Ethics and Diversity in Coaching
Jan 17, 2022
The Challenges and Opportunities for Coaches in a diverse world…
...and How We Can Make the World a Better Place
The world is changing.
As topics like diversity and inclusion come to the forefront of society, as coaches, we are in a unique position to use our skills to make the world a better place.
In fact, the ICF (International Coaching Federation) recently took several concrete steps toward action against systemic inequality in the coaching industry (and in broader communities) and Published a Statement of Diversity, Inclusion, Belonging and Justice.
The following statement of principles is the cornerstone of the ICF’s work in this space, and reflects a position every ICF Member, Credential-holder and accredited training provider is invited to subscribe to:
"ICF Members and Credential-holders live and work in more than 140 countries and territories. ICF is a vibrant global community committed to the shared vision of making coaching an integral part of a thriving society. Our mission is to lead the global advancement of coaching."
To do this, we must reflect on our blind spots and be aware of opportunities for improvement. We cannot ignore the challenges that many coaches and coaching clients face due to systemic problems in their communities.
As members of the ICF community, we ascribe to the core values of integrity, excellence, collaboration and respect. The foundation of these values is a shared commitment to diversity, inclusion, belonging and justice.
We will place diversity, inclusion, belonging and justice at the forefront of every decision we make within our Association. As we continue the journey toward our vision, we will recommit ourselves to valuing the unique talents, insights and experiences that every coach and client brings to the world.
We believe this is an empowering statement and can make a marked difference in the world… especially when magnified by the vast ICF network… which can have a deep influence with each individual member living according to the statement in their community.
Often an organisation’s Code of Ethics and core values, beliefs, behaviours and intentions are written up without exploring deeply what they mean in behaviours and approaches, added to a website, and perhaps quickly forgotten about.
However, when they’ve been thoroughly researched, purposely designed and thought through - as the ICF has done - they have the ability to empower and inspire each one of us to hold ourselves to a high standard… transforming not only ourselves as coaches, but the entire industry, and as a result our, communities, countries and the world.
Because of the great potential they have to create powerful outcomes, we decided to dive deeper into it and define what ethics and diversity mean in coaching.
Firstly, let’s take a look at the ICF Code of Ethics
Ethics are guided moral principles underlying how coaches behave congruent with ICF’s CORE VALUES.
The CORE VALUES were recently updated to reflect the times we’re living in now, and are as follows:
Professionalism. Collaboration. Humanity. Equity.
These universal values empower, inspire and unite all of us as ICF Members, Credential-holders and believers of professional coaching worldwide.
What are the intentions of these values from the ICF perspective?
We commit to a coaching mindset and professional quality that encompasses responsibility, respect, integrity, competence and excellence.
We commit to develop social connection and community building.
We commit to being humane, kind, compassionate and respectful toward others.
We commit to use a coaching mindset to explore and understand the needs of others so we can practice equitable processes at all times that create equality for all.
It’s worth taking some time to really meditate on each of these and perhaps journal what each one means to you and your coaching practice. Let’s take a look at what is expected of ICF Members when abiding by the Code of Ethics.
To elicit the best in each and every ICF coach, ICF Members and coaches are committed to:
Think about what each of these means to you.
- Ethical behaviour as the foundation of the coaching profession.
- Continued learning in the field of coaching as required.
- Search for continued self-awareness, self-monitoring and self-improvement.
- Acting and being an ethical individual in all professional interactions.
- Full accountability for the responsibility undertaken as an ICF Member and coach.
- Complete engagement with and commitment to the coaching profession, setting an example both to the profession overall and to the community.
- Uphold the highest standards in a manner that reflects positively on the coaching profession.
- Be fully present in each and every interaction in which we engage.
- Recognize and abide by the applicable laws and regulations of each country, municipality and local governing body.
- Provide a safe space for trainers, service providers, coaches and coaches-in-training to learn, excel ethically and strive to become professional coaches of the highest caliber.
- Embrace diversity and inclusion, and value the richness of our global stakeholders.
When have you lived by these principles, and when might you have not lived them (and what have been the consequences of each).
Specific Diversity Challenges Facing Coaches
Coaching generally attracts amazing people. Be it coaches (and coaches in training) or clients who are looking to be coached: coaching attracts people who want to grow. People who are open to looking deeply within themselves, exploring what is possible, and if necessary, changing, long held, ingrained beliefs, habits, behaviours and outcomes.
