From the Toolbox: Do you give advice to your Clients? - International Coaching Federation
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From the Toolbox: Do you give advice to your Clients?

Posted by Teri-E Belf and Michael Marx | January 15, 2015 | Comments (381)

Core Competency #1: Meeting Ethical Guidelines and Professional Standards
Understanding of coaching ethics and standards and ability to apply them appropriately in all coaching situations.

Your coaching client is exploring options regarding a dilemma. She asks point blank, “So, what do you think I should do?” This column examines possible replies from different perspectives: neuroscience, coaching ethics, dual roles and liability.

Engaging the Whole Brain

As coaches, we believe that clients have their own answers and the role of the coach is to create a space for the client’s wisdom to emerge. Giving advice detracts from the client’s autonomy. When a coach gives advice, the client owns less of the solution. Without this ownership there is less accountability. As 2009 research on the relationship between financial advice and decision-making by Jan B. Engelmann, C. Monica Capra, Charles Noussair and Gregory S. Berns illustrates, the brain ”offloads” while it is taking in advice. The brain goes into neutral and the actual advice does not embed in the neocortex while the advice is being given. As a consequence, ownership might happen later or not happen at all. As coaches, we want our clients’ brains to be fully engaged! By giving advice, we appeal mostly to the rational parts of the brain. However, to fully engage the client, the emotive and sensory parts of the brain should also be involved in the decision-making process. Without a fully engaged brain, the likelihood that the client will make an unethical decision increases dramatically.

As a professional you might function as a coach, an individual person or an expert. When you have expertise in a particular area, and are asked for your opinion, you can make general comments without giving specific advice to the client. For example, Dalia Nakar, PCC, a Retirement Coach, tells her clients, “This is how I have seen this done before,” “I have heard it happen that people can … and the result was positive,” or, “I am aware that sometimes people do it (this way) and others (that way).” Continue to make it a learning experience in which the client can gain awareness and take ownership. For example, you might ask, “What does this reveal to you that you were not aware of before?” or, “How is this information (or perspective) useful to you?”

Navigating Dual Roles

As professional coaches, we should ask ourselves whether giving a client advice comes from a motivation to serve the best interests of the client or to satisfy our own ego. Everyone likes to feel respected for having given a worthwhile opinion, and nothing in the ICF Code of Ethics specifically says you may not give advice to clients. However, the ICF Code of Ethics does ask you to check for relationship conflicts that result from dual roles. It is inappropriate, confusing and may even be unethical to switch roles during a coaching conversation. People in dual roles need to pay more attention to the partnership to ensure clear boundaries.

Dilemma: Frank
Frank works as an internal coach practitioner and human resources manager. He has just been informed that his company is planning to lay off some people in a few months and some of the layoffs include his clients. Does Frank wear his coach’s hat or his HR hat? Does he have to withdraw as the coach? What is his company’s protocol for this conflict? Even though you, as the coach, are clear about your two roles, it may be confusing to the client. The role you are playing should always be clear to the client.

If your client asks for your recommendations, remember to thank him or her for being interested in your opinion. Explain that as a coach you do not give advice. Help the client explore resources by partnering in a brainstorming conversation to generate a list of possible ways to proceed and kinds of people who can offer what is needed. This list might also include you, either as a layperson or as an expert. If you agree to give your opinion as a layperson or expert, have this conversation in a different location and at a different time from that of the coaching meeting. Be very clear that you are responding as an individual person, not in your role as a professional coach.

Example: Sophia
Sophia, a public administrator, told her coach that she had a very important meeting that would decide the fate of her program. She knew her coach had been a manager and taught a course in strategic meeting management, so she asked for a few strategic tips. Sophia’s coach proposed these three steps:

1) First, she would coach her regarding this situation.

2) A week later, in a separate meeting, she would serve
as a consultant and provide tips. This consulting meeting would be governed by a new contract, separate from the coaching agreement.

3) She would ask Sophia to evaluate the difference between the two meetings in terms of value and effectiveness in the short and long term.

Sophia agreed to take these steps, and she reported that the most useful time was when she was coached. She said, “I learned how to think for myself about issues that were important to me. I learned the importance of including others in my dilemmas. In the long term, coaching was definitely more helpful than consulting.”

Dilemma: Marcella
Marcella, a financial planner and credentialed coach, was coaching Anne, who had been focusing on assuming responsibility for her financial management. The conversation turned to the feasibility of socially responsible investing. Anne asked Marcella which company was a solid one for socially responsible investments. A few weeks later, Marcella and Anne met with the purpose of exchanging financial investment information. After Marcella shared her suggestions, Anne followed her investment advice and lost money. Will Anne remember that Marcella, the coach, gave her the information, or Marcella, the financial planner?

It may not be part of our job to give advice, yet it is part of the misconception and the myth that a coach is also a consultant. If you give advice or your opinion, be sure to explore how it fits with your client’s values, assumptions and perspectives. Don’t just state your advice. Reflect on whether your motive for giving advice is your need to give it or the client’s need to hear it. Ensure that if the client chooses to act, the gut and heart have been included in the considerations, not just the head.

A Note on Liability

Even though you might do your best to be clear when you are not responding as a coach, the client’s memories and perceptions can still become distorted. Be aware that when you respond as a professional, you assume liability. Even if a client perceives that you gave advice—regardless of whether you did or not—he might hold you liable for any action he takes. Your job is to help the client increase awareness and responsibility.

So the next time your client says, “What do you think I should do?” pause and reflect before you reply.

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Teri-E Belf and Michael Marx

Teri-E Belf, MCC has been a purposeful coaching leader since 1987, offering personal and professional coaching, coach training, and mentoring on five continents. She is the founder and director for Success Unlimited Network®, which offers ICF-approved coach-specific training rooted in life purpose and spirituality. She is the author of Coaching With Spirit (Pfeiffer, 2007) and Facilitating Life Purpose (Purposeful Press, 2005) and coauthor, with Charlotte Ward, of Simply Live it Up (revised edition, Purposeful Press, 1997). Teri-E initiated and chaired the first ICF Accreditation, Credentialing and Continuing Education Committee, which established the foundation for the coaching profession. Contact Teri-E at and learn more at and Michael Marx, Ed.D., PCC specializes in Executive, Business and Life Coaching, and has devoted himself to the advancement of the coaching industry, with an emphasis on the ethics of the coaching practice. His enthusiasm for the subject brought him to write the forthcoming Ethics and Risk Management for Christian Coaches (Christian Coach Media Group). He also leads ICF’s Ethics Community of Practice. Michael is a Certified Professional Life Coach through the Professional Christian Coaching Institute, where he now teaches ethics. He is a Certified Professional Christian Coach through the Christian Coaches Network International, and is currently president of that organization.  Michael earned a doctorate in adult education from Regent University and an MBA from the University of Louisiana at Monroe. Learn more at   The views and opinions expressed in guest posts featured on this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions and views of the International Coach Federation (ICF). The publication of a guest post on the ICF Blog does not equate to an ICF endorsement or guarantee of the products or services provided by the author.

The views and opinions expressed in guest posts featured on this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions and views of the International Coach Federation (ICF). The publication of a guest post on the ICF Blog does not equate to an ICF endorsement or guarantee of the products or services provided by the author.

Additionally, for the purpose of full disclosure and as a disclaimer of liability, this content was possibly generated using the assistance of an AI program. Its contents, either in whole or in part, have been reviewed and revised by a human. Nevertheless, the reader/user is responsible for verifying the information presented and should not rely upon this article or post as providing any specific professional advice or counsel. Its contents are provided “as is,” and ICF makes no representations or warranties as to its accuracy or completeness and to the fullest extent permitted by applicable law specifically disclaims any and all liability for any damages or injuries resulting from use of or reliance thereupon.

Comments (381)

  1. John White says:


    I found this article very thought provoking and useful.

    Thank you

  2. Stephen March says:

    Trust is at the root of a solid coaching relationship. Attention to ethical boundaries and ethical questions is critical to maintaining that trust. Exploring questions near the fringes helps clarify.

  3. Thanks for this great reminder…especially of the issue that if I respond as a professional (vs. Coach), I can be held liable for the client’s action. I will pause and reflect before I answer that ‘What is your advice’ question.
    Thanks Teri-E and Michael for the work you do.

