Ethical behavior is paramount to good coaching, regardless of the type of coaching one chooses, and there are certainly many choices. Student Coaching, ADHD Coaching, Life Coaching, Business Coaching, Leadership Coaching, Career Coaching, Wellness Coaching, Spiritual Coaching, Recovery Coaching and many more. All are valuable when provided by a well-trained coach who follows a clear code of ethics.
You might wonder why I chose this topic for today. Well, in my experience with both student coaching and ADHD coaching, I find myself in preliminary conversations with individuals who may not fully understand the coaching partnership or who may act impulsively in the hopes that coaching will be the “quick fix” or the answer to life’s problems. They are ready to enroll themselves, or their children, in coaching before asking questions. It is the responsibility of the coach to explain in detail what coaching is, and is not, before entering into the coaching partnership with anyone.
Section Three of the ICF Code of Ethics includes the following:
17) Ethically speak what I know to be true to clients, prospective clients or sponsors about the potential value of the coaching process or of me as a coach.
18) Carefully explain and strive to ensure that, prior to or at the initial meeting, my coaching client and sponsor(s) understand the nature of coaching, the nature and limits of confidentiality, financial arrangements, and any other terms of the coaching agreement.
19) Have a clear coaching service agreement with my clients and sponsor(s) before beginning the coaching relationship and honor this agreement. The agreement shall include the roles, responsibilities and rights of all parties involved.
20) Hold responsibility for being aware of and setting clear, appropriate and culturally sensitive boundaries that govern interactions, physical or otherwise, I may have with my clients or sponsor(s).
Every prospective client deserves, and has the right, to know what they are signing up for from the start. And, the option to decline to move forward, or terminate coaching, at any time if coaching is not a good fit.
At JST, we teach to the ICF Code of Ethics and we have created a guide to help prospective clients navigate the maze to finding the right coach. It has become a “living document”, revised to meet new coaching requirements, and answer questions, as they come to our attention. We strongly encourage each of our trainees in every JST Coaching & Training course to read, review and adopt the ICF Code of Ethics starting on the first day of class. We value the individuals and families who trust JST and seek out our training graduates to coach them.
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