An Invitation: What do you think? Ethical Challenges Series

A coaching client invites the coach to their wedding.  The coach has completed their coach training and is a member of the ICF and accountable to the Code of Ethics.  

Possible Responses:

  • The coach accepts the invitation and attends the wedding.
  • The coach declines the invitation without explanation.
  • The coach says they have a schedule conflict and cannot attend.
  • The coach invites the client to discuss the pros and cons of their attendance.
  • The coach explains that it might be perceived as the coach benefitting from the relationship and for that reason they will not accept.
  • The coach accepts and gives the client a gift card in the amount of the cost of their attendance.
  • What else?

Refer to the ICF Code of Ethics:

21) Avoid any sexual or romantic relationship with current clients or sponsor(s) or students, mentees or supervisees. Further, I will be alert to the possibility of any potential sexual intimacy among the parties including my support staff and/or assistants and will take the appropriate action to address the issue or cancel the engagement in order to provide a safe environment overall.


Q: If my client invites me out to a social engagement, may I accept?
A: Accepting the engagement would be appropriate if:

  • the coach and client both think that the coaching relationship would not be impaired
  • the coach can remain objective in the coaching meetings

If however, the coach finds it difficult to maintain the boundaries of a coaching relationship with the client, then the coach has the option to terminate the relationship and refer the client to another coach. A good guideline is that whatever the nature of the relationship prior to beginning coaching is where it should remain throughout the duration of the coaching arrangement.

How do you recommend it be handled?


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