Coaches Stop Seducing Clients

In order to make a living many coaches offer long lasting programs to their clients, making sure they have a steady income. Offering long lasting support can be against the code of conduct. Coaches are meant to help their clients to achieve independent empowerment a.s.a.p. It is unethical to make a coaching program run longer than necessary.

I offer a 7 sessions coaching program. I even offer an ongoing coaching program in which I meet with my clients monthly or bi-monthly to keep the momentum going and to ‘cross the t’s and dot the i’s’. So I myself could be charged guilty of the money-above-service-attitude. I am sure though that my attitude is ethical. I always put my clients’ best interest first. I often miss out on money – when a client is doing great and doesn’t need me anymore, we conclude the coach-coachee relationship and say goodbye. In fact, my adagium is: making myself redundant means I do my work well.

What some of my colleagues do is giving clients the impression that they can’t succeed without their coach. This is obviously wrong. Teaching a client that he or she will not achieve their potential without the help of a coach is truly counterproductive. But the client may not know. He or she may believe the coach. The client may feel insecure and will trust the coach. In these cases the coach is taking advantage of the vulnerability of the client.

In their urge to sell their services many coaches seduce people to become long lasting clients.

Coaching is a free profession. Anyone can say they are a coach. Above I have referred to the code of conduct, but which code of conduct is that? It’s the one I learnt in The Netherlands, during my studies at the Academy for Counselling and Coaching. I was an accredited member of the General Association for Professional Counsellors (ABvC) in The Netherlands, followed by accredited membership of the Australian and New Zealand Institute of Coaching (ANZI Coaching). I have promised to uphold their professional codes of conduct which both state that  a counsellor or coach should always have the best interest of the client in mind.

Coaches are not obliged to be a member of anything. It isn’t easy to become accredited with a professional association, institute or organisation. And because it isn’t compulsory many coaches choose not to become a member of anything, not to be supervised by anyone, and to basically just try and make a living the best they can. Or they become a member of the International Coach Federation (ICF), which is a laugh, because being a member there doesn’t mean that the coach is accredited. Anyone can be a member of the ICF.

How does the client know whether the coach is trustworthy? Right. By checking whether the coach is accredited with a professional coaching or counselling organisation.

Once the client feels strong enough, they should always check in with themselves, and ask themselves whether they feel they need another coaching session. The coach cannot know. The coach may think he or she knows, but another thing that coaches and counsellors are not supposed to make are assumptions. And to say that the client needs another session is an assumption. Only the client can know. Only the client can decide. Only the client holds the power to make the final call and choose what he or she wants.

Coaches have to teach their clients that only the clients themselves are to choose what they want. Thinking that they know what is best for their clients is a sin that too many coaches are still guilty of.

Wanting to earn a living as a coach is a dangerous thing. If the coach is in desperate need of more revenue, will he or she be able to act ethically? Will the coach still teach the client that whether to book another session or not, is entirely up to the client?

To empowerment of clients – to an ethical, responsible and truly serving attitude of coaches,

Miriam Aziz

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