WABC Global Standard:
WABC Code of Business Coaching Ethics and Integrity
All WABC members and WABC Accredited candidates and holders
October 2, 2003 | Revised edition December 17, 2007
Mandatory | In effect
An Open Letter from WABC President/CEO
December 17, 2007
The Worldwide Association of Business Coaches (WABC) strives to be on the leading edge in all aspects of its work. Our Code of Business Coaching Ethics and Integrity is no exception. As the foundation of everything we do, this Code embodies the highest set of principle-based commitments that we apply to our business interactions and decision making.
How we got here
In November 1999, we published the Member Code of Ethics and Conduct, a set of personal commitments voluntarily made by all members of the Association. Later, rapid growth and change in the industry led us to revise our Code so that it reflected the core philosophies and integrity of our expanding global Association.
From March to June 2003, an Ethics and Integrity Expert Advisory Task Force was assembled to revise the Code, to establish a process for handling ethical dilemmas and issues, and to recommend a monitoring and reviewing system for our ethics program. World-renowned business ethics expert Errol P. Mendes, LLB, LLM, acted as chair, and the task force members came from four different countries. As well, the Association membership had the opportunity to participate in various phases of the work, including the membership-wide ethics survey in March and the final feedback on the new Code in July, before its publication in October 2003.
A unique and advanced Code
After reviewing membership feedback, analyzing other associations’ codes and complaint processes, and researching related documents, the task force unanimously agreed that a brand new Code would best address the diverse range of business interactions and decisions faced by our members around the world.
Thanks to expert guidance and substantive revision, our current Code embodies the highest ethical standards in the industry. It includes our Business Coaching Definition, our Principles, and our Safe Harbor Conciliation and Adjudication Process. It's simply the most unique and advanced code of its kind in the world today.
Who benefits from the Code?
Our Code is intended for WABC members and their clients. The term “client” may include client, coachee, colleague, learner, mentee, partner or student.
Our conciliation, adjudication, monitoring and review processes
We make our Code a living document through our Safe Harbor Conciliation and Adjudication Process. This process requires active participation from both WABC and members. It is monitored continuously and reviewed annually to ensure that it stays relevant.
The WABC Ethics and Integrity Committee oversees the consultation, adjudication, monitoring and review processes.
Our enduring mutual commitments
Our Code provides direction in times of uncertainty and operates in concert with WABC’s guiding philosophies. While the Code can't possibly address every ethical matter, it can help us think deliberately and deeply about how to appropriately conduct our business affairs across disparate business contexts and cultures. The Code can also stimulate dialogue and debate on ethical challenges in the future.
The success of this dynamic Code lies in the enduring mutual commitments between WABC and our members. I welcome your full support as we move ahead during these opportune times.
WABC President and Chief Executive Officer
WABC Code of Business Coaching Ethics and Integrity
We, as members of WABC, commit ourselves to:
- Maintaining the highest ethical standards with our clients, our fellow members and WABC. These standards are founded on advancing the best interests of the client, the emerging profession of business coaching, the Association and the general public. We fully accept that the fundamental principle of our emerging profession is to do no harm and to promote and protect human dignity and diversity.
- Maintaining the highest ethical standards in the publicity and marketing of our services, including offering only those services in which we have appropriate expertise or training.
- Making clear to our clients what can reasonably be expected of our business coaching services, and striving to ensure that our clients fully understand the terms of our coaching agreement. We will avoid making false claims, giving misleading information or raising false expectations with our clients.
- Maintaining the strictest levels of confidentiality with all client information. We will ensure that our coaching service agreements clearly define which information can and cannot be disclosed. In the course of providing coaching services, there will be no unauthorized disclosure of client information (including the client or company name).
- Offering and performing our services in the interests of the client. We will not engage in conduct that may compromise client interests with a view to obtaining other contracts from third parties, including parties that may be compensating us for our services.
- Avoiding all conduct that amounts to sexual, racial or other forms of discrimination, harassment or inappropriate relations with clients or their colleagues or superiors.
- Maintaining the highest ethical standards in our relationships with business coaching colleagues at WABC and elsewhere, and respecting their professional contributions and work. We will only use information about WABC members in an appropriate manner, as authorized by the Association.
Our Safe Harbor Conciliation and Adjudication Process
- By virtue of their membership in WABC, all member coaches have agreed to abide by the Safe Harbor Conciliation and Adjudication Process.
- The Safe Harbor Process may be triggered if there is a concern related to the WABC Code and the concern involves WABC, a member coach or a client of a member coach.
- The first stage of the Safe Harbor Process is the consultation stage. At this stage, the concern will be reviewed to determine whether further steps are necessary.
If the concern relates to WABC, and/or to its President and CEO, an independent third party will be chosen by mutual agreement by the parties involved from a roster to be established by the WABC President and CEO. If the parties involved cannot reach a mutual agreement, the WABC President and CEO will designate an independent third party.
If the concern relates to a member coach or a client of a member coach, WABC, through its President and CEO, will designate an appropriate party to review the matter. This party may be an independent WABC member.
The independent third party will review the concern with all individuals involved, with the objective of reaching an amicable resolution. The independent party will allow all parties a reasonable opportunity to provide relevant information and responses to any positions taken by other parties.
- If the first stage of the Safe Harbor Process is unsuccessful, the concern will move on to the second stage, adjudication. At this stage, the concern will be considered further through a more formal hearing.
If the concern relates to WABC, and/or to its President and CEO, a panel of three people will conduct the hearing. The panel members will be chosen by mutual agreement by the parties involved from a roster to be established by the WABC President and CEO. If the parties involved cannot reach a mutual agreement, then the WABC President and CEO will designate one panel member, the other party (or parties) involved will designate a second panel member, and those two panel members will designate the third panel
If the concern relates to a member coach or a client of a member coach, WABC, through its President and CEO, will designate a panel of three people from a roster to be established by the WABC President and CEO.
In either case, the adjudication panel will receive information and responses from all individuals involved, with the objective of establishing whether the integrity of the WABC Code was affected by the concern raised. The independent third party from the consultation stage will not take part in this formal adjudication.
The panel members, after satisfying themselves that they have all the relevant information and positions, will then determine whether the integrity of the WABC Code was affected by the concern raised. If they conclude that this was the case, they will recommend measures to preserve the integrity of WABC and restore the ethical balance between parties. These measures could include formal apologies, mandatory training, sharing of benefits and/or punitive actions (e.g., withdrawal of membership or credentialing, measures affecting WABC or its President and CEO).
At all stages of the Safe Harbor Conciliation and Adjudication Process, parties are encouraged to settle their concerns amicably and with a view to restoring the ethical integrity and balance of all involved.
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