Essay on Can Coaches Do Harm?

Essay on Can Coaches Do Harm?

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Can Coaches Do Harm?

Coaching is part skill, part method, and part art. Like any trade that involves honing your skills, and like any form of art, you have to practice your way into mastery. This is why new coaches are encouraged to begin practicing their coaching skills quickly, and to keep practicing them consistently.

This is especially true in coach training. Coaches are often required early on to practice with class peers and designated practice clients. Practice is an essential part of adult learning, and is key to the long-term success of the coach.

This means that most coaches begin coaching early into their training, and when they do, they worry about doing harm to their newly acquired clients.

This is normal; coaching is a service industry on a very intimate level. We are all concerned about the well-being of our clients, and want to be sure that we’re not doing any harm. Unfortunately, just like plastic surgeons and real estate agents, there are those coaches in the world who are less than sincere, choosing the dollar over the need of the client. This post isn’t about principle, as I’m hopeful you are reading this post as one of the “good guys.” The not-so-good-guys is a subject for another time; We’re here to debate around the question can well meaning, careful, and professional coaches do harm to their clients?

The answer is, yes. However, it’s not as straightforward as you might think.

In coaching, students are first taught ethics and a professional code of conduct. They must be taught this before ever engaging a client, so look for this in any training you undertake. Sometimes this comes in the form of an e-learning module, a participation and conduct agreement, or a full-fledged training segment. One way or...


... middle of paper ...


...riations that have been applied to coaching.

There, done.

It’s all about following the details of the code of ethics. If what you are doing is coaching, and you are following these guidelines, then there is virtually no chance of harming your client. It’s when coaches stray from these guidelines that harm can occur: Getting lazy or sloppy. Ignoring the warning in your head when an obvious red flag is raised.

The question we set out to explore was, “Can coaches do harm?” I said the answer was “Yes”, and that “Yes” comes from a very specific place. If you’re truly coaching, then there is almost zero chance of doing harm, it’s when you’re NOT coaching that the biggest risk of doing harm exists.

Get clear about this critical distinction and you can find a lot of comfort and security in the work that you do. Don’t simply be a good coach, be a smart coach, as well.


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