By Materese Roche
If we ask 10 people on the street what they think about or know about coaching, it should come as no surprise that the answers will range from “Coaching is amazing” to “Coaching is a bunch of bunk”. As it turns out, both views are correct.
The lack of understanding as to what coaching really is, and who it serves best, combined with the unfortunate effects of unethical “coaching” is leading the profession down a very dangerous path and without regulation, provided by either the industry or government, will only perpetuate the problem.
If a coach misleads clients via their website, literature, or verbal communications and promises or even implies that the coach will “make them a superstar and solve all their problems” then a false expectation has been established. One problem for the coach is that when the client completes the coaching and does not turn into that superstar, the coach will be seen, at best, as a bad coach; at worst the coach could cause harm and experience unsavory legal consequences; thus further perpetuating industry problems.
When an individual embarks in a coaching career with a standardized code of ethics from the profession, clarity is established on many levels. With ethics in place, the behavior of the coach allows them serve the client in a manner that equalizes the importance and role of both the coach and the client in the process; it creates a structural paradigm where both the coach and client can more easily make decisions and work toward positive outcomes. And finally, if not most importantly, the chance of long or short term ill effects for both the coach and the client are greatly reduced, if not eliminated.