Ethics and integrity are paramount to a reputable coaching business and quality coaching. Due to very limited regulations, we technically have the freedom to adapt our style and the tools we use as we see fit. Unfortunately this freedom can be abused and give our industry a bad name. Coaches can get sloppy, dive into areas they aren’t qualified to help, not uphold confidentiality, or not respect materials they are using. This means that as professional coaches, we all have the responsibility to uphold high standards for our industry and build a trust.
I discuss this important topic in this episode because we want to conduct our coaching with integrity. We want to build a positive reputation, be excellent examples within our industry, and uplevel the professionalism of both ourselves and our industry as a whole. After all, we are being entrusted with people’s lives and their businesses and that is not to be taken lightly.
What You’ll Learn
Stealing other people’s work
Ethically use materials or information you’ve been given
Give correct credit
Know your material
The danger of sharing only in part
Build your own materials
Share testimonials appropriately, use anonymity in outside interactions
Welcome to the Masterful Coach Podcast with Molly Claire, where coaches learn skill mastery, business mastery, and Life Mastery at a whole new level. If you’re ready to create a meaningful coaching business that makes a difference, you’re in the right place. And now your host, Master coach, instructor, Molly Claire.
Hello, coaches, what a beautiful day to be building a coaching business, building the life and business of your dreams and helping people at the same time, right? We really have the best job, and I’m excited to always be here with you, helping you to be able to up level your skills, up level your mindset, and build that amazing, meaningful business.
Today, I am just so excited about everything going on behind the scenes in the Collective, we’ve got our launch coming up for our signature program, where we help coaches up level their skills, up level their mindset, get clarity on what they want for their life and business, and just really offer them support as they build their business, build their belief, overcome fear and doubt all of it. So we’ve got that coming up, and so many exciting things in the coming year.
So many of you know that we did our advanced relationship coach training in July, and it was phenomenal, and we’ve now been working with those coaches to help certify them in that so that they are totally prepared to use those tools at the highest level. And it’s been such a great experience, and Aimee and I are kind of an interesting match. She and I are very similar in our mission and just our core values and how we want to run a business, and yet we bring very different things to our business. So it’s really fun.
As we collaborate, I kind of feel like we bring the best of both worlds into the coaching realm and it’s just a lot of fun. And both Aimee and I have been really passionate about creating curriculum and teaching and training coaches. Many of you may know that when we started our coaching businesses, both of us really wanted to be able to train coaches and we worked at the time with the Life Coach School for their in person trainings, and have helped develop a lot of the curriculum and things behind the scenes, which was a lot of fun, and it’s been really fun to watch that program grow, and to have been a part of the beginnings of it.
So training coaches, and especially at this point, helping to really up level skills as Aimee and I have both up leveled and expanded our skills, bringing in more tools and more influences. It’s just been a lot of fun to do that and to be able to share that with our coaches. So we’re really, really passionate about it.
One thing that I’m also really excited about in the coming year that some of you may have heard is that we are offering an advanced parent coach certification training program. So this is specifically for coaches who work in that space; work with moms, work with dads, work with people challenged with their parenting or even managing their life in that role. And for me, this is something I’m very passionate about. You may know that when I first started my coaching business, I was focused on moms, those moms who are a little overwhelmed, stuck in compare and despair, maybe a little lost in motherhood, and kind of worried about ruining their kids’ lives, doing everything just right so they can make sure that this human turns out the right way.
So it’s definitely a space I’m passionate about. And having eight kids blended, I’m definitely in the thick of it, and we’re just really excited about that. Because I know a lot of you coaches out there are passionate about that space, and we really want to give you more tools to be able to support your clients. So definitely, you can check that out. We’ve got more in the works as far as just high level and expanded trainings that I can’t quite spill the beans on yet. But stay tuned. That’s where our heart is and we’re just really excited to offer that to all of you.
