Recently I had the privilege of discussing ethics with several coaches-in-training. One dilemma presented was, “what if a company hires you in a package program, then asks you to coach one of the employees out of the company, and that employee is not aware of their bosses desire to have them quit?”
Considerations for a Coach include: 1. how to write an agreement with a company so that the Coach may ensure ethical
consideration for the company and the employee, 2. parameters and boundaries for communication and reporting, and 3. how to coach in this scenario if the Coach provides that type of coaching. In each of three blog posts, these questions are covered in order.
1. How do you write the agreement with the company to ensure ethical treatment of everyone involved?
When writing an agreement with the company, consider two parts. One part is the agreement itself; the second part is a Statement of Work. The company may look for or expect specific language and consideration in the agreement. For example, a company often looks for clauses that meet their needs. Clauses may include:
* Confidentiality: a fairly standard clause to address confidentiality of coaching sessions.
* Protection of company secrets: company employees are often actively involved with company secrets and the company will want a non-disclosure.
* Property ownership: because coaching at an executive level may include new discoveries, the company wants a clause stating they own the intellectual rights and actual inventions that may result from coaching.
* Service Description: notes what services include, may list obligations, and often refers to the Statement of Work.
* Disclosure: establishes the parameters of listing the company as a client.
* Coach/Coaching Company Requirements: notes background checks, diversity, training, etc. of coaches.
* Non-Agency: specifies that the coach is not an agent of the company.
* Insurance: ensuring the coach or coaching company maintains insurance and what type of insurance (liability, professional liability, workers comp, auto, etc.)
* Indemnification: fairly standard in most agreements, this clause limits circumstances for suing.
* Termination: outlines circumstances and process for ending the agreement.
* Severability and or Non-Waiver: states that if one section of the agreement is invalid or waived, the remainder of the agreement remains in force.
* Payment: outlines the payment requirements and process.
* Reporting: specifies what is reported and how it is reported.
* Audit rights: affords access to records documenting performance of the agreement.
* Dispute resolution: states process if there is a disagreement such as mediation and/or arbitration.
* Jurisdiction: states the jurisdiction for any legal action.
* Notice: specific contact information for notices.
* Entire Agreement: a standard clause stating the agreement is the entire agreement.
The Statement of Work is where the coaching process, parameters, reporting, and communication boundaries are outlined. It specifies criteria for performance. The Statement of Work is referenced in the agreement. The Statement of Work may be where the coach has the ideal opportunity to establish the ethics for confidentiality and potential conflicts of interest. A coach might include language that states if there is a conflict between what the company knows and wants and what the employee knows and wants, both parties agree to negotiate an agreement so that the coach may work within the code of ethics and serve all people involved effectively.
Watch for the next post for insight and perspective on establishing the parameters of coaching and communication boundaries.