IRCM Unified Code of Industry Ethics 2018-07-18T21:11:38+00:00

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IRCM Unified Code of Industry Ethics

The International Regulator of Coaching and Mentoring CIC (IRCM) is the only international regulator approved by the Regulator of Community Interest Companies; which is appointed by the United Kingdom’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. This approval gives the IRCM the authority to carry out international activities for the benefit of Coaching and Mentoring professionals, professional bodies (accreditation bodies, trade/membership bodies, and associations), training organisations, and the personal or corporate consumer.

As the International Regulator for the Coaching and Mentoring Industry, the IRCM is committed to creating and maintaining a single Unified Code of Industry Standards and Ethics for the Coaching and Mentoring Industries.

This Code of Industry Ethics is created within the boundaries of UK Law and takes into consideration European law and other international countries. It sets out the expectations of best practice for all individuals and organisations working within the Coaching and Mentoring Industry. This includes all individuals who call themselves a Coach and/or a Mentor; as well as all organisations that provide training or products or services of a Coaching and/or Mentoring nature.

Each individual or organisation that ‘registers’ or gains their ‘accreditation’ with the IRCM agrees to abide by this Code and the IRCMs Disciplinary Procedures.

The purpose of this Unified Code of Industry Ethics is to:

Provide clarity to both the individuals and organisations within the Coaching and Mentoring Industry, as well as the consumers of the Coaching and Mentoring services and products.

Provide guidelines of best practice for each individual and organisation working within the Coaching and Mentoring Industry; as well as those not necessarily calling themselves a Coach or Mentor but are using Coaching and/or Mentoring skills in their personal and professional life.

Provide accountability and enforceable standards and ethics for each individual and organisation working within the Coaching and Mentoring Industry; as well as those not necessarily calling themselves a Coach or Mentor but are using Coaching and/or Mentoring skills in their personal and professional life.

Where any individual or organisation falls short of this Unified Code of Industry Ethics; this Code will be used as the basis for any Complaint, Disciplinary Procedure, or Ombudsman process.

Coaching and Mentoring puts the individuals or organisations using/teaching the skills as a Coach or Mentor in a very privileged position; a position from which each individual or organisation can enrich the life of the ‘client’ but also where care in using these skills is not exercised, harm can be caused.

No less than any other profession, Coaching and Mentoring requires clear behavioural guidelines in order to safeguard each individual, consumer, or organisation. These behavioural guidelines do not stand on their own and the IRCM endorses the following Core Values as the basis for these behavioural guidelines (in alphabetical order):

  • Accountability
  • Care
  • Confidentiality
  • Excellence
  • Honest
  • Integrity
  • Professionalism
  • Transparency

The Unified Code of Industry Ethics is the result of applying these Core Values to the areas of each consumers’ life in which each individual and organisation has a responsibility.

Research shows that when things go wrong in a Coaching or Mentoring relationship it is undoubtedly the result of the lack of a rigour application of the core values to the areas of responsibility.

Definitions:

There are a huge number of definitions for Coaching and Mentoring, the individuals and organisations involved within and without the industry; but for the purposes of this Unified Code of Ethics, these are the definitions used:

Coaches
Coaches work with individuals, teams, or groups in a confidential partnership relationship. The Coaching each Coach uses in this partnership relationship creates a thought-provoking, forward thinking, creative process that inspires each individual to maximise their own potential in an area in which the consumer chooses.

Although a Coach is trained to work across the full spectrum of the consumer personal and professional life; specific niches of Coaching, for example corporate Coaching, business Coaching, leadership Coaching, life Coaching, executive Coaching, strengths Coaching, and the list goes on; provides each Coach to confirm the type or area of Coaching in which they prefer to work. In all niches, the definition remains the same.

Coaches develop the skills and learn the tools and techniques to work with consumers in a one-2-one, team or group relationship.

Coaching
Coaching is a range of skills, tools, techniques used within the Coaching industry by Coaches.

In the November, 2017 The State of Play in European Coaching and Mentoring, Executive Report 2017: coaching is defined as ‘A Socratic-based future-focused dialogue between a facilitator (coach) and a participant (coachee/client), where the facilitator uses open questions, active listening, summaries and reflections which are aimed at stimulating the self-awareness and personal responsibility of the participant’.

