I’ve always been fanatical about professional ethics. Professional ethics define the boundaries about professional coaching. What is acceptable behavior and what is not. Ethics are important because without an internal, personal and professional set of ethics, anything goes. You can hurt people.
My passion about ethics comes from my history of being abused and growing up with rare chronic illnesses. Very early in my professional career, I made a commitment to treat people the way I wanted to be treated. I believe a reverence for others is definitely part of professional ethics for any profession that involves helping others.
Coaching can be confused with counseling, consulting, sports coaching, mentoring, and educating, so the definition of coaching is important. Following that, the actual ethics and standards are critical to great coaching.
I follow the ethical standards for the Board Certified Coach (BCC). This credential comes directly from the counseling profession. The Center for Credentialing and Education (CCE) is an affiliate of the National Board for Certified Counselors, the organization that certified me as a National Certified Counselor and a Certified Clinical Mental Health Counselor. Their focus is on the counseling profession.
After analyzing the necessary skills a mental health professional would need to become a coach, CCE saw that there were many skills a counselor learned that crossed over into coaching. They identified the gap between what we know as counselors and what we needed to learn as coaches, then insisted we learn the coach-specific skills in that gap for certification. This means I don’t give up everything I learned and did as a therapist. I just need to clarify for myself which skills I give up and which ones I keep.
CCE-Global says “Coaching is a career in which professionals have specialized education, training, and experience to assess needs of clients, collaborate with clients on solutions, and offer strategies that assist individuals and organizations in reaching identified goals” (CCE-Global). Notice the word assist.
A partner is an ally, associate, colleague, confederate, or participant. According to dictionary.com, a partner is “a person who shares or is associated with another in some action or endeavor; sharer; associate.” When you assist another, you aid, facilitate, collaborate, and give them a helping hand. Assisting someone means you “give support or aid to; help” (Dictionary.com).
The 4 page document, BCC Code of Ethics, can be seen here.
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