    • says:

      Pat, I agree. Because we are professionals, self-awareness is very important. We should remember that others expect us to be professionals. I am of the belief that if someone asks for advice it is not my answer they are seeking. What I have learned is that the true essences of such a question is for the individual to discover possibilities from their own voice. This is a great reminder for me to keep my knowingness out the way of lasting discovery.

  4. I love both the perspectives that you’ve provided and options of how to respond to the client when asked for advice. It can be an ego boost to be asked and thank you for reminding us about how a client’s brain is engaged (or not) as we coach vs. other avenues of ‘help’.

  5. Doug Galloway says:

    It is imperative to clarify which hat you are wearing if you are playing two roles of coach and consultant. And ensure your client understands which hat you are wearing. This can be a struggle if you try to wear multiple hats in the same meeting. It is also,important to clarify in the contracting process regarding if you will perform more than me role and also address the issue of liability.

  6. Cathy Liska says:

    The examples are such a great way to present the information and how to apply it – thanks!

  7. Thank you for helping us to keep our Ethics fresh, present and clear as we do our work.

  8. michael says:

    Hi there,
    Having just listened to the ICF ethics talk, I see that you Teri state that you have “been a purposeful coaching leader since 1987, offering personal and professional coaching, coach training, and mentoring on five continents. ”

    Since ICF wasn’t founded until 1995….how do you reconcile the 8 years difference between the two in terms of the ICF definition of coaching and what you would say you were doing in 1987 since the ICF definition didn’t exist yet?

    • Michael:
      Good catch. Truth is that Teri is one of the pillars of the coaching industry in my opinion.
      IOW, her experience as a professional coach pre-dates ICF. In fact, she was the very first person to ever receive the MCC designation.
      Much of the Ethics which has been formed within ICF has been done with Teri’s help and guidance.
      ~ Michael Marx
      ICF Global Ethics Community of Practice Leader

  9. VS Kumar says:

    Respected Teri, Mr. Michael Marx,

    Thanks for the insights and case studies shared l The revised code of ethics , the tool designed for providing clarity on same is valued and appreciated. Good.

    VS Kumar

  10. Cherrie D says:

    Great thought provoking insights.

  11. Joanna Antkiewicz says:

    This article should be a must read for all who are managing internal coaching practicies. Much appreciated and will be shared with others ! Thank You!

  12. Yvan Dion says:

    Very good article: short, precise, good examples and scenarios. Gave me lots to reflect on as my business is both coaching and mediation (yes, the dreaded “dual hats”). Very useful. Merci !

  13. Michael Pomije says:

    I thoroughly enjoyed this article.
    It will help me with my clients and knowledge base.

    Best regards,
    Michael Pomije, PCC

  14. The article was valuable. It was clear and relevant
    It provided a useful compass for action as a coach.

  15. Excellent article! It gives many clear answers and different perspectives. Is it possible to find this article elsewhere? Can we use it in coach training?

  16. Fabian Orue says:

    Great and clear article…!! I A very thin line….separating our own thougths and perceptions from the ones of our clients. And this is indeed something to constantly be mindful about. Thank you…!!

  17. Charles says:

    Thank you, very usefull and clear examples. Inviting the client to look and see rather than giving advice! It’s true in all relationships. Once you start to approach your children this way, one empowers the child from within. That’s also powerful

  18. Maureen Gill says:

    Thanks for dealing with the difficulties of how to handle two roles.

  19. Ann says:

    Thank you for presenting the revised code of ethics in such an interesting format. I appreciate the examples provided here and it reconfirms for me the importance of clarifying ones role and liability at the contracting phase.

  20. Arlene Quinn says:

    Thanks for this clear article. Ethics is very important to me as a professional coach and my other worlds of training, facilitation. I am also bound be legislation as a Registered Nurse. It is valuable to reflect on each example and question what might I do is in a similar situation – well done thanks.

  21. Nancy says:

    An excellent article and one to read yearly as a reminder!

  22. France Wagner says:

    Thank you for this clear article ! As professional we have to be reminded on a regular basis. Our credibility as a coach is so important !

  23. Thank you very much this was most useful. The article helped to clarify grey areas

  24. Nancy says:

    Thank you very much for the article that helps with grey areas. To make sure we invite our clients to explore what they want to do instead of us giving them advice on what to do.

    Ethics is a very important part of building the trust in the relationship with the client. It helps them feel safe to explore and create new ideas. As the coach it is important that I realize my role and this was a great reminder.

  25. A very relevant article. Found the examples and the insights on ethics that we need to use as coaches very useful…especially the last line, when client asks advice, reflect !! Thank you Teri and Michael..Mohana Kotian

  26. Ray says:

    Thank-you for the article; I found it very informative. It gave me great examples of how to separate consulting from coaching.

  27. A definite pause is required. The examples are so relevant that applying them to our practise becomes simple & useful. The note on liability is very important for our “awareness to be mindful.”
    Thank you Teri & Michael for the insight.

  28. Suzanne says:

    Thank you for your clear exemples. This help us to clarify unconfortable situation.

  29. Judy Krings says:

    Really engaged the scenarios and thanks much!

  30. Thanks for clear examples, like coach is very important to reinforce idea to help the client increase awareness and responsibility, useful practical indication to according different space and time within coaching and consulting, different contract.

  31. Hi Teri and Michael, I found this article very interesting.
    Thanks so much for it and your intention to support our continue development

    Thanks so much again


  32. A phrase from my Results coach training comes up for me here….”let the client do the work, let the client do the work, let the client do the work!” And yes clients taking ownership for their own learning has such longevity to the changes they make, actions they take to ensure goal achievement – and their results and emotional journey married hand in hand can nurture their ‘being’ as the experiential ‘ah-ha’ moments are very powerful indeed. So, all up, minimise advice, maximise coaching.

  33. Kimberly Lufman - Sydney AUS says:

    Great article. I really like the case studies and perspectives shared here, its very important for our work and you wrote it in such an accessible way. Thanks!

  34. Gurudath says:

    I really liked the way this article brought out the conflicts that we can encounter as Coaches. Generally, before starting a coaching assignment, I actively tell myself that I will avoid a conflict of giving advice. But after now, I know where and how those conflicts can come up and more importantly, I am better equipped to handle those such situations when they creep up.

  35. Thank you for stating ‘ethics’ so clearly in the film and this article. People do ask me straight out whether I’m a psychologist or counselor, here in the Netherlands. The knowledge about the differences between the different professions is not wide spread. And choaching is not seen as a separate profession. Often coaching periods are a mix of counseling, coaching and support through a diffrerent kind of profession like intercedent work. Seeing this now for a while I like it very much my ICF has the Ethics so clearly and it helps me to be clear to my prospective and current clients. Personally the case about ‘referral commision’ and sharing of ‘hear say’ felt odd. Thanks!

  36. Dear Teri and Michael

    Just great reading. I have just been listening to the ICF etics talk and your “advice” gives great information about “not giving advice”.
    It was very interesting to read about whats going on in our brain, when we are offering advice.
    The Sopia example with the 3 steps were also very good. Furthermore the examples to separate coaching from consulting were very beneficial.
    So in the future be 200 % aware when somebody are asking “so what do you think I should do?”

  37. Trish Neill says:

    I am so pleased to come across such this article. It is so useful to consider the dilemmas presented here. I do hope there will be more articles like this.

  38. Kathy Harman says:

    What a great answer to “Should I give my client’s advice?” Clearly stated, and the examples bring the theory to life. I’m going to recommend this to every coach who asks me if it’s OK to give their clients advice.

  39. Thank you. This article is a helpful reminder of how to handle ourselves when asked for advice.

  40. LENI MATHEWS says:

    Thank you for sharing these articles. It helps reaffirm how to be a great coach with a whole brain client focused coaching approach. This can often be a challenging arena in corporate coaching.

  41. Dear Teri-E and Michael,

    Thank you for reinforcing this essential premise of our coaching practices. It is meaningful to understand this in the light of neuroscience, connecting with a whole brain coaching approach.
    I also appreciated the distinction of navigating while occupying dual roles. The various possible answers suggested in response to “What do you think I should I do?” are most helpful.

  42. Dear Teri-E and Michael,
    Thanks for the clarity, the opening of the answers with references to scientific research, to our role as a coach and especially the reference value of the service that we shall divide offer the coachee

  43. Aury Beltran says:

    Thank you both for the rational and the emotional examples of the coaching situations.
    Greetings from Puerto Rico!

