Functional Adults and Ethical Career Change Coaching

Yesterday’s post on breaking enjoyable but distracting habits got me thinking about two important ethical coaching points and I would like to share them with you here.

  1. All of my coaching and mentoring products and services are aimed at functional adults planning a major career change (or already in the middle of one and wanting support for a limited time.) Your mileage may vary. This should be self-evident.

  2. You’ll only get out what you put into any coaching relationship; that goes for both client and coach.

Sometimes the client is just not coachable in that area or at that time, or both. Other times, the coach-client relationship doesn’t work well. Solution? Get another coach! (Sometimes the coach fires a client for similar reasons!)

I hope #1 makes sense. I fully understand that only a minority of blog readers are likely to take any action and purchase something from me.

That’s just a fact of life; not everyone’s into major career change! Until maybe it happens to them. (Or, as John Lennon is supposed to have said: “Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans.")

And it’s also a reality of doing business. Along the lines of: You can please some of the people some of the time. Wow! Wait a minute! I’m not in the people-pleasing business; so change that ‘please’ to ‘coach’.

By functional, I mean that you’re a rational and mature adult. (so if you’re under 13 or whatever the relevant age for a child is in your jurisdiction, then go ask your legal guardian or parent right now for permission to view this life changing info!).

Rational and functional adults, by and large, are self-directing and can make career and life choices that are in their best interests.

They’re also usually fine with goal setting and planning, within a certain comfort zone.

They know of (and may have experienced) the potential value and benefits to be gained from working with coaches, teachers, mentors and other resources; but they’re not dependent on such folks, or on their tools. They know when to move forward and rely on their own strengths.

Irrational and dysfunctional folks, in my definition, are primarily the opposite of the previous paragraph. But not in black and white terms, more like shades of grey. (And that’s why there are sound legal, ethical and medical reasons why only trained therapists and other mental health professionals are permitted to help such people.)

By the way, I’m not a therapist, medical doctor or any form of mental health professional. I’m a coach and mentor. That’s why, if you’re being treated for any mental health issue or symptom and choose to work with me, it’s your responsibility to confirm with your medical professional that it is OK to do so beforehand. And for you to tell me before the coaching or mentoring begins.

I would of course fully respect your privacy and keep this information confidential. I would also reserve the right NOT to proceed with any coaching or mentoring based on what you’ve told me, or if I believe that I’m not a suitable coach or mentor for you at that time.)

Those of you who’ve read this far; are you bored with the above? Want me to get to the point?

OK. here it is.

There is a small minority of so-called coaches and mentors out there who will coach/mentor anyone on almost anything. For a buck or an ego; often for lots of both.

Got an executive facing burn out and possible career disembowelment? No problem, says the cowboy coach: What he/she needs is some really big goals and 12 weeks of tough love.

Can you say, possible mental breakdown?

How about, l-a-w-s-u-i-t?

I’m deadly serious here! Run far and fast from such charlatans.

All of the coaches I personally know are committed to compassionately and passionately supporting their clients’ dreams and goals with the very best that coaching can offer.

Anything less is just not acceptable.

March 2012 Update: One of the reasons I chose to stop personal coaching was that I did not feel qualified to help a number of people who showed interest in coaching / mentoring who would have been best served by a licensed mental health practitioner.

I now consider a more effective use of my time and coaching skills to be that of writing this blog, and a book on self-coaching.