Coaching and Addiction

Imagine getting a referral from a coaching client – they want you to work with someone that “really needs” a coach.  The client shares with you that this person messed up their life with drinking.

Is coaching an appropriate service for someone recovering from addiction?  Some say that an addiction counselor is more appropriate.  Some argue that a coach does not have the training or knowledge about addiction.  Others say a coach is ideal because the focus is moving forward.  Others argue that a coach is a process expert.

What are your considerations as a coach with a prospective client dealing with an addiction?

  • The ICF Code of Ethics requires accurate identification of your qualifications — tell the truth and let the prospective client make the choice about hiring you as a coach.
  • Determine the purpose for the relationship: when a prospective client wants to focus on the future, setting goals, creating an action plan, and following through then coaching makes sense.
  • Explore the need for a different professional and refer or coordinate as appropriate.  If a mental health professional is appropriate be prepared with at least three referrals.  If both make sense, discuss a client working with both a drug / alcohol counselor and with a coach.

Back to the referral: Do you want to call someone who “really needs” a coach or do you want your client to have the person they know call you?  The pro of calling is that you do have the conversation.  The pro to having them call is that if they do, they are interested in a coach.  A different approach is offering your client and their friend each a free session if they do become a coaching client.

How would you handle it?

You may also like...