  44. Johane Verdier says:

    So necessary to have articles like these. They are Thought provoking
    Commin sense using logic are not the only qualities when we coach.
    So happy to be part if the ICF
    Thank you

  45. This article is such a great reminder of the science of why it is better to engage our clients in thought provoking discussion rather than giving them our answers/advice!

    Very valuable.

  46. Thank you so much for this article. I loved all of it; more specifically to learn on how to brain react to advices. I truly appreciate being able to connect science to principles.

  47. Prem Kamath says:

    This used to be a dilemma for me when I was transiting from being a leadership development consultant after 5 years to become an executive coach 5 years ago. I like the conceptual framework of ‘Blended Coaching’ which does allow you to very sensitively handle the kinds of dilemmas presented in this blog/article. As a consultant you are expected by the client to ‘tell’ whereas as a coach you have to always ‘ask’…as I continue to be a consultant, I have found it a much better approach to ‘ask’ evocative questions to convey what I used to ‘tell’ when I was only a consultant; I believe that it now gets the client that I consult with to also participate in the thinking process.

  48. Ruchika Sethi says:

    Having been both the Head of HR as well as an internal/external coach, I found the article to be very insightful. Thanks.

  49. Dear Teri-E and Michael,

    Thank you so much for this insightful, thought provoking and very useful article !
    I particularly loved the dual roles/ potential conflicts of interest part and the many examples of reinforcing client awareness and mutual trust by not giving advice !

    Best from Paris

  50. Ana Mc Loughlin says:

    Thank you for this article. It is very useful and thought provoking. I love to have mini cases and dilemmas to review and think about. Frank dilemma is a very tough one, specially if, as is often the case in small HR departments, he ends up responsible for the communication of the layoffs.
    Thank you Teri and Michael.

    PS: I couldnt find ICF values in the Codeof Ethics.

  51. Guillermo Currielche says:

    Very good article. Ethics is something that needs to be in front of every coach

  52. Jerry says:

    Thank you so much for the Article. I am always in this situation as I work as “Agile Coach” (Working with software development teams) and almost all the time the people look at me for “solutions”. I try to balance the Coaching Vs Consulting talks and learnt the trick little bit (I can say so).

    Again I find Trust plays an important factor in this discussions.

    Once Again thank you so much for the wonderful article.

  53. Kathleen Hogan says:

    Merci beaucoup pour le vidéo et le texte. Les deux outils ont été forts intéresants

  54. Ed Grosso says:

    I loved looking at Ethics through multiple perspectives. It adds a great deal to the clarity of this vital subject. Thanks

  55. Ian Sellick says:

    Very timely refresher and offers a fresh perspective. Adds to clarity and was interesting!

  56. Karen Oliver says:

    Many thanks for a very interesting article. The examples and questions increase awareness and highlight in a practical way the importance of Ethical Guidelines in all coaching situations.

  57. Other than the reminder about how to handle the expert v coach dilemma, I was delighted to see writing that brings in neuroscience. As a Lead Trainer in a Brain Based Coaching Program for many years, I teach what happens in the brain when we come to our own insight as compared to being advised on a course of action. Once I learnt about the differences in our brain’s activity when coming to insight compared to just receiving a viewpoint from a coach, I now see how little value advice really has. Great article, thanks!

  58. Lav says:

    Very interesting and well written article. And glad to reaffirm my belief in separating coaching from consulting or advising.

  59. Maria says:

    I agree with Lav. It is a vital element of a good coaching practice.

  60. LILIANA says:

    Thanks for the clear examples, and for this interesting and well written article.

  61. Thanks for the timely and helpful information. Coaches must separate coaching from consulting.

  62. Hye Yeon, Kim says:

    The article reminds me once more coaching’s fundamental ethic and role. Thank you very much.

  63. Barb Girson says:

    Thank you for this thought-provoking article. Giving advice is the easy way out for the coach and client. This article illustrates this point well. With the explanation that the the brain offloads and goes into neutral when taking in advice and the client is not fully engaged, it is a strong reminder to refrain from dispensing solutions.

    I also appreciated the recommendations on how to respond when a client asks for advice such as:
    1. Thanking them for asking
    2. Respond with general experience or how other’s have done things
    3. Help to extend the client learning after engaging in brainstorming together for answers by asking how and where else the information will be helpful to them.

    Thanks again for this article. A worthwhile read!

  64. David Waggoner says:

    Great message!

    I work as an external and internal coach. The lines of Advice Giving often blur. Always a great reminder to be crystal clear to our clients in what context we are responding. The more communication the better. Leave nothing to chance.

    Thank you! David

  65. Padmini says:

    Being a coach is not easy. It requires a certain degree of effacement of one’s ego – to set aside one’s views and one’s need to to be in the space of knowing. Coaching practice definitely can bring about a great degree of emotional maturityto the coach!

  66. Gultekin Dogan says:

    Hello there,
    I would like to thank my distinguished colleagues for telling the difference between coaching and advice in a simple and clear way.
    This article has not allowed me to remember my 10 years of professional coaching memories and my own success.
    In my coaching, I would like to do 2 applications from the customer when I recommend it.
    1- … who can help you in this regard by telling you about your experiences? (brainstorming)
    2- I practice my “mentoring table” which is a coaching technique.

    It will make me happy to be fascinated by these practices. With love,

  67. roz says:

    Thanks for clear examples, like coach is very important to reinforce idea to help the client increase awareness and responsibility, useful practical indication to according different space and time within coaching and consulting, different contract.

  68. Otto Siegel says:

    This is very helpful and thought provoking! I loved the clear and concise language.

  69. Maria Vieira says:

    Very clear and precise position to maintain in alignment with the Code. Thank you.

  70. Sophia Schweitzer says:

    Thank you for this clear article. I especially appreciated the learning available in the real-life dilemma examples. And the reminder about the fully engaged brain for effective decision making. Thank you.

  71. Beth Green says:

    Teri, I just listened to your discussion on ethics and read this article – you are still the wise sage! I sincerely appreciate your wisdom and commitment to the profession of coaching.

  72. Marjorie Melzer says:

    Thank you Teri and Michael. This is a very thought-provoking article. I love the part where you talk about how the brain offloads and goes into neutral when taking in advice and the client is not fully engaged. The advise regarding how to respond when asked for advise is very insightful and helpful. I would appreciate seeing more such articles. Thanks again.

  73. Udayakumar Gopalakrishnan says:

    I found this article, extremely insightful. Since I play the two different roles of being a Consultant & Coach, while partnering a few corporate clients, in my professional practice, this learning helps me to pay more attention to the aspect of not rendering advice, while donning the Coach’s cap. Going forward, this serves as a reinforcement and caution to be more careful to distinguish & clarify to my clients. I resolve to practice an approach of seeking a separate meeting context and location, to provide consulting support and ensure to communicate and maintain the boundaries. Thanks ICF, for helping me sustain this clarity.

  74. Raffaele Costanzo says:

    Thank you for this article and for keeping high the attention on ethics in coaching. I found it’s really true that giving advices may give personal satisfaction to the coach and, only apparently, be in the interest of the client. IN my experience, looking at the coaching effectiveness, it’s clear that giving advices is much less powerful for clients’ developement than increasing awareness and responsibility: this is the way to do it. Thank you again.

  75. Thanks so much for sharing this.

  76. Cecilia Gromark says:

    It was worthful to follow all comments and the clearifying it gaves about giving advice. Thanks a lot

  77. Mary Allen says:

    Appreciate this article immensely!!! Especially loved the experiment of giving a client two different ways to receive support — and discovered the “coaching” was more powerful than the “consulting” advice.

  78. Jagdish Kini says:

    Thank you for the inputs, very relevant and thought provoking. Thank you the insight that with advise we take on the liability. The video also was very informative.

    Thank you >>>>Jagdish

  79. Janet Humdy Morrison says:

    Great reminder and good information about what goes on in the brain.

  80. Diane Dreher says:

    Great reminder! As coaches, we want to support our clients in finding their own answers and connecting with their power.

  81. Hanna Sedal says:

    Thanks a lot for charing examples. They are useful reminders. And thanks for all the important work that helps keeping the ICF’s ethical standard high and well known to all ICF certiied coaches.

  82. Love this article a lot. The example makes readers easily related to our work.
    Thanks for sharing.

  83. Appreciate the thoughtfulness and languaging that was used in this article. I have found myself having to share these messages with clients in past years. I am very grateful for the clarity expressed in this article. Thank you – great language with great clarity for a constant reminder of how we show up as coaches and professionals.

