Page 26 - LCT December 2019
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 Understanding Ethical Responsibilities as a Coach; Weighing Emotional and Financial Benefits and Risks as a Participant
Relationship itself is at the heart of healing...And ethics and integrity are at the heart of any healing relationship. (Taylor, 2017, p. 36)


The purpose of group coaching events is to build relationships, and fortunately, many coaches offering these opportunities received training in ethics and sincerely have the participants’ best interests in mind. Some are board-certified and held to high standards of ethical behavior. There are a variety of areas of focus for coaching (e.g., life, business, leadership, health, and wellness, etc.), and two examples of programs with board standards for coaches include the National Board for Health and Wellness Coaches (NB-HWC) and Board Certified Coach (BCC). Board-certified coaches, similar to licensed therapists, require training in ethics and supervision to establish best practices and to promote client safety. Board-certified coaches are also needed to procure Continuing Education Units (CEU) or Continuing Education Credits (CEC) to ensure the continuance in training and professional development.


In contrast to professional, ethical standards, coaches and group leaders exist who are not guided by integrity and ethical-driven behavior and operate without formal obligation or requirements. As a result, they may not develop a regular and earnest practice of self-reflection of values related to their motivation and intention. These coaches are often inadequately trained, have not received sufficient supervision, and are not regulated by a governing board. They can take advantage of the same opportunities to influence participants through group events, often using untested methods and unregulated programs. These coaches lack professional accountability. Unfortunately, if participants are harmed due to attending an event or participating in an affiliate program, there are no clear avenues established to support self-advocacy or filing an ethical grievance for the participants. Additionally, securing retribution for the offending coach/group leader is often very difficult because many high-profile “leaders” have the financial and legal resources to protect themselves from almost any responsibility toward the participants.


As one explores options for self-development, there seems to be an increasing overlap in counseling and coaching practices, particularly in online and web-based programs. Therefore the issue of ethics becomes even more critical. Although many people have strong opinions regarding this issue of overlap, it is not the focus of this paper. There are scores of articles and blogs written about ethics in counseling and coaching, but few focus on issues that could arise when a client enters into a non- ordinary state of consciousness (NOSC). Although several resources on NOSC are highlighted in this paper, they are directed toward NOSC in therapy as opposed to group coaching events.


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