Professional Boundaries

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Although hashtag #MeToo was only invented a few years ago, sadly crossing boundaries has been around for a lot longer, and in our coaching and mentoring industry too.

The #MeToo news in our industry is dominated by sports scandals, with abusive sports coaches often making many victims before they are finally exposed and prosecuted. The scope of these crimes, with a large number of victims, is what makes it newsworthy.

But the harsh truth is that this happens in other areas of our industry as well. And no matter how many victims there are, the impact on each and every individual victim can be equally damaging.

One of the worst examples we’ve ever heard off was that of a European “life coach”, who didn’t only intimately befriend his coachees, but who actually moved in with them to live off them, as such fully exploiting the vulnerable situation from which his clients sought his support. When one of those clients finally lodged a complaint against him with his professional body, this man chose to simply cancel his membership, instead of taking full responsibility and face the consequences of his sickening practices.

Any self-respecting professional coach or mentor will understand that crossing professional boundaries in such a big way is completely unacceptable. It isn’t any different from doctors and psychiatrists engaging in intimate relationships with their patients, or teachers engaging in intimate relationships with their students.

But the problem is that, in our coaching and mentoring industry, there is nothing stopping these abusers from (re)entering our industry, not even after a conviction! You don’t need a license to work in our industry, and this also means that such a license can’t be revoked if you screw up.

This is one of the (many) reasons why we, as the International Regulator for Coaching and Mentoring CIC, are striding for more regulation in our industry. We don’t want to restrict any genuine coach or mentor in working with their coachees and mentees with honesty, integrity and professionalism. But we do want to protect our consumers, by enabling our industry to weed out those who damage our consumers and therefore damage the collective reputation of our industry as a whole.

If you want to support us in this mission, then please click here to join us.