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UK Coaching Participation Team
Rapport Building and Communicating

Strategies for Reducing the Impact of Unconscious Bias

Six tips to help coaches ensure that they're making the right decisions for the right reasons – instead of being influenced by unconscious bias

Unconscious bias is the name given to the snap judgements and assessments that we make on a regular basis, without us noticing or realising. They're influenced by our background, cultural environment, personal experiences and even societal stereotypes.

Unfortunately, these snap judgements, if believed, can lead to people or groups being penalised. This includes in coaching and during sessions.

As we're human and fallible, it's impossible to completely remove or overcome all our unconscious biases. What we can do is consider where we can reduce the impact of our unconscious biases on our decision-making, giving us the confidence that we are making the right decisions for the right reasons. 

Common strategies to use against unconscious bias

  1. Be aware of your own unconscious bias. Develop your awareness of when it might arise, then you can re-think and start to challenge immediate assumptions. 
  2. Be aware of any ‘negative’ stereotypes and ‘positive’ stereotypes that you might hold.
  3. Notice when other people’s biases are likely to be influencing decision-making and choices and challenge stereotypes in others.
  4. Spend time with people different to yourself. Try to be friendlier with people you feel awkward around or don't know as well.
  5. Consider alternative points of view.
  6. Ask different people to review your thinking or work. Be brave and try people who will bring a different perspective to your own.

Unconscious Bias Series

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UK Coaching Participation Team