So having said that, let’s dive into ethics. Oh, such a sexy topic, right? This is not the most exciting topic. But it is really important because in the coaching industry, one of the beautiful things about it that allows us so much room for creativity is that it’s an unregulated field. So we can run our business and our practice any way that we want, and I can help my clients and serve them in the way that’s most useful to them, and I don’t have to worry about limits or restrictions. I have seen it as a beautiful thing to create a really abundant and useful business.
Now having said that, this also places on us, in my opinion, a responsibility to really uphold a high standard for our industry; because our industry can get a pretty bad name, when we’re sloppy, when we dive into areas where we are really not qualified to help, where maybe there are mental health professionals that are more qualified to deal with those things. It can also be a problem if we’re not upholding confidentiality of our clients or if we’re not really being respectful about the materials that we’re using. I’m going to talk a little bit more about this. So why does this matter? Like why should you really listen to this podcast? This is why.
It’s important to have a high level of professionalism in your business, it speaks highly of you, it creates a positive reputation, it allows your clients and your followers to know that they can trust you, and overall, it supports our industry. It’s going to help level the professionalism of our entire industry as you can be a leader. So I’m going to talk through some important keys to consider, and if you’re serious about having a high level business with integrity, with professionalism, this is for you.
So the first thing I want to address is an issue that we see a lot with coaches stealing other people’s work. Now, stealing is such an ugly word, right? But what does this really mean? What it means is that we are using materials using ideas or concepts that someone else has created and taking it as our own. Now, here’s the deal. The reality is that most thoughts, most concepts that are shared have been shared in another way at another time. So it’s not like we don’t ever take from other experts. Obviously, so many of the things that I share are probably a similar version of something you have heard. So I want to be clear on this. But that’s not the issue. But the issue is more truly taking exactly what someone else has created and using it as your own.
Now, some of you may be scratching your head, because you may have been certified through the Life Coach School or another school that gives you materials that you can actually use as your own, and that is not a problem. And in fact, I think because certain trainings do offer you that chance to use their materials verbatim. I believe that that’s where the confusion comes in because it’s almost like it creates this mindset of if I pay for something from someone I have license to use, it is basically my own, I own it. And so this is why I think this is such an important point to hit on, make a distinction between a plan or a coaching program that is selling you something that you can use as your own verbatim, and other programs where you are learning content, getting information that you can then draw from to create something in your business.
So for example, in the Coaching Collective, we teach our clients things, but then we encourage them as they take action, to be able to create their own materials; we want them to bring their own ideas, their own experience with their clients. And so again, I hope this clears up confusion. I’m not suggesting that you should never use anyone else’s ideas or bring input from that. But you want to make sure that you are not taking someone else’s work and presenting it as your own.
Give people credit for what you’ve learned. If you learn something amazing from a program and you’re sharing some of it, tell people that, ‘see this is what I learned from this person, it was really amazing and powerful. Let me tell you all about it.’ And along those lines too, make sure you’re crediting the right people. We’ve experienced this before, where we’re teaching something to our people, and we’re teaching something specifically that we may have learned or heard from someone else. And we credit that person, but then sometimes our people forget that and then they’re saying that this is our creation. So I don’t want you to get caught up in this or too paranoid about it. The bottom line is give people credit. If you heard something from someone, give them credit, and make sure that as often as possible, you’re creating your own stuff, okay.
Next thing I want to address is know your material. So especially if you are learning things where there’s a little more research or science behind it, be careful about sharing the gist of something that needs to be understood at a deeper level. So here’s an example. At our advanced relationship coach training, we touch on some research based things in our training that can be useful for our coaches to understand as they’re working people in their relationships.
So while this can be useful, we want to be careful about hearing a little bit about something that there’s science and research behind and running with it before really understanding it. So make sure that if you’re learning from people and especially if there is science or research behind something, and its impacting people in a really personal way, your material, know the facts about it before you go and share it.
