3 Ethical Dilemmas for Coaches – Part 3 of 3

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Coaching a FriendThe first two posts of this series began exploring questions around coaching a friend; here a third scenario is considered, then the process for evaluating future scenarios is reviewed.

A childhood friend is struggling.

Step 1: Ask yourself: Are both or either of you too emotional to clearly consider the relationship? Does your lack of specific situational education or experience limit your understanding of the situation? Does the lack of clear boundaries impact the coaching?

If you answer no to all of these questions, then write out the parameters of the potential coaching relationship and review your notes and your code of ethics with your friend. Ask their thoughts and feelings on the information.

If you answer yes to any of these questions, consider how you might expand your support to your friend in ways other than being a coach.

Step 2: Ask yourself: Are you worried about your ability to have compassion without using coaching time to sympathize? Are you worried that the struggle is such that a mental health professional is more appropriate? Are you worried about your ability to provide quality coaching?

If you answer no to all of these questions, write out your qualifications as a coach in this scenario. Evaluate your ability to separate the coach in you from the friend in you, and note steps in the process for creating boundaries.

If you answer yes to any of these questions, think through the value of your instincts and focus on your friendship.

In each scenario of this series, step one gave questions that would potentially exclude you from ethically serving as a coach and then step two gave questions that evaluated potential impact on the coaching relationship itself. Moving forward as a coach, when situations do arise that require careful thought, create a process to evaluate the situation and explore boundaries. The examples in this series consider the questions that define the ethics of the relationship, and consider the questions that review the quality of the relationship.

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