The International Society for Coaching Psychology (ISCP) is committed to increasing scientific knowledge of coaching psychology and enhancing the professional practice of its members for the benefit of their coachees and client organisations. It strives to help members in developing informed ethical judgments and decision-making concerning their coaching psychology practice.
The maintenance of the Society’s professionalism and its standards requires each member’s personal commitment and lifelong learning to:
- Practice ethically
- Encourage ethical behaviour
- Consult with others concerning ethical issues.
In their coaching psychology practice, members are required to consider their own professional competence, apply ethical principles, and maintain good coaching relationships with their coachees and other stakeholders. To guide members to apply ethical principles into practice, this Code consists of two parts:
- Code of Ethics
- Guide to Coaching Psychology Practice
The Code of Ethics sets out the core values and guiding principles to inform the professional practice of coaching psychologists. The Guide to Coaching Psychology Practice aims to outline the expected standards of good practice that embody those principles. All members of ISCP are obliged to be bound by this Code of Ethics and Practice.
Code of Ethics
This Code is based on six Ethical Principles (6 R’s):
The six Ethical Principles are interrelated. In particular, the Principles of Rights and Respect are so interwoven in practice that they are considered here within a single section. Coaching psychologists respect the rights and dignity of all human beings independent (but not exclusively) of their age, gender, disability, race, religion/belief, and sexual orientation. Coaching psychologists should consider these factors when working with their coachees.
For example, coaching psychologists should be aware that reasonable adjustment and provision might be necessary to protect the rights and well being of coachees who have particular vulnerabilities within society due to their disability, etc. Coaching psychologists in their practice will attempt to promote equality and eliminate discrimination and any possible effects of personal biases or prejudices, due to those factors, upon their coaching psychology practice.
The rights of individuals include the rights to confidentiality, privacy, freedom of self-determination and expression in terms of one’s culture, religion/belief, as well as access to information and services. Coaching psychologists aim to benefit their coachees and take care to do no harm. As coaching psychologists, we should:
- Respect and recognize the rights of coachees as human beings.
- Give due regards to the psychological and physical well being of the coachees.
- Respect and value coachees’ individual and cultural differences that they may bring into the coaching arena.
- Respect the privacy and confidentiality of the coachees.
Coaching psychologists recognize the standards and limits of their competence. As members of ISCP, we value the continuing professional development (CPD) and maintenance of high standards of their professional work. We recognize the importance of preserving our ability to function optimally within the limits of our competence. Members should:
- Recognize the limits of their knowledge, skill, training, education, and experience.
Coaching psychologists establish good relationships and trust with coachees. They are aware of the complexity of coaching relationship and observe their professional boundary. Multiple relationships occur when a coaching psychologist is in a professional role with a coachee and at the same time is in another role with the same coachee. For example, a coaching psychologist is in a relationship with a person closely associated with or related to the person with whom he/she at the same time has the professional coaching relationship. This may include promises to enter into another relationship with the coachee in the future. Members should:
- Ensure that the coaching relationship reflects the appropriate context within which the coaching is taking place.
- Be aware of the issues of multiple relationships and professional boundaries which may lead to (real or perceived) conflicts of interest.
- Clarify for coachees and other relevant parties when these issues might arise.
Coaching psychologists represent themselves and their profession accurately and honestly. Their presentations show clarity and professional integrity. As members, we should show fairness in our interactions with all persons be they our coachees or clients. We should seek to promote our professional integrity and the accurate representation of ISCP in all facets of our professional practice. As a member of ISCP, one should:
- Provide a fair and accurate representation of oneself (e.g. qualifications that indicate one’s professional competence, knowledge, skill, training, education, and experience); the coachee; colleagues and SCP. For example: claim appropriate credit for one’s professional contributions; provide due acknowledgement to the contributions from others who collaborated on work; and avoid misleading the public such as in advertisements/publications.
- Promote the reputation of the ISCP and coaching psychology as a profession.
Coaching Psychologists should be aware of their professional responsibilities to their coachees, the stakeholders, the society, the general public, and to the profession of coaching psychology. As coaching psychologists, we should accept our responsibility for our behavior to uphold the professional standards of conduct, clarify our professional roles and obligations. As members of ISCP, we should take responsibility to:
- Assist coachees to unlock and develop their potential.
