The Triangular Relationship: Organization – Client – Coach
Written by Suzanne Conroy, M.Ed., CTI, ICF
Learning is an ethical activity. Professional coaching begins with a straightforward design on how and why the coach, client and sponsor will be together and their rights and responsibilities (International Coach Federation, 2021). The contract features include explicit documentation and dialogue to ensure the confines of each dyad relationship (coach to the organization; coach to coachee) and triad (organization-coach-coachee) confidences are understood to ensure the trust is upheld and all stakeholders know what will be disclosed and what will not (International Coach Federation, 2021).
Transparency regarding the coaching agenda is critical.
The organization will have objectives for their employee(s) to reach, especially since they are making the investment. There are multiple reasons why the employee is mandated or requests to work with a coach. For example, they might be struggling with their performance or with coworkers or invest in cultivating a high performer. There could be some breakdowns on the organizational level as well. For example, the coachee might need a clearer job description or more explicit structures and processes. The coach’s work is to be with the whole person, understand the backstory, listen to their lived experience, identify the barriers, create accountability, and empower learning and transformation. You just never know what will show up in dialogue.
Coaching the whole person and attaching the talking points of the organization’s and the client’s needs will give the conversation direction.
A clear structure is key and sets ethical expectations and a clear path forward. Coaching requires transparency, a central ethical framework, and core competencies to pull from to create excellence and powerful learning.
International Coaches Federation. (2021). ICF code of ethics. https://coachingfederation.org/app/uploads/2021/01/ICF-Code-of-Ethics-1.pdf (click to read the ICF Code of Ethics)
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