Code of Conduct
The purpose of this Code of Conduct is to establish and maintain professional standards for executive coaches and to inform and protect their individual clients, organisations seeking their services and members of the public. Ethical standards comprise such values as integrity, competence, confidentiality and responsibility. Coaches who subscribe to this Code accept their responsibility to clients and colleagues. The client’s interest is paramount, but where coaches have a conflict of responsibilities or an ethical dilemma they must rely on their own personal and professional judgement. The Code of Conduct is therefore a framework within which to work rather than a set of instructions.
General principles — This code assumes that:
1. Coach and coachee enter into an equal relationship which is used intentionally for the benefit of the coachee.
2. Coachees ultimately know best what is best for them and can decide for themselves what they do or do not want, both in their private and in their professional lives; coachees are therefore also responsible for the choices that they make and accountable for their actions.
3. The responsibility of the coach is to give the coachee an opportunity to explore, discover and clarify ways of living and working more satisfyingly and resourcefully.
4. During coaching the goals, resources and choices of the coachee have priority over those of the coach.
Code of Ethics
The purpose of the Code of Ethics is to clarify the ethical principles that executive coaches respect in their work with coachees.
• Coaches are responsible for observing the principles embodied in this Code of Conduct.
• Coaches accept responsibility for encouraging and facilitating the self-development of the coachee within the coachee’s own network of relationships.
• The coach takes account of the developmental level, abilities and needs of the coachee.
• The coach is aware of his/her own cultural identity and that of the coachee and of the possible implications of any similarities and differences for the coaching.
• Coaches are responsible for ensuring that they are not dependent upon relationships with their coachees for satisfying their own emotional and other needs.
• During coaching the coach will not engage in non-coaching relationships, such as friendship, business or sexual relationships with their coachees. Coaches are responsible for setting and monitoring the boundaries between working and other relationships, and for making the boundaries as explicit as possible to the coachee.
• The coach will cooperate in the handling of a complaints procedure if one is brought against him/her, and make sure that reasonable arrangements have been made for professional liability. Competences
• Coaches recognise the power inherent in their position: they realise that they can exert considerable influence, both consciously and unconsciously, on their coachees and possibly also on third parties.
• Coaches are aware of the limitations both of their coaching and their personal skills and take care not to exceed either. They refer a coachee to a colleague, if necessary, and maintain a professional network to that end.
• Coaches commit themselves to training in coaching and undertake further training at regular intervals during their careers.
• Coaches seek ways of increasing their professional development and self-awareness. Coaches monitor their coaching work through regular supervision by professionally competent supervisors, and are able to account to individual clients, colleagues and client organisations for what they do and why.
• Coaches monitor the limits of their own competence.
• Coaches, along with their employers and client organisations, have a responsibility to themselves and their clients to maintain their own effectiveness, resilience and ability to help clients. They must be able to identify any situation in which their personal resources have become depleted to the extent that they must seek help and/or withdraw from coaching, whether temporarily or permanently.
Code of Practice
This Code of Practice is intended to provide more specific information and guidance in the implementation of the principles embodied in the Code of Ethics.
Management of the work
• Coaches should inform clients as appropriate about their training and qualifications, and the methods they use.
• Coaches should clarify with coachees the number and duration of sessions and fees. They should also explore a client’s own expectations of what is involved in coaching with him/her.
• Coaches should gain the coachee’s permission before conferring with other people about the coachee.
• Coaches should abstain from using any of the information that they have obtained during coaching for their own personal gain or benefit, except in the context of their own development as a coach.
• If there is another internal client (e.g. a manager or HR officer), coaches must ensure before the coaching starts that all parties have the same information concerning the goal and structure of the coaching and the intended working method. The coaching can proceed only if there is agreement between them with respect to its goals and structure. If there is any change in the situation or the assignment, the coach formally revises the arrangements with all parties.
• Coaches who become aware of a conflict between their obligations to a client and their obligation to an organisation employing them will make explicit the nature of the loyalties and responsibilities involved.
• In situations where coaches have a difference of opinion with the client or other involved parties, they will maintain a reasonable attitude and keep dialogue open.
• Coaches work with clients to terminate coaching when the clients have received the help they sought, or when it is apparent that coaching is no longer helping them.
• Coaches regard all information concerning the client – received directly, indirectly or from any other source – as confidential. They protect their clients against the use of personal information and against its publication unless this is authorised by the client or required by law.
• Treating information ‘in confidence’ means not revealing it to any other person or through any public medium, except to those on whom coaches rely for support and supervision.
• If coaches believe that a client could cause danger to others, they will advise the client that they may break confidentiality and take appropriate action to warn individuals or the authorities.
• The coach obtains the agreement of the client before using the name of the client’s organisation or other information that may identify the client as a reference.
• Coaches do not advertise or display an affiliation with an organisation in a manner that falsely implies sponsorship, validation or approval by that organisation.
• Coaches do not make false, exaggerated or unfounded claims about what coaching will achieve.