Integrating diversity, equity and inclusion skills into the field of professional coaching

In the field of leadership and executive coaching, it is thought that, no matter the sector or industry, “coaching, is coaching, is coaching…” However, as more people, at various levels of system, gain access to coaching support, it is becoming clear that social group identity can…and often does, factor into the coaching relationship.

Coaching with identity in mind has become a front burner issue, not only for professional coaches, but also for those individuals and organizations offering coach training.  In fact, in 2019, the International Coach Federation (ICF) added the word “identity” to its Core Competencies in several locations, speaking to the importance of a coach’s ability to be sensitive to, understand and express respect for the fullness of their clients. As a result, many coach training schools and organizations have begun revising and updating their coach training curricula to include content that speaks to coaching with an identity lens.  However, what of the tens of thousands of coaches, worldwide, who were never trained to coach using this lens?  How will demographic changes and environmental changes, such as COVID-19, impact the coaching field in the months and years to come?  What can we, as coaches, learn today that will help truly connect with all of our clients in the future?

Our writing and coach workshops address these questions. We coined the term Fifth Domain Coaching™ as there are typically 4 domains in which coaches are trained to intervene (Cognitive, Somatic, Emotional and Spiritual). The Fifth Domain model and tools prepare coaches to intentionally use the lens of social group identity in their coaching relationships.

Please check in regularly to view our latest publications and programing. We would love to see you at one of our virtual or in person workshops!

Meet the Coaches

Amber L. Mayes,


Amber is an African American & Greek, Gen X, heterosexual, Cisgender woman. She grew up in the Boston area with a middle class family in a racially diverse, working class neighborhood. Raised in a multicultural household by an African American father from Georgia and a Greek immigrant mother, she developed an early passion for helping people communicate across differences. In the past 23 years, Amber has developed a global leadership coaching  practice that integrates issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion. Her passion is coaching leaders in marginalized social identity groups to help them hone their authentic leadership style and navigate biased systems that tell them they are “not enough.” Amber is based in Northern California. She is a stepmom of two incredible women and a proud auntie of the best 11-year-old on the planet!

Sukari Pinnock-Fitts,


Sukari is a cisgender woman, using the pronouns she, her, and they. A member of the African diaspora, she is a heterosexual Baby Boomer, living with a hidden disability and some degree of socio-economic privilege as a U.S. National. She has no religious affiliation, believing strongly that the “universe provides.” She is the daughter of a Jamaican immigrant father and South Carolinian mother, and was raised with one sibling in a working-class, multi-racial neighborhood in Los Angeles. Now residing in Northern Virginia, on the unceded tribal lands of the Nacotchtank (Anacostan), Sukari has been developing leaders in all sectors for over 20 years. She supports clients in the U.S. and abroad – virtually and face-to-face. She is a devoted partner-spouse, a proud parent, and a favorably biased “Nona” to three delightful grandsons.

Featured Publications

Coaching in the Fifth Domain

The Fifth Domain: Coaching With Identity In Mind

Navigating Social-Group Identity in the Coaching Relationship: Exploring the Fifth Coaching Domain: Part 1

Navigating Social-Group Identity in the Coaching Relationship: Exploring the Fifth Coaching Domain: Part 2

Upcoming Coach Training Workshops

November 17-19, 2024 Workshop:

The Competencies of the Fifth Domain: An Introduction to Applying a Social Identity Lens to the Coaching Partnership

This virtual workshop will assist coach leaders, educators, and trainers by challenging them to think about how their respective world views and social group identities may influence and inform the way in which they coach, train and present. More specifically, the Foundational Fifth Domain Coaching workshop will speak to the ICF competencies that encourage the development of a rigorous “reflective practice” for coaches. With all of the turmoil swirling in communities and organizations all over the world, the importance of understanding why differences matter is crucial to establishing relationships that cultivate real trust and safety between coach and coachee. The ability to bring one’s “brave self” to the coaching partnership cannot be overstated.

When group identity (age, ability, race, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, etc.) differences between the coach and the coachee are present, but unaddressed, the potential to “miss the client” or misunderstand the context in which the client is referencing their situation, is high. Most coach-training organizations spend little, if any time, preparing coaches for the difficult conversations that can arise around issues of difference. We do not believe this to be an explicit oversight, but instead, is likely the result of an “unseen area” in most coach-training curriculum. When those developing coach curricula hold similar world views to those of the dominant culture – no matter where they are in the world – the significance of group identity differences can be invisible. This has resulted in many ICF-credentialed coaches working to manage the gap between what they have been taught prior to 2020, and what they need to know today to effectively support those they are coaching.

The workshop is designed to raise awareness, test assumptions and practice developing inquiry skills in what we have dubbed “Coaching’s Fifth Domain.” While the presentation will hit on many of the most recent ICF competencies, the emphasis will be on helping Coaches to build reflective practices and consider context in their coach practice, using an identity lens.

This will be a small, intensive group workshop capped at 8 participants allowing for ample individual attention.

Completion of this course will provide permission to use The Group Identity Wheel with your clients. (The Group Identity Wheel is featured in two recent publications: Equity: How to Design Organizations Where Everyone Thrives and Advance DEI Using Talent Development Expertise.)

Dates and Times:

Sunday, November 17: 9:00am – 2:00pm PST/12:00pm – 5:00pm EST

Monday, November 18: 9:00am – 2:00pm PST/12:00pm – 5:00pm EST

Tuesday, November 19: 9:00am – 2:00pm PST/12:00pm – 5:00pm EST

Course Fees:

Early Bird Registration $2200. Registration deadline October 17. 

Regular registration $2500. Registration deadline October 27.

Payment plans available. 

16.5 CCEU’s: 12 Core Competencies, 4.5 Resource Development

Email us at for more information or to set up a payment plan.

Cancelation policy:

If you cancel by October 25, 100% of your tuition will be reimbursed. After October 25, we will either reimburse 50% of your tuition or apply your payment to a future course.

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