All Clients should expect a high standard of practice from their Coach. To ensure that this is achieved coaches commit to operate in accordance with the following Code of Ethics and Good Coaching Practice for ethical, competent and effective practice.
1. Coaches are required to recognise both personal and professional limitations:
Personal — Coaches will recognise personal limitations with respect to maintaining their own good health and fitness to practice. Should this not be the case, Coaches are required to withdraw from their practice until such time as they are in good health and fit to resume. Clients should be offered appropriate, alternative support during any such period.
Professional — Coaches will recognise professional limitations with respect to whether their experience is appropriate to meet the Client's requirements. When this is not the case, Clients should be referred to other appropriate services, e.g. more experienced Coaches, Counsellors, Psychotherapists or other specialist services. In particular, Coaches are required to be sensitive to the possibility that some clients will require more psychological support than is normally available within the coaching remit. In these cases, referral should be made to an appropriate source of care, e.g. the client's GP, a Counsellor or Psychotherapist, Psychological support services and/or agencies.
2. Coaches are responsible for ensuring that Clients are fully informed of the coaching contract and terms and conditions for coaching both prior to and at the initial session. These matters include confidentiality, sessional costs, and frequency of sessions. All claims made by the Coach should be honest, accurate and consistent with maintaining the Coaching profession's good standing. All coaching contracts should make clear that in the case of any illegal activity becoming evident during the coaching, or if there is potential for harm to be caused to the client or others, the Coach may not be able to maintain complete Client confidentiality and may need to involve others. Where possible and appropriate, the Coach will do this with the permission and consensus of the Client. In the case of coaching children, specific agreement should be reached with the sponsors and the child regarding the level of confidentiality to ensure the wellbeing of the child.
3. Coaches are required to be frank and willing to respond to their Client's requests for information about the methods, techniques and ways in which the coaching process will be conducted. This should be done both prior to contract agreement and during the full term of the contract.
4. Coaches must be sensitive to issues of culture, religion, gender, sexuality, disability and race and all other forms of equalities and diversity.
5. Coaches must respect the Client's right to terminate coaching at any point during the coaching process.
6. Coaches are required to maintain appropriate records of their work with Clients, ensuring that any such records are accurate and that reasonable security precautions are taken to protect against third party disclosure. Attention must be given to the Client's rights under any current legislation, e.g. data protection act.
7. Coaches are required to monitor the quality of their work and to seek feedback wherever possible from Clients and other professionals as appropriate.
8. Coaches are expected to have regular consultative support for their work, typically in the form of an appropriately qualified and experienced coaching supervisor. Further details on Coaching Supervision can be found on the AC website.
9. A coach should aim to undertake a minimum of 30 hours of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) in the theory and practice of coaching on an annual basis.
10. Coaches are required to keep themselves informed of any statutory or legal requirements that may affect their work and comply fully with them.
11. Coaches are required to consider the impact of any dual relationships they may hold with regards to their clients and/or any sponsoring organisations. If such a relationship is identified, then it must be made clear to all parties involved so that agreement may be reached about whether to continue the coaching relationship.
12. Coaches must act in a manner that does not bring the profession of coaching into disrepute.