Consumer  (also known as buyers or end-users)
A consumer is a person or organisation who buys (for a fee or bartered or pro-bono or free) a product or service for personal or professional development. These are the individuals and/or organisations who benefit from the services or products provided by individuals and/or organisations within the Coaching and Mentoring Industry.

The consumer can also be known as the ‘client’ or ‘customer’.

Individual, Group, Team
Individual means that the relationship is a one-2-one relationship between a Coach and a consumer; or a Mentor and a consumer; or an organisation and a consumer.

Team generally means that the relationship has more than one consumer working with the Coach, Mentor, or organisation. In a team the consumer is normally
There are many definitions for team; but the one commonly adopted definition is that defined by:

Katzenbach and Smith (1999): ‘a small number of people with complimentary skills, who are committed to a common purpose, performance goals and approach, for which they hold themselves mutually accountable.’

Kozlowski and Bell (2003): ‘collectives who exist to perform organisationally relevant tasks, share one or more common goals, interact socially, exhibit task interdependencies, maintain and manage boundaries and are embedded in an organisational context that sets boundaries, constrains the team, and influences exchanges with other units in the broader entity.’

Hackman and Wageman (2005): ‘direct interaction with a team intended to help members in the co‐ordinated and task‐appropriate use of their collective resources in accomplishing the team’s work.’

David Clutterbuck (2009): ‘helping the team improve performance and the processes by which performance is achieved, through reflection and dialogue.’

Group generally means that the relationship has more than one consumer working with the Coach, Mentor, or organisation; but does not necessarily mean that the two or more consumers are working to achieve a single goal for the same organisation. More often, group Coaching or Mentoring relates to the same development topics that are important to a number of people at the same time i.e. learning a skill, developing a hobby, learning a new tool or technique.

Mentors
Mentors work with individuals, teams, or groups in a confidential partnership relationship. The Mentor is a knowledgeable, experienced and trusted guide or advisor. In Mentoring each Mentor uses their own working knowledge and personally gained experience to create a partnership relationship that is guided, thought-provoking, forward thinking, and creative process that inspires each individual to maximise their own potential in an area in which the consumer chooses or the organisation requires.

Each Mentor has knowledge and personally gained experience in a specific niche. Unlike Coaches, Mentors do not work outside their own niche. In all niches, the definition remains the same.

Mentors use their own knowledge and personally gained experience to work with consumers in a one-2-one, team or group relationship. Mentors may also use the same skills, tools, and techniques a Coach uses.

Mentoring
Mentoring is the definition of the knowledge and personally gained experience each Mentor has attained; which may also include a range of skills, tools, techniques, and general industry knowledge used within the Mentoring industry by Mentors.

Peer-to-peer Mentoring is where, for example in the Coaching and Mentoring industry; a Coach or Mentor seeks guidance from a more experienced and qualified Coach or Mentor. It is the IRCMs recommendation that the only Coaches or Mentors contacted for advice and guidance should be those who are IRCM Accredited.

In the November, 2017 The State of Play in European Coaching and Mentoring, Executive Report 2017: mentoring is defined as ‘A long term relationship that meets a development need, offered by a senior or more experienced individual to a junior or less experienced individual where the less experienced individual receives guidance, advice and support to help their development’.

Supervision
Supervision is where a Coach or Mentor seeks advice or guidance from a more experienced and qualified Coach or Mentor. It is the IRCMs recommendation that the only Coaches or Mentors contacted for supervision should be those who are IRCM Accredited.

In the November, 2017 The State of Play in European Coaching and Mentoring, Executive Report 2017: Reflective Practice and Supervision is defined as: What is reflective practice? Reflective practice is widely accepted as an effective method for learning and continuous professional development. How this is achieved has been widely debated and this debate continues, reflecting different traditions within coaching and mentoring. We believe reflective practice is an essential part of professional development. This can be fulfilled in different ways. What is supervision? One popular method drawn from counselling and clinical environments is coaching supervision. This can be one to one (or one to a few) involving a facilitator (supervisor) who supports, guides and encourages the participant (a coach) in a reflective process. Coaching supervision may be defined as: The process that occurs when a mentor or coach brings their work to a supervisor in order to be supported, reflective and engage in collaborative learning for their personal development for the benefit of themself, their clients and their organisational clients’.

