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Home » Blog » Ethics in Coaching for Coaches

In order to support clients, coaches operate with niche specializations. Coaches are trained in coaching at a school or by a mentor coach. They use and incorporate their own life experiences in their work.

Coaches can be referred to as anything from a coach to a mentor to a facilitator. While each coach monitors their progress in their own way, the aim is always to help the client accomplish their goals or transitions. Using long term strategies, these goals are made suitable to clients. Since most coaching relationships are personal, this Ethics Code offers the structure and principles that professional coaches use to direct their work.

The purposes of this Code are threefold.

For starters, it sets out the broad concepts and values that coaches adhere to. Confidentiality and absolute respect for the client’s well-being and progress are among them.

Second, it offers rules for coaches to use in many of the unique scenarios that they can face.

Finally, this Code is intended to act as a foundation for coaches’ ethical and moral values. Although the coach agrees to follow this Code, they are encouraged to supplement and add to it over time in order to develop a lifelong commitment to an ethical workplace and career.

Ethical Codes laid by the ICF

The International Coaching Federation, EMCC, and others have established codes of professional conduct based on laws and prevailing customs for members and credential holders to commit to. Some of the most relevant codes are as follows:

  • To ensure client centricity, unambiguous result agreements can be used to contract for the journey.
  • To avoid conflicts, clearly defined boundaries between coach, client, and sponsor should be established.
  • Specified definitions of what coaching is and is not
  • Confidentiality when it comes to client matters
  • Personal integrity is a combination of appearance and behavior.
  • Professional growth is ongoing.
  • State rules must be followed.
  • Diversity & Equality (only EMCC)
  • Observation (only EMCC)

Despite the fact that coaching is not yet a regulated licensed profession, there are many complaints from clients that are reviewed by credentialing agencies (and litigated outside the agency). Many of them are linked to unclear concepts of coaching, unmet criteria, and, on rare occasions, other common law violations.

From a personal and professional ethical standpoint, differentiating solution-oriented mentoring and counseling strategies, as well as therapy-based de-conditioning techniques in psychology, from the outcome-oriented, asking-based, awareness-creation approaches of coaching is important.

Implementing Ethics in Your Coaching Practice

Coaching should be perceived as a reasonable, respectful, and trustworthy partnership between coach and client, with the coach acting in the client’s best interests in terms of learning and result and no judgmental interference. The coach’s ego must be kept secret.

Coaching management increases the ethical behavior of coaches. Supervision, in the hands of a competent supervisor leads to a reflective understanding of one’s process in the practice of coaching, which is distinct from one’s competency results. A good manager serves as a mirror for a coach, just as a good coach serves as a mirror for the client. The mirror tells a lot of things that have to do with ethics.

Client contracts are an important part of ethics. Almost every organization you will work for has a sample agreement prepared by their legal department and enforced by their purchasing department. These agreements do not discuss coaching ethics or provide motivation for the coach to make improvements.

To prevent misunderstandings and conflicts, coaches are required to clarify about the client’s communication limits, confidentiality guidelines, commitment to the desired outcome, and contract conditions in terms of payments, logistics, cancellation, and other locally required markers.

Coaching ethics are the responsibility of the coach, not the client or sponsor. Setting personal ethical standards that are much stronger than what the profession needs, and committing to doing whatever is in the client’s best interests, is one way to do this.

The best way to learn this is to train ourselves to be coaches by discussing various possibilities and how to best deal with them professionally and personally with integrity, responsibility, and sincerity.

Next in line is the discussion about ethical responsibilities of a coach. Stay tuned.