Awake Aware Arise was a virtual conference lead by Coacharya for leaders, coaches, and those who want to make a change – to truly Awake to the suffering in the world around them, become Aware of their responsibilities, and Arise together to act and be counted.
Ethics, or its lack thereof, and Coaching:
Ethics is the ability to use our wisdom to create more positive outcomes for us or for the people. For increased sustainability in our world, ethics plays a vital role.
The focus of David’s session was on how, as coaches, we can promote ethical behavior in ourselves and in our clients, and also on how we and our clients can remain ethical and authentic in otherwise politicized corporate and societal environments.
So…what do these challenges mean for coaches?
‘Challenges’ for coaches is beyond the practice of doing the coaching but rather being the coach. It is more about moving beyond “adhering to codes of practice’’ to becoming ethical role models.
Common Experiences of Ethical Concerns in Coaching:
Let’s look at a few basic examples:
Coachee being aware of corruption between colleagues
Coaching siblings while not being aware that they are related
Layoffs in crucial times
Now let’s break down a few more complex examples:
1.Coaching a tobacco company when the coach themselves doesn’t like smoking.
Here, the debate about the objective of coaching is whether to increase the profitability of the company or help the employees improve their work-life balance or maybe deal with personal issues? Coaches need to be clear on the boundaries.
2.The coached employee leaves the company resulting in an upset sponsor
It is not an issue if the person who left was in the wrong role and left the company in a positive manner. The person can be re-recruited for another role later. If a coachee says that they are planning to leave the company, the coach needs to be ethical and keep that to themselves not letting the sponsor know. If the contract between the sponsor and coach doesn’t have the clause to let the sponsor know about the coachee’s future plan, then confidentiality between coach and coachee takes priority.
The above are few examples of very many.
So… the big question that arises is: “Is not being ethical becoming normal?”
The survey data suggests unethical behavior is not a norm, but is still very common these days. And hence, “Ethical dilemma” is the issue that crops up from this data.
What creates an ethical dilemma?
Ethical dilemmas occur in the following instances:
When someone is conflicted about making the right choice
When two or more values compete for priority – These values may be personal, organizational, societal, or a mixture of these three.
Can arise as a result of secrecy or by fear
When the organizational climate doesn’t bring ethical considerations into sufficient prominence, the wrong priorities dominate, and perspective becomes too narrow
When the employees are put into high stress with a poor work-life balance
Intense competition and lack of open discussions
Customers complain about unfair treatments
Keeping these in mind, the coach needs to help the coachee to make a decision when they struggle with ethical dilemmas. Not an easy task as ethics relates and is dictated by the society we live in. For example, discrimination, considered unethical today, was a norm a few centuries ago.
Below are common phrases used to justify “unethical behavior”:
It is not really “illegal” or immoral
It’s in the individual or company’s best interest
The activity is safe because it will never be found out or publicized
Ethical Coaching, then?
Ethical coaching is nothing but the confidential learning between peers, aimed at helping the mentee/coachee: resolve ethical dilemmas, develop the ability to work with ethical dilemmas, influence an ethical culture in organizations, help become more authentic and value-driven leaders.
Ethical coaching aims to help have ethical leaders at the top and pave the way for more ethical behavior throughout the organization.