- Maintain personal and professional integrity.
- Maintain their continuous professional development.
- Ensure the health and well being of coachees and related stakeholders. Do not cause them harm under any circumstances.
- Ensure behaviours and conduct do not bring the reputation of themselves, the clients, their profession and SCP into disrepute.
- Be aware of their professional ethics, including familiarity with this Code; and take responsibility to apply ethical principles into their coaching practices.
In applying the above code into practice, it means that SCP members should:
Rights & Respect
- Provide coachees with a contract, which sets out clearly the terms and conditions of coaching prior to commencement; including the conditions under which coaching services may be terminated, the client’s right to withdraw at any time from the receipt of coaching services, the costs and methods of payment for the provision of the coaching services.
- Terminate the contract when there is evidence that the coachees are unlikely to derive benefit from coaching.
- Comply with requests by coachees who are withdrawing from services that any records by which they might be personally identified be destroyed.
- Keep coachee and client information strictly in confidence except as otherwise authorized by the coachee or client, or as required by law.
- Obtain the agreement/informed consent from coachees (or their duly authorized representatives) for disclosure before releasing their personal/confidential information.
- Obtain informed consent from using the information about the coachees for various purposes such as research and/or publication.
- Provide reasonable collaboration with other professionals when there is evidence that the coachee would benefit from the referral to alternative and appropriate sources of intervention.
- Maintain confidentiality of their coachee and/or clients.
- Use the coaching methods and styles that are sensitive to coachees’ individual and cultural differences such as age, gender, disability, race, religion/belief, and sexual orientation, etc.
- Avoid unfair, biased or discriminatory practices.
- Recognize the limits of their professional competency and practice only within those competencies.
- Observe their own competence and practice within the boundaries of their competence; in areas of doubt seek clarification and guidance from peers, a supervisor or the ISCP Council.
- Continue to develop themselves professionally so that they can perform to their highest possible standards.
- Seek professional help when they become aware of their or their peer’s own personal or health-related problems that may impair their coaching practice; and refrain from practice when their professional competence is seriously impaired.
- Consider the impact of any dual/ multiple relationships they may hold with regards to their coachees upon the coaching outcome and the well being of all the parties may be concerned.
- Resolve complaints, grievances and disputes with good faith and goodwill through fair and reasonable communication. If the issues are unresolved, parties may seek advice from ISCP Council.
- Clarify their role and the extent of confidentiality and thereafter as changes occur at the outset, if and when they serve in more than one role for example, in an organization, judicial or administrative proceedings.
- Declare any possible conflict of interests in pursuing their duties.
- Ensure that advertisement of their services are free of ambiguity and misleading statements
- Offer appropriate coaching support.
- Encourage coachees to take responsibility for their own learning.
- Maintain a dialogue with the coachees regarding the utility of coaching that is relevant to their needs.
- Keep appropriate records of their coaching practice for a reasonable period of time.
- Apply evidence-based coaching psychology techniques and be able to explain them as required.
- Provide coachees with appropriate and regular feedback that would enhance their development.
- Evaluate the outcomes of their coaching to inform future ethical decision-making.
- Maintain high standards of competence in their coaching and/or supervision.
- Accept their responsibility to attempt to resolve any ethical dilemmas with the appropriate reflection, consultation and/or supervision.
- Monitor their own personal and professional lifestyles in order to maintain optimum coaching performance.
- Have appropriate professional indemnity insurance for the coaching practice in which they are engaged.
- Ensure that other members/peers and those working under their supervision also comply with this code.
- Seek appropriate consultation and supervision as part of their professional continuous development.Give consideration to their obligations to the legislation and the provisions of this Code
This Code of Ethics and Practice is intended to provide guidance for coaching psychologists that can be applied by the Society for Coaching Psychology and its members. It is not intended to be a basis of civil or legal liability. Whether a coaching psychologist/member has compiled or violated this Code does not by itself determine whether the person is legally liable in a court action, whether a contract is enforceable, or whether other legal consequences occur.
Society for Coaching Psychology members should adhere to the Codes of Ethics and Practice of their own National psychological professional body and/or apply any other Codes to which they are subject. In the event of a conflict, members should form their own opinion as to the most appropriate Code of Ethics and Practice to follow.
© 2011, International Society for Coaching Psychology