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How important is Ethics in the Coaching Industry?

In today’s business world, ethics are becoming more and more important. Businesses and organizations must adhere to certain regulations to stay afloat. In fact, many employers are starting to take ethics more seriously than ever before.

The first thing that comes to mind when one thinks of ethics is the golden rule – treat others the way that you would like to be treated.

Coaching these days is becoming extremely popular, and many are turning to coaches for help with a variety of different issues. However, while many people enjoy the benefits of coaching, not everyone acts ethically. There are people out there who take advantage of their clients' vulnerabilities for profits. That is why, as coaches, it becomes our duty to help our clients navigate these ethical conundrums, and make sure that we are acting ethically at all times.

There are two main types of ethical guidelines that coaches should be following at all times.

The first guideline is to always act in the best interest of the client. This means no matter what, the coach should always put the needs of the client first. This is the first that all coaches should follow, and it is absolutely non-negotiable.

The second guideline is to always act with integrity. This means you should always strive to be honest and fair in all of your dealings with clients. While having boundaries is essential for every profession, your client should never feel hesitant or uncomfortable coming to you for help. Similarly, if a client asks you to stop helping them with a particular issue, you should always respect their wishes and not continue trying to force your idea of help onto them.

ICF Code of Ethics

The purpose of the ICF Code of Ethics is to describe a basis of ethical conduct for a Professional Coach to assist individuals in clarifying their values and beliefs and apply those values and beliefs to the enhancement of their lives to achieve their full potential. This code applies to ICF Members engaged in professional practice with individuals, organizations and communities around the world. It reflects the guiding principles adopted by the Global Council to ensure the public and professional. There are 4 main fundamental duties that the code of ethics addresses:

  1. Duties to the Client: To maintain confidentiality, commitment, and loyalty; never exploit trust; avoid conflict of interest and furnish a clear agreement defining roles and responsibilities.

  2. Duties to Self: To help yourselves uphold the highest ethical standards as a coach; abide by the Codes of Ethics of ICF and seek the appropriate supervision to ensure excellence through continuous development.

  3. Duties to Society: To work with the community and humanity to promote empowerment and development of individuals, organizations and communities around the globe to advance the practice of coaching around the world to positively affect the quality of life.

  4. Duties to the Profession: To clearly identify her/her own credentials, level of competency, training and experience. A coach should clearly and accurately make verbal statements as to what they can offer as a coach.

The detailed information on ICF Code of Ethics can be found on

Adhering to these ethics is important to ensure life coaching can be a sustainable profession that adds true value to society. If you are aspiring to become a coach, it becomes your duty to uphold these standards.

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