  84. says:

    Merci de ce rappel. il est très important que le coach et le caoché sachent tous les deux.. quelle casquette vous portez. Celle ce conseiller ou celle de coach. Clarifier la relation et la posture est essentielle. Au delà des soucis juridiques et éthiques évidents, la clarification de la posture est une aide à la qualité de la relation entre le coach et son client.

  85. Thanks for this interesting and necessary article. I now have much more clarity about the standards of ethics as a coach. This is a daily challenge for me and this article provides me real examples that will help me to be a better coach. Congratulations! It would be useful if ICF create a CCE longer course on this subject in the future.

  86. says:

    Thank you; very interesting article providing realistic, typical dilemmas.

  87. says:

    Very informative and thought provoking article. My awareness of potential ethical conflicts has been heightened as a result of the information provided here. Thanks so much for your work in this regard!

  88. Clara Beleiro says:

    Thank you very much for sharing these examples. Clear, to the point, easy to relate with and nice to refer coaching students to. Regards

  89. Helen says:

    Practical and useful both video and article, many tks!

  90. says:

    Great article and very useful especially for those of us who stradle an advisory and coaching role.

  91. Patty Chan says:

    A great article for me to create a greater awareness how to perform our roles “appropriately” in our daily situations.

  92. Luca Barcellini says:

    Very interesting article, thank you. Let me add a comment on a strange opposite situation that could be confusing too. Sometimes a coachee, even if the coach did not provide any advice, he/she got the feeling to recive it… It could happen that the coachee confuses their own insights with advices coming from the coach, it happens more easily when coachee is particularly poor in self confidence and he/she is not able to recognize the value of own discovery. In that case coach should underline he/she got the insight indipendently and celebrate the valuable results. Enjoy your coaching!

  93. says:

    Thank you for keeping this information in front of the community. The content in the article is what makes learning from each other relevant. I am reminded of the words of Judith E. Glaser, “words matter”. In addition, I have heard, “it is not just what you said but how you said it.” I agree that, if we want to connect with others, we must meet people at the feeling and thinking part of the brain and know the power our trusting energy. When we give advice, we take away positive energy. I enjoy understanding the advantage of shared learning.

  94. says:

    I have appreciated this article for the way it highlights very well the importance of helping the client increase awareness and responsibility, despite her waiting an advice from the coach.
    It is wise to remind the commuty that the client might hold us liable for any action he takes, might she perceive that we gave advice, regardless of whether we did or not.

  95. says:

    Roles clarification is a key in a relation with the client. Role can be changed but it must be confirmed, clearly announced and executed.

  96. says:

    I really like how each of these do go back to having a clear agreement with our clients even outside the coaching arena. To spend time with our clients in this way inside and outside coaching is not only wise but continues to bring value to the relationship also included in other coaching core competencies.

  97. says:

    merci cela a été très éclairant

  98. says:

    Great article! Perspectives here are very useful as a coach.

  99. says:

    Great article! Thank you.

  100. says:

    Loved the article as well as the video. The case studies were telling and brought home the point of what a fine line we coaches have to walk. Much of it is common sense which alas isn’t so common.

    I loved the connection to neuroscience and what happens when the client brings all of their being to their thinking.

    Thank you!

  101. Stephanie Jo Gomez says:

    The timing of this read could not be better to reinforce behavior. I just got off a coaching call earlier today where I had to navigate between internal coach and consultant. I paused, I chose carefully, I thought about stating, “I’m going to take off my coaching hat for a minute.” I paused some more and dove into more questioning. I eventually took off the coaching hat, offered a different perspective that I’ve seen done and then moved into questioning, asking the client to identify pros and cons, etc. … ultimately allowing the client to make a decision on the approach and truly understand the “why” behind it. Thank you for writing and sharing!

  102. says:

    After reading this article yesterday, I was challenged by a client today who wanted my opinion on her situation.
    I was pleased to be equipped to answer without giving my opinion on her situation, explaining to her that we had different life experience and culture so that my opinion should not be important for her.
    I also reminded her that she had (shortly before this question) decided to live her own life without following pressure from others.

  103. says:

    It is a great combination of information and application. It clearly enfatize our prime obligations as Coaches and the right way to change the rol to give an advice knowing the consequences in regard of responsibilities.

    Sincerely, Maribel

  104. says:

    Thanks, very helpful and useful!

  105. says:

    Thank you so for for the opportunity to think one more time about this important issue.

    I think it would be interessing and useful if you wirte an article distiguishing “giving advice” from “partnering braintorm”


    Thais Brito Catalano

  106. Audrey says:

    Great article, thank you!

  107. says:

    Very good article. Serves as a reminder to be more mindful when asked by a coaching client “What would you do” . Checking our egos and intention can reinforce those boundaries.

  108. says:

    really good examples and cases. inspiring.

  109. says:

    Interesting case,

  110. says:

    Very informative article!

  111. says:

    This article is a great refresher, as well as offering examples from different perspectives as I continue to gain experience as a coach. Thanks!

  112. Allen Mubaiwa says:

    Very informative. I liked the balance view to offering advice. As a coach it is prudent not to offer advice.

  113. says:

    Very informative and provides good examples to clarify the actual implementation of the concepts. Thank you

  114. says:

    Great examples! These things happen at all times in our day to day and we do not always reflect on the points/details addressed. The ease in giving an opinion is tempting. Fortunately, having this foundation helps us to be better coaches and not consultants!

  115. says:

    Muchas gracias por el artículo, nos da claridad en el ejercicio de nuestro rol como coaches, bien claro el acompañar a reflexionar y dar el consejo.

  116. says:

    Great article, concrete situations. It reinforces the importance to distinguish between coaching and consulting/providing advice.

  117. says:

    Great article, thank you! Clear and concrete. It is very helpful to think about the situations mentioned.

  118. says:

    Most helpful and a great reminder of my responsibilities as a professional coach. Especially helpful is the emphasis on clarity of understanding between coach & client. Thank you for this learning opportunity.

  119. says:

    Very enlightening! thank you for this opportunity. PI

  120. Massimo says:

    Thank you very much, great article, clear and helpful!

  121. says:

    Very interesting and a great reminder!

  122. says:

    Thank you for clearly understanding my role and responsibilities as a professional coach!

  123. says:

    Thank you for clearly understanding my role as a professional coach!

  124. says:

    this is really interesting…remind me how important it is.

  125. Muchas gracias por compartir este artículo con ejemplos tan prácticos,

  126. says:

    Great article and reminder that to maximize the engagement with the client we as coaches through the emotive and relational channels. I love the insights on how the brain works to inform clients as they explore options.

  127. says:

    Quite valuable.

  128. says:

    Non è facile non incorrere nell’errore di fornire “consigli” ricorrendo alle nostre esperienze vissute soprattutto quando la situazione che ci viene presentata ci risulta familiare.
    Grazie per le indicazioni fornite su come bisogna rimanere concentrati sul ruolo che si ricopre.

  129. says:

    Very interesting article. I do believe that coaching (asking good questions) is more effective than counseling or giving advice. Many ask me to help them to move from management to leadership and although it is much easier to provide them with the information (ie how to become a leader), it is of great use to ask them: “according to you what is the difference between a manager and a leader?”, “what makes great leadership?” etc…and surprisingly they come with the right answers!

  130. Tor Harstrup says:

    To me the most clarifying part in this article was about the brains neocortex ‘offloads’ while it is taking advice and how we also need to involve the emotive and sensory in the learning and dessision making proces. Furthermore the examples of how to turn provided information into learning experiences in wish the client can gain awareness and take ownership.

  131. says:

    Thanks for the valuable reminder that when I’m giving advice my client’s brain is, basically, disconnected! I also appreciate the attention the authors paid to making clear distinctions which “hat” I’m wearing if functioning in a dual role.

  132. says:

    Thank you for sharing this valuable information and excellent examples of possible situations coaches may encounter. I particularly appreciated the information on how the brain “offloads” and goes into neutral while taking in advice which compromises what we as coaches are wanting for our clients.

  133. says:

    Great reminder to be conscious of the roles we are in and very much liked the point that even if we are clear in our roles as a coach vs. consulting, the client may not be and can feel confused.

  134. says:

    Succinct and apt to be conscious about Coach’s role.

