If you are looking for outside consultants to support your cultural competence efforts, consider the following:
- Credentials/training: It is important to vet a potential training/education partner on their background in training. While there is not a standard certification or training program for consultants in this area, any partner should be able to articulate clearly the philosophy of their approach, as well as formal training and certifications through which they’ve built their expertise. Some good indicators of facilitation/training are:
- CPLP (Certified Professional in Learning & Performance) from ATD
- ACC/PCC/MCC: Coaching certifications from the International Coaching Federation
- Higher education work in related areas (sociology, anthropology, critical studies, ethnic studies, organizational development, etc.)
- Trainer certifications from various established nonprofit curricula (YMCA, Red Cross, NTL, ACLU, Southern Poverty Law Center)
- Conflict-resolution training
- Flexibility of Approach: While there are some universal fundamentals in cultural competence training, every organization’s needs and capacities are different around this topic, and a good trainer should be asking questions about the organization’s particular needs to customize their approach. Sometimes an off-the-shelf curriculum will work, but only if both the organization staff and the trainer have discussed it thoroughly enough to feel comfortable that it is the right fit.
- Specificity: Determine whether the desired training/education should be on a specific diversity topic – either around a dimension of diversity (age, gender, SES, ability, etc.) or a workplace process (hiring, managing a diverse workforce, etc.) – before beginning to look for a trainer. There are big differences in the expectations and approaches of trainers who specialize in “dimensions of diversity” vs. those specializing in more workplace/legal approaches to diversity.
- Length/nature of the relationship: Decide if the goal is a stand-alone training or a training/education partner that might work with the organization over a longer period of time in a cumulative way. If the goal is longer-term training, it is important to determine if the organization has the internal capacity to keep the cumulative learning going.
- Single vs. Team facilitation: If possible, find a training partner that can send a team of two to lead the work. This allows for sufficient support of the learners, especially with such complex topics.
- References: Ask for and check references. There is a long history of bad trainings, and in an area like this, it is CRITICAL that the organization get the best fit for its needs and culture.