Code of Conduct for Life Coaches
Every profession follows a professional code of conduct that serves as a guideline for the practitioners, and inspires confidence among the clients and other stakeholders.
From the client’s personal information to their conversations or correspondence with the life coach, all communications must be treated with absolute confidentiality. The coach must obtain the consent of the client before disclosing any information. This is also applicable in cases where the coach is working within an organization. Any information including progress reports and other particulars of the client should be the released to the employer only if the client has explicitly agreed to it.
If, however, the coach believes that by withholding information there is strong evidence of serious danger to the client or (an) other person(s), then confidentiality may be foregone.
2. Integrity and Honesty
The coach must ensure that all verbal and written promotional material and advertisements are truthful, honest, decent and compliant with the law of the place where the coach is practicing. No misleading information or advice should be given to the client, nor any false claims about the results of the coaching process be made.
The coach must not prolong a coaching relationship when it is evident that the client is no longer benefiting from it, and should instead encourage the client to make a change to, or to terminate the agreement.
The coach must seek to avoid conflicts of interest and openly disclose any such conflicts.
The coach should accurately disclose his/her coaching qualifications, expertise, experience, and any other credentials.
The coach should disclose to the client and his/her sponsor (where applicable) all anticipated compensation that he/she may receive from or pay to third parties for referrals of that client.
The coach should maintain appropriate and accurate records of his/her work with the client.
The coach should sign with the client an agreement or a contract that sets out the roles, rights and responsibilities of the coach, the client, and the sponsor, if they are not the same person.
It is important for the coach to make sure that the client fully understands the agreement, as well as all such things as the process, the fees, the location and the frequency of sessions.
The coach should understand and implement the client’s as well as his/her own legal and other obligations with regard to nationality, age, gender, sexual orientation, religion, language, disability, and socioeconomic status, so as to avoid knowingly participating in or condoning unfair discriminatory practices.
The coach must not try to gain financial or any kind of professional advantage by abusing the client’s trust.
The coach should ensure that his/her behavior can in no way be described as any unwelcome sexual advance or request for sexual favors, or any verbal or nonverbal conduct that is sexual in nature.
The coach should respect the client’s right to terminate the coaching relationship at any point during the coaching process, subject to the provisions of the agreement or contract.
The coach must work within the limitations of his/her own competence. He/she must identify situations where it may be necessary/preferable to refer the client to a more experienced coach or to seek the help of a qualified professional or practitioner. He/she must refer the client to a therapist if coaching is not the right intervention, like when the client is suffering from clinical disorders such as anxiety, depression, addiction, or phobia.
The coach must treat every client with honor and dignity, respect the clients’ values, beliefs and goals, and exhibit sensitivity to cultural, regional and linguistic differences.
The coach has the responsibility to monitor and maintain his/her fitness to practice at a level that enables him/her to provide an effective service. If his/her effectiveness is impaired for any reason, including health or personal reasons, he/she should stop working and seek advice and support.
The coach should strive to augment and increase his/her coaching competence by participating in relevant training and appropriate continuing professional development. It is the responsibility of the coach to ensure that he/she is aware of new practices, standards, technologies, and legal requirements as are relevant to the profession of coaching by participating in appropriate and relevant instruction.
The coach must maintain a record of all such training undertaken.