We often appreciate our Coach Trainings are like a UN Summit because they tend to attract a vast array of people from all religious practices, nationalities, cultures, genders… and every sort of diverse background you can think of.
However, as open and forward thinking as the coaching industry is, there are several challenges facing coaches when it comes to diversity and inclusion. Here are several of them:
Working with clients of different backgrounds (Coaches accepting their clients).
While coaches tend to be highly open and accepting of people of all different backgrounds, there can still be unconscious biases that affect us. It’s important that we accept, without judgement, our clients and everything they bring to the table. And if something comes up for us, to recognise it, bring it to the surface and examine it and its roots (this alone can often dissolve it).
Working with clients of different backgrounds (Clients accepting their coaches).
One of the challenges coaches have spoken about is when a client or potential client asks for a different coach, because the coaches background is not the same or similar to their own. For example, perhaps a company’s board is made up of all women, and they prefer a female coach over a male. At Empower World, we have had requests for a specific type of coach from organisations to match their client, which we haven’t been able to meet – and we always suggest to the organisation to consider working with perhaps someone who is different, which can support the creation of new perspectives.
Women and Men in Coaching
Currently, around 70% of coaches are women. This raises the question, ‘do we need to do more to attract more male coaches to the industry?’
Another challenge reported by some female coaches is their experiences promoting their services to traditionally male dominated positions of corporate leadership.
These are just a few of the challenges. We’d love to know if you’ve faced any specific challenges too. Let us know in the comments below if you’ve faced any of these or others.
5 Actions You Can Take to Raise Your Standards and Start Living by a Code of Ethics…
Whether you subscribe to the specific Standards, Values and Code of Ethics from the ICF, or create your own, doing so will be one of the most empowering actions you take for yourself, your business, your clients, your family, your clients and your community.
It creates a solid foundation from which greatness grows and flourishes.
Here are 5 actions you can take right now to begin living by a code of ethics…
1. Listen to the following podcast Empower World's Coaching and Leadership Podcast Episode 153 here.
We recently spoke with George Nuthu, Co-Chairman of the ICF Global Task Force who is an accomplished Leadership Development Coach and Consultant. George is Co-Chair of the ICF Global Task Force 'Reviewing Core Values and Definition of Coaching' to set up coaching practices that maintain and enhance ethical practices in coaching to ensure diversity, inclusion, fairness, equality, and justice.
In this podcast, George explains why as coaches, we have a social responsibility to appreciate and respect humanity. 'Human beings are human beings' and that means suspending judgment, respecting the individual, and being mindful of local rules and cultural practices'.
Episode-153 can be found here:
Direct Link: https://bit.ly/2Ilw7dr
2. Read the ICF Code of Ethics Overview
3. Read the ICF CODE OF ETHICS
4. Watch the ICF Code of Ethics Video Series:
Learn more about the newest version of the ICF Code of Ethics by watching this video series. Each video highlights a section of the revised ICF Code of Ethics.
5. Take the Pledge of Ethics of the ICF Professional
"As an ICF Professional, in accordance with the Standards of the ICF Code of Ethics, I acknowledge and agree to fulfil my ethical and legal obligations to my coaching Client(s), Sponsor(s), colleagues and to the public at large.
If I breach any part of the ICF Code of Ethics, I agree that the ICF in its sole discretion may hold me accountable for so doing. I further agree that my accountability to the ICF for any breach may include sanctions, such as mandatory additional coach training or other education or loss of my ICF Membership and/or my ICF Credential."
As coaches, it's important - critical - to keep up-to-date and aware of changes and developments in ethical practices and ensure we embrace equality, diversity, inclusion, justice and fairness in our practice so support and bring out the best in humanity.
About Empower World
Originating in Doha, Qatar in the Middle East, Empower World is now global organisation with a presence in the UK, Europe, Asia and Australia / Australasia. Empower World provides ICF Approved coach training (foundation and advanced), coach mentoring for credentialing purposes, coaching supervision, life and executive coaching, bespoke training and workshops and facilitation services for leaders and people who want real, purposeful, wisdom and heart-lead change.
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#Organisational #Development #Mastery #Executive #newperspectives #Change #Management #Skils #Leadership #Development #Presence #Personal #Development #Fulfilment #Team Building #MiddleEast #Australia #UK #Europe #Singapore #Asia
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