  135. says:

    Great point… however you intend to frame it (as consultant vs. as coach) the client will remember it the way they remember it.. and if there’s a loss involved, it will have an emotional anchor to boot! Thank you!

  136. Alyse Ashton says:

    Thank you – great power in the data that the brain “offloads” when receiving advice and it doesn’t embed in the neo-cortex.

  137. says:

    Thank you. very interesting and helpful

  138. says:

    Thank you! Interesting stuff about the brain and what it activates on.

  139. says:

    Great article, concrete and clarifying examples. Thank you!

  140. says:

    Thank you for this informaiton on Ethics. It is a constant reminder to me of the boundaries I need to adhere to as a professional coach.

  141. says:

    Thank you, very helpful reminders

  142. says:

    Thank you so much for this insightful article. The issues you discussed reminded me of the exercise I put in my book “Today is Your Day:Coaching from This Moment On” (America Star Books, 2014) about limits and boundaries. Knowing which hat to wear during a coaching situation helps us to “put down an anchor” for reference and determine our “longitude and latitude” for appropriate and effective coaching. This article and the issues you raised are ongoing benchmark, brainstorming considerations.

  143. says:

    Thank you for this highly interesting article. It was very insightful and helpful indeed.

  144. says:

    Fantastic Article! Very Helpful!

  145. partha says:

    a great source of information …very simple practices yet deep in practice…being independent and making the client responsible for their outcomes.

  146. says:

    The article was a good review and reminder of professionalism.
    Dr. Carol McCall

  147. says:

    Great reminders – such as the brain’s true ability to be engaged during times when advice is or isn’t present

  148. says:

    A very helpful and thought-provoking article. I often find that individuals who request coaching are looking for a “fix” to a specific problem. This article reminds me to clarify the relationship as often as needed and to stay in the lane the individual agrees that he or she really wants from our relationship.

  149. says:

    excellent paper!! very useful and revealing. thanks a lot! Liliana

  150. says:

    The insights are relevant and useful reminders for corporate coaches. Indeed it is not easy for those who wear doubled hats!

  151. Paola Hermosilla says:

    Really helpful all these “refresh” Ethics content, thanks you for making me aware of all these subtle non-ethical situations, sometimes difficult to distinguish and decide on. Clear now to me, first thing to do: think, then respond the client.

  152. says:

    I avoid stepping outside my coaching role but am sometimes asked to to my business experience outside coaching, I really like the approach articulated to get around this – not to mention the neuroscience around the brain “offloading”. This is a great way of explaining why it’s not a good idea to clients. Thank you.

  153. says:

    I agree with Paola:

    Really helpful, Ethics content, thanks you for making me aware of all these subtle non-ethical situations, sometimes difficult to distinguish and decide on Coaching or Consulting. Clear now to me, first thing to do: think, then respond the client.

  154. says:

    The 3 scenarios allowed me to think of situations in my own practice where I act as Coach or Consultant.

  155. says:

    Great insights for me, as an internal coach to be aware of and learning that the brain “offloads” when given advice.

  156. says:

    Thank you for the very informative article!

  157. says:

    Thank you. Very helpful. I love clarity!

  158. says:

    Thank you. Very clear and useful.

  159. Jan West says:

    A very helpful and clear reminder of the potential for confusion in the roles of coach and consultant. Thank you!

  160. says:

    I particularly like the examples of how to navigate dual roles. I have had clients ask for advice in my areas of expertise and have used the, “let’s coach first and set up another meeting for consulting,” or “let’s coach first and see what emerges.” A new addition for me will be to have the client reflect on the difference of the two interactions. Thank you for that! Also appreciate the learning about the brain “offloading” when we give advices.

  161. says:

    Congratulations is a good article, clear and with great context

  162. Rajiv Sawant says:

    Excellent article, it has given us the insight that when we accept the assignment of coaching, we should focus only on coaching and no other business like advising consulting. We cant be become emotional and bias for any reason during the tenure of coaching. Thanks a lot, really useful and thought provoking article

  163. Daniela Ferdeghini says:

    coaching others is an act of responsibility. Our responsibility is to crate a frame where the coachee can develop his potential. this is not possibile giving advice. Thank you for these important awareness

  164. says:

    Great article and shows some good scenarios for how people may incorrectly view coaching. They often think we have all the answers so it is important to set that straight at the beginning of the session.

  165. says:

    Thanks Teri-E Belf and Michael Marx for a fantastic article on the ethical perspectives of our coaching profession.

  166. says:

    Very clear and insightful. And a big thank you for helping me to keep my Ethics awarenss fresh, present in the forefront of my mind and clear as I do my coaching work. MCG

  167. says:

    very helpful. Bein an academic and a consultant, not giving advice is something I really concentrace on when coaching.

  168. says:

    This is an excellent reminder to those of us who consider ourselves “experienced coaches”. We must continually remind ourselves of our ethical responsibilities and boundaries. Commitment should not be seen solely as to ourselves, but colleagues, clients and our industry. Barbara Tolliver-Haskins

  169. says:

    Very clear and insightful. Thanks!

  170. says:

    Thanks for this short but very illuminating article…. sometimes the borders between ethic and slightly too flexible interpretation can confuse ! I appreciated a lot the examples.

  171. says:

    This article provides a clear guideline when we as a coach are in a dual role situation. We can easily give advises just to satisfy our own ego, not for the best interest of our clients. The article reminds us of the importance of self-awareness.

  172. Denise Manfredi says:

    The article helped me clarify subtle situations that, while not covered in the code of ethics, can arise situations that involve us in ethical problems. It helped me think of situations that might hold me responsible.

  173. says:

    Assisting our clients in getting the gut and heart involved in reaching their goals – not just their head. So important. Great article.

  174. says:

    Great article! Thank you very much!

  175. says:

    Really good article. Especially helpful in clarifying the difference between coaching and consulting.

  176. says:

    Thank you for sharing – Loved the connection to whole brain thinking.

    • says:

      Thank you for your insights and verbiage around responding to clients wanting to tap advice from their coach.

  177. Jan Elfline says:

    Thank you for a clear description of the ethical questions we are likely to encounter.

  178. says:

    I appreciated the point to remember: engage the client’s gut and heart – not just the head..

  179. says:

    Hi! Thank you! for bring more vision and panoramic contents of our ethics. I appreciated your experience!!.

  180. Paul Thome says:

    I really appreciated this article – each case study was both interesting and gave me some new ideas for times when clients are asking for advice or recommendation. Especially appreciated the one where the coach scheduled two separate sessions with whole different agreements governing them (coach/ consultant) and allowed the client to evaluate which was most valuable to them – GREAT idea and good ethical thinking.

  181. says:

    I particularly appreciated the reminder that where you do make a contribution to the client, that there is still room to explore what meaning it has for the client, how they can reflection on this piece of information through their own lens, and make appropriate use of it ( or of course discard it!)

  182. Un article fort intéressant. Merci beaucoup!!!

  183. THANKS for remember differences between helping and coaching.

  184. says:

    Very good reminders. Especially helpful to know the neuroscience explaining that the brain/neocortex goes “offline” when hearing advice. And the idea of setting up a separate meeting other than a coaching context if you decide to offer advise. Thank you!

  185. says:

    A very useful article to remind us of the coach’s mission. Thanks

  186. says:

    Great, thought-provoking article. I appreciate the call out on giving advice. It’s not never off-limits, but it needs to be done with clarity and separation between when coaching is taking place and when advising is taking place. I like the idea of having separate meetings with a client to make the distinction even stronger.

  187. says:

    great article!

  188. says:

    This was very informative, especially the part of assuming liability for professional advice

  189. very useful article and interesting dilemma!!!

  190. Francois says:

    Does this article exist in other languages than english ? It would hugely ease its reading.

    • Lisa Cunningham says:

      Hello, It does not currently exist in other languages, although you can use the language button on our website to translate the content for you. We will take your suggestion into consideration whenever we update the course. Thank you! Lisa, ICF Social Media Specialist

  191. says:

    Valuable insights on why, when and how to shift from coaching to advice. Useful reminder flag on the liability aspect.
    Thank you!

  192. says:

    Thank you ! Very valuable and interesting article.

  193. says:

    Very useful reminder. Thanks!

  194. says:

    Thank you for the information!

