Continuing with how Ethics speak to diversity, ICF Code of Ethics number 25 states to avoid discrimination by maintaining fairness and equality in all activities and operations, while respecting local rules and cultural practices. This includes and is not limited to discrimination on the basis of age, race, gender, expression, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion, national origin, disability, or military status.
Even prior to becoming a coach, most of us understand that we are not supposed to discriminate. It is about making sure that we really are treating people appropriately. When we talk about diversity, we often talk about inclusion. Another big piece of the conversation is equity. Ideally the conversation moves to “not seeing color” which means that we honor and respect cultural differences, and we also value every human being the same. In coaching we go deep – we talk about really connecting with people and developing that safe, trusting relationship. We know that the number one indicator of success in a coaching relationship is rapport. This means creating that safe space. It also means being open and vulnerable. Our job as a coach is to be accepting of everyone. Whoever our client is, honor and respect them.
ICF Code of Ethics number 28 states “am aware of my own and of my clients’ impact on society. I adhere to the philosophy of ‘doing good’ versus ‘avoiding bad’.”
This is a very powerful statement! Many of us have heard of the Hippocratic oath to do no harm.
This is going above and beyond that, more than passively not causing harm we are called to pro-actively find the opportunities for doing good. This means being aware of our impact on society and our clients’ impact on society. Many of us have had the privilege of working with clients who are leaders in their communities or their organizations. They are role models for other people and have an impact. As their coach, we have the privilege of exploring how they are doing, what they are doing, how they are making the most of their opportunity as a leader, and what that impact is for the greater good. For us as coaches, reflect, what are we doing? How are we doing it?
Proactively seek opportunities for making a difference. This speaks to the whole concept of diversity and social justice. Doing good is such an amazing piece; I love that our code of ethics calls on us to do good. This is very much about working with all people.