Ethics: First Do No Harm

One of the most important things you will need to learn and understand as a workshop facilitator and life coach is the ethical code that is involved and why it's important.  Ethical codes are important to maintain guidelines that protect the client and the coach. Life Coaches are not therapists or counselors unless registered or licensed by their state, region, country, etc. Life Coaches cannot call themselves therapists or counselors. They cannot do mental health assessments and diagnosis without a license. Life Coaches also cannot provide therapy. Below is an ethical code for life coaches. Please review it and submit any questions you may have.

Code of Ethics for Coaches

Ethical Principle 1:

To make truthful and honest statements to your clients and in all marketing materials. To not offer services or outcomes which you cannot provide.

Ethical Principle 2:

To maintain a professional relationship with your clients at all times and to not allow that relationship to cross into inappropriate territory. Avoid inappropriate sexual or romantic relationships with clients. 

Ethical Principle 3:

To resolve conflicts of interest when working with clients. Discuss conflicts of interest openly. And remove yourself from the coaching relationship if these conflicts of interest cannot be resolved.

Ethical Principle 4:

Recognize any personal issues you may have that are affecting your work. Take measures to protect and serve your clients by taking breaks from providing coaching or referring clients to other coaches if you are incapacitated due to personal issues.

Ethical Principle 5:

Be sure to explain the nature of coaching to clients and what they can expect in their sessions with you.

Ethical Principle 6:

Respect the client’s right to terminate coaching with you.

Ethical Principle 7:

Have a clear coaching agreement prior to the initiation of sessions

Ethical Principle 8:

Encourage client to take responsibility for their actions and choices.

Ethical Principle 9:

Respect the strictest confidentiality of your clients which means you do not release or share any information related to your clients unless required by law. The only reasons to violate confidentiality are if your client is going to harm themselves or other people and you fear for someone’s life.

Ethical Principle 10:

Continue to develop your professional skills.

Ethical Principle 11:

To get supervision when you begin working as a life coach to ensure that you are providing coaching of the highest caliber and effectiveness.

Below is the Code of Ethics for the International Coaching Foundation. It's helpful for you to review this to know how excellent coaching conduct themselves and to understand what you can and cannot do as a coach.

ICF Code of Ethics

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