41

Yeah, it’s a good question. And one again, I’m still deliberating on but I’m finding increasingly and thanks to a wonderful ICF conference last week when I attended a number of wonderful speakers. One of the things I took away from that coaching conference was the importance of collaboration for not only just finding your niche as a coach also collaborating with others. So I think there’s enormous power in connection and joining forces and supporting each other. So if I come across somebody that I can’t potentially support or don’t feel that I’m the right person to support for my coaching side, I offer that person or somebody else I think is better place to serve them. I think it’s that mindset shifting into a lot of to me to an us mindset around coaching and the other pieces around coaching professionalism. So you probably know, Man, that there’s so many coaches out there, the moment so many and I think it’s about making sure that we are disciplined in how we present ourselves as coaches, whole professional coaching, very important to underline, you know, we’ve got to make sure that people see this as a credible profession. Hence, the reason why it’s so important to have qualification and credentialing and things like that and to ensure that it’s, it’s perceived and seen in the right way. Which, I think Sometimes that’s been a problem for coaching in the past.

Man Wong  45:03

Yeah, I think that’s really interesting, isn’t it? Because, like any profession, there are – it in my mind is always good. And then there’s bad in any job that you do, right and, but it’s much easier for the bad to affect the perspective of the good. So and that mindset is really important so that people understand and gravitate to very impactful useful resources that are in the work that you’re trying to do. And that’s, you can provide fair access to as well and not allow other people’s sort of less well natured kind of services affect that. And, and I think the collaboration piece is so important, you know, we’ve touched upon earlier about the organisations and, you know, one question I always wanted to ask was, you know, how can, how can CandidateX community help and I think it’s about that engagement really, because what we like to do in the end, is because we’re speaking to so many different types of organisations that have this very …  have different services and products that they want to offer in the market. It’s always about diversity, inclusion and appending. It is trying to connect all these individuals together. I mean, to your point earlier, you’re not a therapist, right? But you might go into a situation with individuals that require some of that. So be good to get that connection made. So you can support each other really.

Dawn Jackson  46:20

It’s ethical as well the right thing to do, because we will not be offering coaching if we’re not qualified to do so. So you kind of hit twice against the ethical requirements of the profession, which is something that we all stronglyu adhere to. So that’s another point. I think kind of the x is a great point, because kind of the X and what you believe in, and I’m looking at your website now and what you stand for, which is fabulous. It believes in the world where everyone can be their true selves, within the workplace, where every voice is heard – wonderful. So resonant with what I’m doing, and everybody feels a true sense of belonging. So, I suppose it’s a lovely life. In between proach inclusion and CandidateX, I think that what you have that would be really helpful is the community, the power of community that you’re establishing as a means of moving forward. That is something I think that I, personally in my business could really leverage, as well as the fact that we’re so aligned in terms of our purposes as well.

Man Wong  47:19

Absolutely, coaching is is something that’s come on the radar more prominently throughout the last few years and whatnot. But inclusion and idea coaching to get established at all ages is really important. Because if you can, you can imprint that from an early age throughout your career, you know, if I knew about this sort of thing, back in my late 20s. I think what I’ve been able to achieve with my teams and other other individuals would have been magnified.

Dawn Jackson  47:46

Yes, yeah, I see that when I was working in fire organisations, lead as a coach is critical. And the number of courses I used to run with them and externals is, again, is achievable light bulbs. Leaders go, oh, my goodness, this is so simple, but I don’t do it. Yeah. So I think so much opportunity to focus on that. And maybe demystify coaching because coaching is seen as I  said before to be an elite service.  Service was provided when you get up to the heady heights of senior management, but maybe we are branding it in the wrong way. It doesn’t necessarily need to lose its credibility at all. But we need to make it more accessible and available to people that wouldn’t normally have it.

Man Wong  48:31

Brilliant and a bit of an open call to anybody listening then that’s interested in these services get in touch.  I think they i think i think there’s some tremendous rewards and benefits from the from that experience and I’m speaking from that as who’s, who’s very close to obviously, married to even the person that’s experienced this. So through working with you and Treena’s remarks on how helpful that’s been which is brilliant. But before I let you go because I know you’ve got a coaching call to get on to. I want to talk to you about your singing very quickly that you mentioned right at the beginning there. So Dawn, you’re part of the London City Voices right?

Dawn Jackson  49:07

That’s correct.

Man Wong  49:08

And you did a you did a rendition. You did a rendition with your choir not so while ago for You’ve got a Friend that the Carole King cover for charity. So can you tell us a little bit about that?

Dawn Jackson  49:21

Yeah, so this is where how I kind of decompress, I relax by singing. I’ve sung for a long time in different places. But I enjoy the weekly get together, the London City Voices is a massive choir that works across London. I think we’ve got 400 members now

Man Wong  49:35

Oh my word that’s tremendous.

Dawn Jackson  49:37

Yeh. So if you imagine lockdown that happened and singing off the agenda in a group anyway, because of their, you know, the risk of catching from each other. Singing because of the way in which works, you’re breathing. You’re singing loudly. It doesn’t lend itself to being socially distant necessarily. So we decided in fact, it was not my idea but the musical director decided that we could be something valuable here and make some money for charities. We all got together in our independent houses, and basically recorded our own self singing our voice parts, so I’m alto two in the choir. And I had to sing and record myself as well. So it was a visual and auditory treats for everybody. And then Richard, our musical director, put it all together. which apparently is is extremely time consuming, and it wouldn’t even pretend to guess what he did. But then he then produced this wonderful song with all of us singing in harmony. And there must have been something like 280 people who did that recording. And, and yeah, and we put it out there. It was on the news actually recently, and it actually has made over 50,000 pounds for the Woman’s aid Charity, which is a charity to support victims of domestic abuse, which as you can imagine, As increased rapidly at this time. So yeah, that was what we did probably about a month ago now, which was wonderful, experience. And you’re still taking donations, right?  Yep still taking in donations. Yep. So you can look at London City voices in any way and look on YouTube, you can see all the wonderful stuff we’ve done, and then you’ll be able to see how to donate to if you’d like to, as well.

Man Wong  51:26

A tremendous achievement. I mean, 50,000 pounds. When so much so much about finances is in the air in the media all the time. Just shows how generous people are and how aware people are about people’s circumstances, particularly those that are vulnerable during this pandemic and great effort from you guys. 200 people to do something virtual must have been such a crazy experience wonderful experience. And you know, you guys deserve immense amount of credit. Took me at least 10 to 15 minutes to try and find you on the video screen.

Dawn Jackson  52:00

Yeah. So many of us yeah, the whole experience of recording yourself. Singing, when you don’t normally sing alone was also quite challenging. But again, this is all about pushing yourself out of your comfort zone. You know, I had time to do it. So why wouldn’t I? It’s also the spirit of supporting such a good charity.

Man Wong  52:20

Absolutely, I will be sure to include the links to the donation and also the video on our programme notes. Everybody needs to get on this and enjoy it. It was a it was brilliant. I very much enjoyed it –  I love Carole King. So it was a great little rendition so well done to you guys. Dawn, I want to say a big thanks to you for for joining me today. It’s been a it’s been really a lot of fun for chatting as usual. But getting to know a little bit more about your career and what you’re what you’re looking to do and achieve. And, you know, we wish you all the best of luck with it all.

Dawn Jackson  52:50

Yeah, thanks as well, Man for having me and for the useful reflections and stuff that I’ve also learned today. So thank you so much.

Man Wong  52:57

You’re most welcome. So thanks to everybody for listening. Be good, be kind and everyone stay safe.

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