Personal Conduct:

Personal Conduct relates to every individual calling themselves a Coach or a Mentor; and to each individual working within an organisation.

  1. Accountability
    1. Accountability is the Coach, Mentors, or each member of an organisations obligation to accept responsibility or to account for their actions as a Coach, a Mentor, or a member of an organisation.
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  2. Care
    1. Coaches, Mentors, and each member of an organisation has a duty of care towards their consumers and should ensure that in all dealings with their consumers they display the highest standards of personal and professional conduct.
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  3. Confidentiality
    1. Coaches, Mentors, and each member of an organisation will treat all information from other Coaches, Mentors, organisations, consumers with absolute confidentiality. Information will only be disclosed where explicitly agreed with the consumer or other person/organisation in writing; or where the Coach, Mentor, or organisation believes there is compelling evidence of serious danger to a consumer or other if the information is withheld.
    2. Coaches, Mentors, and each member of an organisation will maintain throughout their consumer relationship, and for the longevity of their business trading, the level of confidentiality agreed at the start of the relationship.
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  4. Excellence
    1. Coaches, Mentors, and each member of an organisation will be aware of the impact of their own belief and values systems and the effect of these may have on their Coaching or Mentoring.
    2. Coaches, Mentors, and each member of an organisation will respect the different approaches to Coaching and Mentoring.
    3. Coaches, Mentors, and each member of an organisation will demonstrate respect for the different approaches, cultures, languages of all other individuals in the coaching and mentoring industry.
    4. Coaches, Mentors, and where applicable each member of an organisation will clearly understand their own levels of Coaching or Mentoring competence, experience, qualifications and accreditation and will not exaggerate, embellish, misrepresent or defraud these in any way.
    5. Coaches, Mentors, and where applicable each member of an organisation will work within the limitations of their own competence and will distinguish situations where it may be necessary to refer a client either to a more experienced Coach or Mentor or Supervisor, or to seek the help of a qualified professional or practitioner.
    6. Coaches, Mentors, and where applicable each member of an organisation have a responsibility to monitor and maintain their fitness to practice at a level that enables them to provide an effective service. If their effectiveness becomes impaired for any reason, including health or personal circumstances, they should stop working and seek advice and support.
    7. Coaches, Mentors, and where applicable each member of an organisation will ensure that they develop and enhance their level of competence and excellence by continuing to participate in relevant training and appropriate Continuing Professional Development (CPD). A written record will be maintained of all training and CPD.
    8. Coaches, Mentors, and where applicable each member of an organisation will ensure that they are aware of new skills, tools, techniques, technologies, and practices as are relevant to the Coaching and/or Mentoring industry. A written record will be maintained of all relevant training and CPD.
    9. Coaches, Mentors, and where applicable each member of an organisation will monitor the quality of their work by undertaking their own reflections, and also seeking feedback from consumers, peers, colleagues, and other Coaching and Mentoring professionals.
    10. Coaches, Mentors, and where applicable each member of an organisation will have regular coaching or mentoring or supervision sessions with a more experienced and higher qualified Coach or Mentor; who can assess their level of competence and support their ongoing growth and development. Where the Coach or Mentor wishes to discuss consumer specific details, they are reminded of the confidentiality clauses in this Unified Code of Industry Ethics.
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  5. Honest
