A Code of Ethics is considered by many to be a standard component of any professional industry. Because the coaching industry is uncontrolled, some coaches subscribe to a Code of Ethics through a professional organization within the industry. Others have simply not even considered creating a code or affiliating through training and membership with an organization that teaches ethics.
As a coach, a Code of Ethics provides a guideline for how you conduct business. Many coach training programs teach ethics. At the Center for Coaching Certification (CCC) we align with ICF, the International Coaches Federation.
Ideally each coach publishes the Code of Ethics on their website and incorporates ethics in a written agreement for coaching services. When a trained, professional coach has an initial conversation with a client, the Code of Ethics is incorporated and the client is provided access to a copy.
As a client, ask coaches you interview about their coaching-specific training and Code of Ethics. Be sure you have access to a full copy, and that you are comfortable that the coach does abide by the ethics.
A Code of Ethics provides a common understanding of the parameters in a coaching relationship and is foundational to developing trust.