  195. Marie-Antoinette Attiyeh says:

    Thank you, It was a useful article.
    I liked the below paragraph and I will keep it between my papers.
    “The brain goes into neutral and the actual advice does not embed in the neocortex while the advice is being given. As a consequence, ownership might happen later or not happen at all. As coaches, we want our clients’ brains to be fully engaged! By giving advice, we appeal mostly to the rational parts of the brain. However, to fully engage the client, the emotive and sensory parts of the brain should also be involved in the decision-making process. Without a fully engaged brain, the likelihood that the client will make an unethical decision increases dramatically”.

    I usually answer if asked for an advice : ” what will be your advice to someone in your place? “, and it works every time, because the client can imagine his own situation and think as a third part.

  196. says:

    Thanks for the contents

  197. says:

    Thank you. This was helpful in bringing much more clarity on several aspects – which could be real life situations

  198. says:

    thanks for the content,it is very useful,in the process of coaching,it is always better to guide customers to think with their mind and heart than to give direct suggestions.

  199. says:

    I thought the article was extremely helpful
    Different hats need to be identified.

  200. says:

    What a great reminder of the sneaky pitfalls of advice and the very important reminder to always, always, be aware and cautious about the role you are in and the impact potentially on your client.

  201. says:

    I found the article very interesting because the examples show how we as coaches may overstep our boundaries because ethics is about grey areas (of dilemmas) where one is not sure of what step to take.

    My key take-aways were:
    The brain off-loads when advice is given hence engaging the emotive and sensory parts in decision making is necessary.
    Making sure that the client’s gut and the heart have been included,
    As a professional we assume liability. We should clearly understand our own motivation when giving advice.
    Sophia’s example very nicely demonstrates how for her coaching was more useful than consulting.
    Simple reiterates that as a coach my main job is to help the client increase awareness and responsibility.

    Thank you very much.

    Seeta Gupta Ph.D.

  202. says:

    Thank you for the article.

    I found the article as a reminder of the difference between advising and coaching, and being client-focused. It is also a reminder to create a separate agreement (meeting on a different day and time from coaching) from coaching when the client want you as a consultant to avoid the temptation to blur the two careers.

    Carol O’Meara, PCC
    Personal and Professional Coach

  203. says:

    The article is very helpful, thank you

  204. says:

    Thank You- it was very interesting to think specially those dual roles – how many hats you may have or use as a coach – and what kind of confusion it may cause in coachee´s mind. Must be careful with that.

  205. says:

    I love the closing statement…”our job is for the client to increase awareness and responsibility”…..a perfect reminder to keep us ethical.
    Thank you!

  206. says:

    There is a natural temptation to advice in normal conversations and meetings, letting the temptation to go is a wonderful thing to do for a coach.

    My key take away is to think of the impact when you advise, and this is when you will refrain from it.

    Nice article and easy comprehension.

    thank you.

  207. Thank you for the article. It is very useful.

  208. says:

    This article deepened my awareness of how to handle clients who ask for advice.
    Thank you. Estelle Kelly

  209. ANNA FAN says:

    Thank you !

    Very valuable and interesting article. IT HELPS

  210. says:

    Article is clear and useful. Examples explain easyly and very well some cases can appear in coaching relationship.
    An important tool for every coach want to stay in the path of ICF Ethic’s standards.
    Thank you for the article and the video on Ethics.

  211. says:

    Thanks very much ! We must control ouar ego of consultant 🙂

  212. says:

    A timely reminder for all coaches. Thank you.

  213. says:


  214. Nina Merer says:

    Thanks for refreshing my recollections about the crucial differences between asking and advising. Over the years – as a holistic health practitioner, health educator, clinical social worker, and coach – I have at different junctures consulted, counseled, or coached. I still find it intellectually challenging and stimulating – as well as critical – to practice the distinctions between them. I do so successfully, by continuing to remind myself about my current role, the client’s agenda, and the overall purpose of each interaction. I appreciate the support and clarity that your article provided, especially via examples. It rang true.

  215. says:

    As I read this material, I was reminded of the wisdom of leading from behind. The choices are the client’s, not ours. We add the most value by letting the client decide for theself.

    John de Regt

  216. says:

    Thank you for the article. I may have missed it, but what should the HR head (dual role of coach) have done? In my opinion, he should have removed himself as coach because the two roles could get very confusing for the client given the situation. Could you clarify?

  217. says:

    Excellent article! Thanks for the insights. This article reminds me the ethical guidelines to be followed as a Coach with clear understanding of what are the dos and dont’s as a Coach to keep in mind while dealing with clients and while coaching. Absolutely valuable input. Thanks!

  218. Carlos Wysokikamien says:

    Es tan interesante el ver, como al juntar, lenguaje-emociones-cuerpo, el Coachee comprende y adopta su propio camino, sin necesidad siquiera, de recibir consejos.

  219. says:

    Insightful article. Helpful in bringing about clarity in how a coach needs to deal with various situations when clients ask for suggestions / recommendations. The examples provided were also very useful to understand the concept in a practical manner. Thank you.

  220. says:

    Thank you! I especially appreciate understanding the impact of a coach’s advice on the client’s brain. The simple invitation to “pause and reflect before you reply” will create space for the client as well. Your article made a difference in Colorado!

  221. says:

    Thank you for bringing up the realistic and practical issue and the scenario, which is very helpful. Hmm. realistic and practical — that is coaching about and more.

  222. Heather Digolo says:

    Great article! Thank you!

  223. says:

    Thank you for providing practical examples.

  224. says:

    Thank you! This is extremely useful and clearly illustrates not only why, but how to offer something more useful to our clients when they seek our advice.

  225. says:

    Very useful article, thank you.

  226. says:

    Thank you for the overview of possible dilemmas. This information is very helpful and a great reminder.

  227. says:

    Valuable reinforcement – thank-you

  228. says:

    Helpful article. I appreciate the term ‘perspective’, especially when it invites the client to open their mind to other ways of thinking.

  229. says:

    This article brings great clarity. Thank you!

  230. says:

    Thanks, these examples and the conversation was very useful.

  231. says:

    These examples provide a compelling reason why I cannot give advise as a coach. I see myself as providing a skill set for my client to use in other situations, so giving advise takes away the long term benefit from my client.

  232. says:

    This article was excellent and valuable. It’s so helpful for understanding ICF ethics.
    It provided a useful compass for action as a coach.

    • says:

      Gracias por bajar a los Coaches información. Me encanto los aportes de ejemplos reales, esto ayuda mucho a ser cada vez más claro con el Código y tener ejemplos reales para los estudiantes de escuelas, interesado en formarse como Coach y Coaches.
      Muchas gracias, felicitaciones a todos lo que hacen posible esta información !!

  233. says:

    Very useful article and a helpful reminder

  234. says:

    thanks, Regina

  235. says:

    Thank you. I found the examples very helpful.

  236. says:

    Merci pour toutes ces précisions très utiles pour la pratique.

  237. says:

    Thank you. The article is very helpful in reminding on ethics as professional coach

  238. Lucia Minondo says:

    Interesting article! Especially everything on the liability of the coach when giving advice. 🙂

  239. says:

    Giving advice or recommendations is not an attribution of coaching.
    Thanks for sharing the article.

  240. says:

    I especially appreciated the examples given in the article – such great reminders and tips to support the client without giveing advice. Thank you!

  241. says:

    This article reiterates the need of specificity especially when wearing multiple hats. The part on engaging the whole brain of the client also reiterated that we as coaches are there to help our clients discover solutions not provide them.

  242. says:

    This is a fantastic piece of information, I found it very insightful.

    Thank you,

  243. says:

    This was a very helpful essay and made me pause to reflect on a situation I am in right now … first, as a consultant getting a clear understanding on my client’s team needs before preparing a proposal on what specific support he may need including coaching him on a new model of leading … while working with his team in reaching clear team / leader expectations … so I’ll most likely need to switch hats from time to time … clear contracting will be vital …

  244. says:

    Great article. I like how the brain goes to neutral when advice is given. Like a teenager going blank when given advice by a parent. Thank you. Ed

  245. says:

    nicely said

  246. says:

    Thank you for sharing this article. This brought focus to the why behind coaching. The client owns the path and making sure we are clear on our role is critical. Even if we are coaching a person in a field that we have expertise, we need to stay true to our coaching role and make sure the client knows that.

  247. says:

    Good article that provides real life possibilities.

  248. Tracy says:

    Thanks for this great article. It’s really useful.
    And I like a comment which is below the article : a teenager going blank when given advice by a parent.
    Thank you.