    1. Coaches, Mentors and each member of an organisation will operate within this Unified Code of Industry Ethics, the applicable laws, all relevant rules and regulations (in the country they reside and the country of their consumers), and will not assist, persuade, or collude with others engaged in conduct which does not meet the IRCMs Core Values, is unprofessional, unlawful or discriminatory in any way.
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  6. Integrity
    1. Coaches, Mentors and each member of an organisation will not enter into any coaching, mentoring or business agreement where it could create a risk of conflict of interest.
    2. Coaches, Mentors and each member of an organisation will continuously demonstrate personal integrity, honesty, and sincerity.
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  7. Professionalism
    1. Coaches, Mentors and each member of an organisation agrees to abide by this Unified Code of Industry Ethics, the Complaints and Disciplinary Procedures, and the Ombudsman process.
    2. Coaches, Mentors and relevant members of an organisation ensure that any claim of professional recognition, accreditation, membership, qualification, or competence is clear and accurately explained.
    3. Coaches, Mentors and each member of an organisation clearly communicates the distinctions between coaching, mentoring, supervision, consulting, therapy, counselling, psychotherapy, and other support professions and industries.
    4. Coaches, Mentors and each member of an organisation will ensure that each and every consumer is fully aware of the nature of the service provided (if Coaching is agreed, only Coaching is delivered; if Mentoring is agreed, only Mentoring is delivered; if Training is agreed, only Training is delivered); or other coaching or mentoring product purchased.
    5. Where necessary, Coaches, Mentors and each member of an organisation refers the consumer to another support professional/organisation if their services/products are not what the consumer requires at that time.
    6. Coaches, Mentors and relevant members of an organisation will respect the consumers learning and development style and needs as defined by the confidential professional relationship.
    7. Coaches, Mentors and each member of an organisation will ensure that all promotional materials (adverts, social media, verbal, etc.) are truthful, honest, legal and compliant with current legislation (in the country they reside and the country of their consumers); and that no false or misleading claims are made or implied.
    8. Coaches, Mentors and each member of an organisation will never represent the work or views of someone else as that of their own. Plagiarism within written representations is not accepted; and where the words, work, or views of someone is to be used; it may only be used in quote form clearly stating the full details of the quote – name and details.
    9. Coaches, Mentors and each member of an organisation will ensure that their behaviour can in no way be described as sexual harassment, physical advances, sexual solicitation, or verbal or non-verbal conduct that is sexual in nature.
    10. Coaches, Mentors and each member of an organisation will not exploit the consumer in any manner, including but not limited to financial, commercial, time, emotional, sexual (as detailed above), information shared, or any area relevant to the confidential professional relationship.
    11. Coaches, Mentors and each member of an organisation will not abuse their consumers trust in order to gain any personal or professional advantage – sexual, emotional, or financial.
    12. Coaches, Mentors and each member of an organisation work supportively within the coaching and mentoring industry to raise the profile, the standards, and the ethics of the Coaching and Mentoring Industry; by conducting their business in keeping with this Unified Code of Ethics.
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  8. Transparency
    1. Coaches, Mentors, and each member of an organisation will be diligent in understanding and implementing their own and their consumers legal and other obligations with regards to race, national origin, ethnicity, age, gender, sexual orientation, religion, language, disability, and socioeconomic status, ensuring that they do not participate in or condone unfair discriminatory practices.
    2. Coaches, Mentors, and each member of an organisation maintains appropriate records of their work with their consumers and ensures that all such records are accurate with reasonable precautions taken to protect against third party disclosure. Attention is given to the consumers’ rights under current legislation.

