Including everyone in your sessions: Inclusive Coaching

Understanding people is essential for good coaching. Coaching is not just about having the technical and tactical knowledge of the sport or physical activity, it is about engaging with people and building relationships to enhance their experience of being physically active, and encouraging positive behaviour change to get more people active and stay active.

This page provides you with some useful first steps into inclusive coaching practice.


Everyone is an individual, from different backgrounds, with different motivations, abilities and goals. The trick as a coach is how do you meet the needs of each individual in your session to ensure they all have a positive experience and keep coming back. The answer: be an inclusive coach.

Unconscious Bias

Unconscious bias is in everyone. It is a natural response, triggered through a part of our brain called the amygdala, which informs our ability to ‘fight or flight’ when faced with risk or danger. This was useful in prehistoric days when humans were at real risk from predators but today they act as ‘social filters’ and inform our reactions when meeting new people.

Here’s an interesting short film from the Employers Network of Equality and Inclusion which explains unconscious bias further:

By recognising your personal biases, and accepting they are human nature you are in a great position to challenge your own judgements and counter these before you react.

Making a good session great for everyone

Time for some interaction!

Below you can see a group of people who all want to be part of your session. To make their experience as positive as you can and keep them coming back for more you will need to understand how you can support them before, during and after your session.

Use the banner image below to access our short scenarios module to find out if you are doing all you can to help people get the most out of their session.

Helping people to get the most out of their sessions banner

To help you understand more about each person’s motivations, have a look at the following information available to you:


Disabled people

Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic people (BAME)

For more information and insight into Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic audiences, please follow register on the Sporting Equals portal which will give you access to the latest insight, case studies and best practice.

Young People

What next for you?

Learn more and discuss your thoughts at one of our face to face Equity in Your Coaching workshops

Everyone should have access to sport, regardless of gender, age, race, ability, faith or sexual orientation. Through awareness of who people that are currently under represented in sport and physical activity are, and why, you will start to think about how you can engage with a more diverse group of participants and start to make changes in your coaching. Read more about our Equity in Your Coaching workshop.

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