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9 ethical rules for superiors as coaches

Conclusion: more support or hands off





The new Code of Ethics for superiors as coaches consist not of 10 commandments, but 9 rules. 9 rules which Australian researchers have presented recently based on a survey among 580 managers: 1. Define and communicate which sort of coaching you apply in your organization, 2. Be transparent regarding potential conflicts of interest, 3. Agree upon the degree of confidentiality with the coachee, 4. Use your influence as the coach with responsibility, 5. Leave it up to the coachees to participate in the coaching, 6. Stay within professional paths, 7. Clarify which degree of empowerment you want to achieve and when therefore the coaching has to be finished, 8. Avoid dependencies, 9. Do treat al employees in the same way regardless if they are your coaches or not.

Additionally the scientists conclude: managers who also work as coaches with their employees were too often kept alone by their organisations. More supervision and trainings are desperately needed, more ethical framework instead of more skills has to be established, though.

Milner/Milner/McCarthy/Veiga, „Leaders as Coaches: Towards a Code of Ethics“, in: The Journal of Applied Behavioral Science. 1-25, 2022.


From the practice:

Always I was sceptical when it came to superiors as coaches. For me the conflict of interest between the superior who has to thrive the interests of the organization and the coach who has to support the coachee without any limits is almost impassable. Let´s assume that the coachee wants to leave the company due to career ambitions, but the company has to hold him/her within in the organization under all circumstances. How should the superior as the coach behave professionally in such a situation? Also we have to take into account that effective coaching needs time, time superiors normally do not have as wished: 10 hours per coachee as the minimum. On the other side I do believe in a constant integration of coaching techniques in superior´s everyday life, i.e. to guide employees step by step towards the results desired. This is a much much better strategy than to articulate targets only and not to take care of how their teams get there – procedures you quite often can observe when looking into the depth.

The Code of Ethics still is a helpful added value for managers and organisations alike. Congrats!

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