  249. says:

    Thank you I appreciate the the description and actual requirement to engage the whole brain. The dilemma’s were good real world examples to demonstrate how we need to be clear about the distinctions in what is or isn’t our roles as a coach.

  250. says:

    I join fellow coaches in saying that the article is very useful. Client confusion is almost always certain when the coach plays more than one role. Perhaps most important is the liability aspect from the coach’s perspective.

  251. says:

    I learnt a lot from this article. Thak you very much for helping me to be more clearer on some certain dilemma and could be provide more professiopnal coaching services to my clients.

  252. says:

    Simple and capturing!

  253. says:

    Thank you. Thought provoking examples and very helpful insight. Much appreciated!

  254. says:

    By giving advice, we forget the most knowledgeable person in the room: The client.

  255. says:

    Not only is this article good but it provides a means by which one can truly consider how to maintain a safe distance between ones coaching activities and other expertise that may be requested by a client. Using distinct meetings for coaching and establishing a separate contract for consulting will jar the mind because spending money has a way to keep us in tune with what is happening in our world.

  256. says:

    Very good article. Thank you!

  257. Thanks, this article and your website in general is very useful to me and places each approach of coaching at its place.
    I am a self taught coach , for the moment ( no opportunity yet to do a former training ) and wish to know as much as possible about ethics and code on conduct.
    Deep gratitude, sybille in neuchâtel, Switzerland

  258. says:

    Great examples.

  259. says:

    Absolutely powerful piece of insights and learnings.

    This article helps in getting clarity on ‘where & when to stop; and still facilitate the client succeed’!

  260. says:

    Very valuable article, thank you so much!

  261. says:

    Thanks for the great advice. I like to explore what the client brings to the session as a solution. It is sometimes very different than I thought already. We learn a lot from the clients.

  262. says:

    Good article exploring the issues that may arise with wanting to share opinions during coaching.

  263. says:

    Thanks fot the article!
    It was very useful for me, specially about our continuous responsibility as coaches.
    Gilian Follador, ICF Brazil Board

  264. Ng Kien Mun says:

    Thank you for your sharing in the articles. This has give me a better understanding towards my roles and responsibilities as a COACH in the areas of Ethics and Professional Coaching Standards.

    Looking forward to apply it more in my coaching professions.

  265. says:

    The forefront of what we do as coaches is to keep the client’s brain fully engaged by supporting them in coming up with their own answers. It is helpful to remember that involving Emotive and Sensory parts of the brain included with Rational parts of the brain are key to making good ethical decisions.

  266. says:

    Great article. Thought provoking and clarifying.

  267. says:

    Extremely useful article. We often also forget the neuroscience behind Coaching. This article was a great reminder.

  268. says:

    I enjoyed the thought provoking learning experience.

  269. says:

    Many Thanks for the valuable article. This is a great help for me to understand my roles and responsibilities as a coach regarding Ethics and Professional Coaching Standards.

  270. says:

    A good reminder to what a coach may need to do and informative

  271. says:

    Very clearly articulated and thought provoking.

  272. says:

    Good reminder to assess own motives before responding

  273. says:

    Thank you for this useful article.

  274. says:

    Helpful, useful, and a good reminder.

  275. says:

    Thanks for the reminder!

  276. says:

    Thank you for such a thought provoking article. It certainly provided me with a reminder of my role as a coach and my duties and responsibilities. It also reinforces the importance of keeping the client’s brain fully engaged during the coaching sessions. Very helpful!

  277. Atul Bapat says:

    I read this article earlier as well however acts as a reminder. It provides clear understanding on the distinction between advising and coaching. The case studies included in the article are simple yet powerful. I do face a situation wherein I am a consultant and coach to the client. I am mindful of these dual roles and how these need to be handled separately. The article has been of great help. Would welcome more such resources from ICF.

  278. says:

    Very well explained. Especially the distinction that needs to be established between a consultant and coach. Clients will look for advice till they experience the power of coaching.

    Also the question of “how you want the client to remember you” as a financial planner or as coach sets the tone for the errors that one can make while wearing two hats.

    The dilemma for internal coaches was equally good. Well summed-up article for coaches for years to come.

  279. Bryan Neal says:

    Thank you, This very helpful. As I am just starting out as a coach this is a good lesson to learn and be aware of when I am coaching clients.

  280. Margaret Echols says:

    Both important and helpful.

  281. Margaret Echols says:

    Very important article and very helpful.

  282. This is critically important, and very helpful to be reminded.

  283. says:

    Lecture inspirante et très utile pour l’avenir de ma pratique!

  284. says:

    Merci pour les exemples pertinents et la clarté de l’article et de la présentation.

  285. says:

    It is a very good reminder of keeping such ethics in our profession. Thanks.

  286. The complexities and subtleties of coaching vs. consulting, or giving advice are made clear here. Not getting hooked by the classic “What do you think?” is a discipline. The consequences of a few of these examples emphasize that discipline is a “must have” not a “nice to to have”. Thank you!

  287. says:

    I find this article a helpful reminder and trigger. We are sometimes over zealous in our attempt to “help” the client, but in doing so we may be doing a disservice instead.

    Pause and reflect before we offer the next word.. A question is always better than an answer when in doubt.

  288. says:

    This was an outstanding article that stimulated much self-reflection on a few experiences I’ve had with clients. One key takeaway for me was the responsibility we have as coaches to give the client the space and “air time” to explore from the depths of mind, gut and heart. It was a bit unnerving to see in print that our advice actually dis-engages the client by triggering a neutral (non-receptive?) state of inactivity. I appreciated the recommendation to frame any request for advice as a brainstorming session where the client actually generates the options. In the end, any advice given should align with the “client’s values, assumptions, and perspectives.”

  289. says:

    The article reminds me once again coaching’s fundamental ethic and role. Thank you!

  290. Alexandta Bril Lelcuk says:

    I found this article very important!!!!

  291. says:

    This article reminds me that, even if the coach is clear in differentiating consulting from coaching, the client may not “remember” that differentiation.

  292. says:

    Thank you both for the reminder about reflecting before answering when a client asks for advice. It’s especially important to recognize the role of a coach.

  293. says:

    Thanks for the useful article, great way to summarize. I liked the separation of the 2 roles (consultant /coach) in a separate time.
    Merci !

  294. says:

    This article clarifies very well the roles and implications – coach and consultant. It is so important as a coach that mind, heart and gut are aligned before replying.

    Thank you !

  295. says:

    Thank you for sharing. It is always a good reminder to ensure that you maintain separation between roles, and to remember that as a coach, you much remain in role and remember which hat you are wearing.

  296. says:

    Another great reminder that our roles as coaches and potential roles as consultants differ substantially. What clients perceive may also differ from what we thought we were doing to help the client. Drawing clear boundaries when these situations arise is imperative.

  297. says:

    What a wonderful article for me. It’s very useful for me.

  298. says:

    Rigtig god artikel – et koncentrat som er vigtig læring.

  299. says:

    Article court et utile qui nous remet dans l’essentiel de notre pratique

  300. says:

    Being transparent that there are three or more possible roles can be helpful in creating a healthy engagement.

  301. says:

    It was helpful to have the scenarios and that they were so clear.

  302. says:

    Thank you for this article. I could find a lot of useful tips for me.

  303. Ghada Zakaria says:

    Excellent article clear precise and to the point. I found it extremely useful interesting and it added to my confidence and assurance and affirmed the ethics and practice I hold in high regard are on track with my core values as well
    thank you 🙏

  304. says:

    An excellent refresher. Always nice to remind ourselves of why coaching works and the ethical guidelines to follow. Thank you!

  305. says:

    It is the question as a coach we get asked so much “what should I do?”. So many implications for ethics in coaching – thanks for the useful article.

  306. says:

    This was a good article, particularly the Marcella example in which a clear cut between helping a client as a manager or a coach.

  307. says:

    Very helpful article. Thank you!

  308. says:

    Excellent article! It was helpful, It gives many clear answers and different scenarios and perspectives.

    Thank you so much

  309. Baburaj Nair says:

    A very simple, matter of fact article. I enjoyed reading it. Thanks.

  310. says:

    thank you

  311. says:

    Excellent article! It was helpful, It gives many clear answers and different scenarios and perspectives.