The next thing I want to address, which I’ve already alluded to when it comes to being ethical, be creative. Make sure that as you’re creating your business and creating materials for your people, that you’re bringing your own ideas. When I first started working with people, of course, I was using the materials I had been trained in, and you have to start there. But as I coached with my clients, again, and again, I would see patterns, I would think of analogies, I would make connections between one client and another and notice things that were happening. And I was able to take in the training that I had had, the knowledge I had, things that I’ve read, and my own experience in my life, and the experience I had with several clients and patterns that I saw, and I was able to create things that were useful for my clients.
So if you’re a new coach, and you’re thinking, oh, no, I should be more creative, I should be using more than this; that’s not the message I’m giving you. But what I’m saying is look ahead to creativity. Right now, use the materials you have, practice with them, work on them, and also open up your mind to expanding your creativity. Move into the space of being a thought leader, where you can share your own ideas and experience and show those things that you’ve seen in your clients in a really unique way.
Next hot topic; keep confidentiality. So this is a practice in so many professions, and for some reason, we forget this in the coaching world and I think there’s also a good reason for this. In the coaching world, we want to have testimonials, right? We want to show successes, we want to share things that we have experienced with our clients because it helps people to understand what we do. So given this, it’s even more important to think about this and draw a line. When you have clients, you don’t tell people who your clients are unless that client has given you permission.
I remember working with a counselor for the first time and the counselor said to me, “Listen, if I see you in public, I’m not going to say anything to you. I may pretend that I don’t know you. It’s okay if you want to come to me and say hello. But for me, I’m not going to initiate that.” And I love having this same practice with my clients. I’m not going to tell anyone that they’re my clients. Now they’re welcome to, but that’s not my place. So keep your clients name and information confidential.
Now, if you’re talking about scenarios in a teaching format; sometimes they’ll talk about things on the podcast or in books, you want to just make sure you’re keeping that anonymity unless of course you have permission from them. And I want to also just say, be sensitive. If you’ve coached with someone on something that’s especially vulnerable for them, just be careful about is this something that is worth sharing even anonymously, or is it not? And if there’s any question, either don’t do it, or ask the person; say, “Hey, I’d love to share that we talked about this, I would keep it totally anonymous. But I don’t want you to feel exposed at all, given that we talked about something so personal.”
So not only do we want to keep that anonymity, but we want to be sensitive to those things; sensitive to our clients, our current client is always more important than that potential client that we may get. And especially just think about your practices with testimonials; make sure that you’re clearing it with people. If you have an online forum that’s private with your group, don’t assume that things people share in there are fair game to publish. Always, always ask for permission.
All right, the last thing I’m going to send you off with treat people fairly. Didn’t we learn this in preschool? This is one of the rules when I used to teach preschool actually, and we would talk about this and there would be three main rules in the classroom and one of them was to treat people fairly, and we talked about what that meant exactly, and what it meant in different scenarios. And so as basic as it is, I think it’s really important to remember, if you are having collaborations with other people in your business, pay people well, consider people, consider other people’s needs.
Make sure that in any business relationship, you are a giver in those scenarios, over giving to the person instead of being a taker. This kind of goes back to crediting people; give people credit for ways that they’ve helped, you boost other people up. When you can think about treating your clients with fairness; this is what I was just talking about with keeping confidential and being sensitive.
And you can treat your contract workers, your employees and your business with fairness, with their time, with expectations. and when you can treat other coaches in the industry, your colleagues with fairness and respect, and you can treat any business collaboration or relationships with respect, considering being a giver and not a taker; that’s a pretty powerful place to be. It feels good. It’s a good business practice, and it’s just the right thing to do.
So, that’s what I’ve got for you coaches. Hold a high standard of ethics, have integrity, be a professional, treat people with fairness, and I promise you it will always serve you, your clients and your business. That’s what I’ve got for you. Have a great day and I’ll catch you on the next episode.