Professional Conduct:

Professional Conduct relates to every individual calling themselves a Coach or a Mentor; and to each individual working within an organisation.

Contracts related to coaching, mentoring, supervision, training, and all other products and services provided within the coaching and mentoring industry.

  1. Coaches, Mentors and each member of an organisation will ensure that all and any public statements produced by themselves or their agents (verbally or in writing) are true and reflect well on the Coaching or Mentoring industry.
  2. Coaches, Mentors and each member of an organisation will ensure that consumers fully understand the contractual terms and conditions, costs, process, location, and other relevant details.
  3. Coaches, Mentors and each member of an organisation will not give consumers misleading information or advice or make false claims about the results of, or what consumer will receive from, the contract.
  4. Coaches, Mentors and each member of an organisation will create absolute clarity for each contract. Special attention will be paid to:
    1. Ensuring that the consumer understands the contract, the service/product guidelines, and the specific parameters of the contractual relationship.
    2. Clarity in relation to the details of the service/product, logistics, fees, inclusion of others, scheduling, coach/mentor/organisation responsibilities, consumer responsibilities, etc.
    3. Meeting the expectations of the consumer, as well as those of the Coach, Mentor, or member of an organisation.
    4. Creating an environment in which the consumer has the opportunity for Personal and Professional Development through learning.
    5. Creating an environment in which the consumer, Coach, Mentor, or member of an organisation are focused on the end result.
    6. Being clear about the contractual relationship – what is appropriate and what is not appropriate.
  5. Before contracting; Coaches, Mentors and each member of an organisation will ensure that there is an effective match between his/her service/product and the consumer requirements.
  6. Coaches, Mentors and each member of an organisation will treat all consumers with honour, dignity, and integrity, fully respecting the consumers’ values, beliefs and goals (which may differ from their own), being aware of cultural, regional and linguistic differences.
  7. In every contractual relationship, Coaches and Mentors must establish trust and ongoing mutual respect with their consumer, specifically:
    1. Continuously demonstrating personal integrity, honesty, and sincerity.
    2. Demonstrating respect for the consumers view of their world, perceptions, learning style, and personal being.
    3. Showing genuine concern for the consumers self-care, welfare and future.
    4. Establishing clear understanding.
    5. Keeping promises.
    6. Providing on-going support for the consumers learning style, values, habit changes, new behaviours, options, and actions.
    7. Being aware of and providing on-going support for the times when the consumers are taking risks, or concerned about the fear of failure.
    8. Asking permission when working in sensitive areas of the consumers life.
  8. Coaches, Mentors and each member of an organisation will not prolong a contractual relationship beyond its useful conclusion.
  9. Coaches, Mentors and each member of an organisation will encourage a consumer to make a change to, or to terminate the contract, when aware that the consumer is no longer benefiting from the contract.
  10. Coaches, Mentors and each member of an organisation will respect the consumers’ right to terminate the contract at any point during the contractual relationship.
  11. Coaches, Mentors and each member of an organisation understands that the professional responsibilities continue beyond the termination of any contractual relationship, which include but are not limited to:
    1. Maintaining the confidentiality of all information relating to the consumers.
    2. Exploitation of the former relationship.
    3. Safe and secure storage of all related records, information, and data.
    4. Completion of any follow-up with has been agreed to.
  12. When working within organisations, Coaches and Mentors will obtain the express consent of the consumer before releasing information such as progress reports and other particulars to the person/organisation who may be employing them.
  13. Coaches, Mentors and each member of an organisation will inform consumers of any personal situations or relationships which may have an adverse effect upon the contractual relationship, and together agree what appropriate action should be taken.
  14. Coaches, Mentors and each member of an organisation will not diagnose or assess any health issue (mental or physical) but will suggest that the consumer consults with a relevant practitioner.
  15. Coaches, Mentors and each member of an organisation will ensure that consumers are aware of the IRCMs Unified Code of Industry Ethics; Complaints and Disciplinary Process; and Ombudsman.
  16. Coaches, Mentors and each member of an organisation will only use the IRCM logo as allowed by their status.
  17. Coaches, Mentors and each member of an organisation will ensure that they do not use their relationship with the IRCM, any Professional Body, any Training Organisation, or any other organisation within the Coaching and Mentoring industry, in a way that is detrimental to such a body/organisation of the Coaching and Mentoring Industry; or brings that body/organisation into disrepute.
  18. Coaches, Mentors and each member of an organisation will not claim to represent the IRCM, any Professional Body, any Training Organisation, or any other organisation without explicit written permission.
  19. Coaches, Mentors and each member of an organisation will immediately notify the IRCM if a situation arises which creates conflict, litigation, or bad publicity.
  20. Coaches, Mentors and each member of an organisation that has reason to be concerned by the behaviour or practice of another coach, mentor, or organisation; will firstly raise the matter with the person/organisation concerned; thereafter raise the matter with the IRCM Complaints and Disciplinary Procedure. Such concerns will be treated with the appropriate degree of confidentiality and sensitivity.

Organisational Conduct:

The organisational conduct is reflected through the conduct of each person employed, either directly or through contract, by the organisation.

Therefore, the organisation is governed by the Personal and Professional Conduct as detailed above.

Monitoring and Managing:

The IRCM at all times will monitor this Unified Code of Industry Conduct for Coaching and Mentoring in line with the changes and progress of the Coaching and Mentoring Industry. Changes to this Unified Code of Industry Conduct will be made after a review of the IRCMs Steering Committee, Industry Direction department, and Compliances and Verification department.

Each individual and organisation within the Coaching and Mentoring Industry will at all times reflect their role in and the industry in a positive manner. Where a Coach, Mentor, member of an organisation or consumer believes or experiences a Coach, Mentor, or member of an organisation behaving in a way that is in breach of the IRCMs Unified Code of Industry Conduct; they may select to contact the IRCM or raise a complaint through the Complaints and Disciplinary Process; or through the Ombudsman.

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© 2018 International Regulator of Coaching and Mentoring CIC. All Rights Reserved
Version 3, February, 2018