Episode #68 The Inclusion Illusion - Caroline Flanagan

Episode #68 The Inclusion Illusion

In today’s episode I introduce you to the Inclusion Illusion. It’s one of the Progression Pitfalls I identify in my new book on Imposter Syndrome “Be The First” (published November 2020). Progression Pitfalls are the traps, distractions and roadblocks that will sabotage your progress and derail your attempts to fulfil your potential. The Diversity Distraction, which I introduced in episode 63 of this podcast, is one of them. The Inclusion Illusion is another.

The Inclusion Illusion is the belief held by someone in a minority group (a woman in an all-male industry for example; or a BAME professional in an all-white organisation) that you can’t feel valued or get access to the people and opportunities that will progress your career unless someone from the dominant group includes you and it’s a very real challenge many of you experience every day.

The problem is, it takes away your power and gives it to everyone else. The message I’m sending you in this episode helps you claim that power back: when no one is including you, it means it’s time to include yourself.


I wanted to let you know that I have been promoted to counsel. Thanks very much to your coaching I have managed to get through one of the most challenging years of my career and managed to achieve what I had hoped to! I might not have made it were it not for your advice and guidance.

Client C, Solicitor

Caroline did a fantastic job as the guest speaker at our latest Women with Ambition networking event: 'How to ensure kids don’t derail your career'. Caroline’s talk was engaging and insightful and feedback from our clients that attended was overwhelmingly positive. All of the delegates mentioned they had gained some sound advice from Caroline’s presentation, regardless of whether they were thinking about having children, were already parents or were managing individuals with family commitments. Caroline has been a pleasure to work with and I look forward to continuing to develop our working relationship in the future. I would highly recommend working with her.

Sally Clare, Head of Diversity, Ambition UK

I am more than happy to share wonderful feedback about you. Working with you has been life changing and continues to inspire me and help me grow.

Coaching client, Director, PwC Legal

Caroline, I can’t thank you enough for the help you gave me while starting to think of family planning. Your level-headed approach to some of the things I was panicking about has put everything into perspective. Not to mention that talking through and planning how to run my company single-handedly with a child was invaluable. I really appreciate having the after-session documents to work through in my own time and have been referring to them frequently. I cannot recommend a Babyproof Your Life session highly enough when starting to think about children – everyone should do this! Many thanks again.

Client T, UK, Babyproof Client

When I came into the office the following Monday, I could see the effect that you’d had. People were visibly changed as a result of your talk.

Oli Holmes, Accenture

Caroline came to speak to our Balance Employee Network about “How to babyproof your career so you can balance your life”. I really enjoyed preparing this event together. Caroline took great care in understanding the needs of the audience to make her message even more powerful. The whole process from preparing the event invitation to getting feedback was very professional with a wonderful personal touch.

Louise Walewska, Presentation Client, HSBC Asset Management