To be effective executive coaching must rely on two fundamental ethical principles:
Confidentiality. This is first and foremost a demand on the coach. It is usually straight forward in that the coach does not reveal to anyone the details of the coaching including who the client is (the person being coached), without the express permission of the client.
Referrals. Executive coaching is not psychotherapy. If I believe the client would benefit from either another form of coaching or therapy, I will offer to refer him or her to people I know in these fields or to associations who maintain list of appropriate people.
To ensure confidentiality I do not specifically identify coaching clients or develop ‘disguised’ coaching case studies.
As a member of the European Mentoring and Consulting Council, the Australian Centre for Psychoanalysis, and the International Society for Psychoanalytic Study of Organisation which have professional ethical standards. I continue also to maintain the ethical standards of the Australian Institute of Company Directors on whose coaching panel I have served.
Coaching sessions are held in my office in the Melbourne CBD or online (Skype). Arrangements are developed and agreed during the first few sessions including interim milestones. In some cases of organisation referral, it is useful for the client, the referral person (Human Resources, CEO and others) and myself to meet several times to discuss the work if the client agrees.
Duration of coaching varies but in general time limited coaching is preferred. The objectives for the coaching and their measurement (quantitative and qualitative) are developed and agreed and the number of sessions agreed. These agreements usually are completed by the second session. Time limited coaching has the advantage of maintaining focus on the objectives.
Agreements can be modified should additional issues arise.