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The Ethics of Coaching

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Do’s and don’ts, where do you draw the line?

We need a Nobel Prize in business, awarded to organisations that demonstrate how business effectiveness (meaning survival, market share, profits, and stock value) results directly from ethical behaviour. A society that is not built on ethics — on fairness, freedom, and mature hearts and minds — cannot survive for long.

–Peter Koestenbaum

Ethical and professional dilemmas are not new. In the past people relied more on religious views to guide standards, however, evil carried out in the name of religion has shaken confidence in religious traditions. These are difficult times in terms of people’s ability to know what is the right thing to do and still remain successful in their professions.

Professional coaches can help coachees get their bearings right. Life and business are rarely simple, and between right and wrong there is a lot of grey area. How does one make an ethical decision? Here is a simple three step process for solving an ethical problem:

Step One: Analyse the consequences

Who will be helped by what you do? Who will be harmed?

Step Two: Analyse the actions.

Consider all of the options from a different perspective, without thinking about the consequences. Do any of the actions “cross the line?”

Step Three: Make a decision

Take both parts of your analysis into account and make a decision.

This strategy at least gives you some basic steps you can follow. In this edition we take a closer look at the ethics of coaching. Maybe, one day, there will be a Nobel Prize for Coaching as well. And when that happens, I’m sure ethical behaviour will be an important characteristic of the winner.

Enjoy this edition!

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