    Thank you so much

  312. Lisa M. Baker says:

    Thank you – lots of great nuggets of way to handle potentially questionable situations. The suggestion to set up a meeting at another time and place to distinguish between coaching and consulting is a good one. So obvious and simple… why didn’t I think of that! 🙂

  313. says:

    Todo y tener la información, este articulo refresca los conceptos y el rol de coach frente a otras intervenciones o metodologías. Aunque existen puntos de comunión, existe un punto muy diferenciador y es potenciar al coachee como el mayor experto en su vida y por tanto dándole herramientas para su toma de decisiones y su responsabilidad.
    Muchas gracias

  314. says:

    C’est toujours un + de rafraichir nos notions de conseils vs coaching !

  315. says:

    This article was very useful and I feel like I can apply this to coaching. Thank You!

  316. Zohaib Butt says:

    Wonderful concept.

  317. Charles Juster says:

    Very thought provoking article. According to me, it is more about the questioning skill of a Coach. A coaching counterpart may request for validation, evaluation, affirmation, recommendation, advices, solutions etc to the Coach. It is for the Coach to put such open ended questions which raise level of creativity of the coaching counterpart and compel him/ her to evolve own understanding of the issue and solutions. As rightly mentioned in the article, the rational, emotive and sensory parts of the brain of a coaching counterpart are needed to be engaged through smart questions by the Coach during the coaching conversation.

    However, I do not appreciate giving suggestions/ recommendations later after a week by assuming the role of a consultant as in thee case of Sophia. Coaching is a specialised area and the focus is the potential of a coaching counterpart. By giving advise and recommendation even after the coaching session, the Coach is not unleashing the potential.

  318. David Twiss says:

    Very informative article and truly thought provoking.

  319. says:

    Gracias, me encantó! los ejemplos son claros y sin duda los comparo con dilemas éticos propios y reafirmo el valor de su contenido.

  320. Jared Douglas Ouko says:

    Well thought out.

  321. Pamela Vandermey says:

    This was very helpful in explaining the necessity of clearly educating your client on the difference between being their ‘Coach’ and perhaps offering consulting in a specific area of expertise outside the Coach relationship. Making the two meetings at different times and places helps both Client and Coach maintain their respective understanding of just what will occur at which meeting. Beginning each Coach Session with the preamble to the written agreement for Coaching should help make this even clearer. Thank you for including this article in this study session.

  322. says:

    What a powerful article! I walked away with a new awareness of this very delicate issue. Often, we can want to go down the path of giving advice (our natural tendency). However, I could see from the example that to do so would detract from the client working through their dilemma/issue, and it could diminish from his wisdom from emerging.

  323. says:

    The examples helps one to understand the content clearly

  324. says:

    Interesting reminder of the dual roles at play. Thank you

  325. Stacy Sprague says:

    The importance of Role clarity in the coaching relationship was well showcased

  326. mahin Ghasemiyani says:

    It is always important to be clear when the roles are explain , being very clear and us simple to understand language will help
    to avoid assumption regarding ones understanding the roles. in this article it was well descript.

  327. Pradeep Mishra says:

    Thanks for very insightful article full of examples of various dilemma situations. Being coach is to ignite the thoughts in the coachee. Conversations involved in the process are deep and touch basic beliefs and emotions of the individual. Once these areas are explored, the individual is able to discover the possible solutions.

  328. says:

    Thank you ! Very informative. I resonate with the examples and places dilemmas in context. very valuable. Much appreciated 🙂

  329. says:

    Thank you. I understood again that my job is to help the client increase awareness and responsibility.

  330. says:

    thank you for a clear, concise and thought provoking article.

  331. Jan Georg Kristiansen says:

    Greate to notify that ethics is becoming more and more practical relevant. Thanks! Jan Georg

  332. says:

    This was a great reminder to be clear between coach and consultant.

  333. says:

    thanks for explaining with examples. it helps in remembering better.

  334. Doris Côté says:

    Très pertinent et avec les mises en situations ça aide à bien assimiler l’information

  335. Sharon Jones says:

    This is article was very insightful (especially in relations to Dual Roles). This happens often as a Coach and a Pastor.

  336. says:

    I really like the idea of having a separate, paid consulting session that is well-separated in time/space from the coaching to answer a clients questions, rather than just saying, “okay, I’ll take off my coaching cap now, and put on my consultant’s hat to speak to that question.” It’s still playing dual roles in the coaching session, which is confusing and confounding.

  337. says:

    Well, it sounds like telling my story. Very helpful to deal with dilemma situation as happening in my experience often.

  338. says:

    Thank you for this article, very clear and precise in situations. Gratitude.

  339. says:

    Thank you so much, it was so useful for me.

  340. José Manuel Sánchez Sanz says:

    Muchas gracias. Esto es la esencia de lo que significa confiar en los recursos del cliente.

  341. says:

    Liked the examples around HR vs coaching roles; a real life challenge at time!

  342. Mara Behlau says:

    I just want to express that I enjoyed the article very much.
    It was clear, concise, and very useful.


    Mara Behlau

  343. says:

    Thank you for this thought provoking article. It serves as a strong reminder of our role.

  344. says:

    This article was extremely helpful.
    Thank you

  345. says:

    Thank you!

  346. Nouf says:

    Thank you

    it was extremely helpful

  347. says:

    Thank you. I particularly appreciate the reminder that our brains offload when we are hearing advice!

  348. says:

    This a really helpful article. Thank you!

  349. Debois Eric says:

    Thank you for this article highlighting these points:
    – “…Berns illustrates, the brain ”offloads” while it is taking in advice. The brain goes into neutral and the actual advice does not embed in the neocortex while the advice is being given. As a consequence, ownership might happen later or not happen at all…”
    – “… … If you agree to give your opinion as a layperson or expert, have this conversation in a different location and at a different time from that of the coaching meeting. Be very clear that you are responding as an individual person, not in your role as a professional coach…”
    – “…… Ensure that if the client chooses to act, the gut and heart have been included in the considerations, not just the head…”

  350. Eric Hector Debois says:

    Thank you for this nice article

  351. says:

    “Be aware that when you respond as a professional, you assume liability.” Just to the point! Stephen

  352. Benjamin Solomon says:

    Clear and thought-provoking article. Thank you.

  353. says:

    Thank you sincerely for the helpful article.

  354. says:

    thought provoking

  355. says:

    Very clear, thanks

  356. Gabriele Goh says:

    Great article. I absolutely love it.

  357. says:

    Thank you, Teri-E Belf and Michael Marx, for this thought-provoking article. I had a client who selected me as his coach as a five-day leadership development program component. While we provided a coaching demo and thoroughly explained what coaching is and isn’t, he repeatedly expressed a preference for advisement once engaged in the coaching engagement. Equipped with skills to navigate this scenario through my coach training, I delineated my approach with clear markers for coaching versus advising. Your example on navigating dual roles provides additional ways to navigate the situation effectively. I especially appreciated the Sophia example, setting up a separate contract and allowing space for the client to give feedback as to which approach was most helpful. – Kindly

  358. says:

    Thank you for this article … It is really a valuable content

  359. says:

    Excellent article. Just shared with my coaching students!

  360. says:

    “What do you think I should do?”
    Before answering, I will pause for a moment and reflect.
    It helped a lot!
    thank you.

  361. says:

    I have clearly understood the difference between coaching questions for customer immersion as a coach and advice for problem solving as a consultant.
    Thank you!

  362. says:

    Thank you for the reiteration of the Code of Ethics. Violation of ethics can break the trust. There can not be a worse dent to coaching than breaking the trust. Coach has a huge responsibility towards the transformation of the client – Empowering the client over spoon-feeding them. Thanks for a good read.

  363. says:

    Thank you for sharing the insights in this article I found the link to our brain really important and useful

  364. says:

    Excellent and thoughtful article. I use these techniques and often use my consultant expertise to illuminate options or suggest sources for research or consideration. My goal is to encourage and engage depth of thought. And then I’ll say something like, “what works best for you?”

  365. Weareseos says:

    Thank you for the beautiful post!

  366. says:

    Merci Beaucoup. Les situations présentées sont claires et les réponses fixent bien les limites à être respectées.

  367. says:

    Those examples are very useful. Thank you.

  368. says:

    This article points out some very important aspects of what coaching is (nd what it is not). Thank you for providing this, especially the initial part talking about how the brain works!

  369. Rick Jones says:

    I want to meet a coach who thinks that I have my own answers. Too many people think that this is not the case. But a coach can help you get answers and understand yourself better.

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