"Ethics and competence are symbiotic twins" - Anderson et al (2006)
||"Do our ethics depend on the situation? Are there occasions when a lie is okay? Are there occasions when withholding the truth is okay? Are there truths you will not tell for fear that it will cost you a big contract or future work? The subject of ethics is nothing more or less than the business of getting clear on ones boundaries. What will I do or not do? What will I put up with or not?." Belinda Davies, Owner of Leadership Solutions (http://www.leadershipsolutions.co.za), and Former President of COMENSA.
|Maintaining Ethical Standards in coaching and mentoring is the cornerstone of professionalising our industries. While coaching and mentoring are not recognised as professions anywhere in the world, COMENSA is committed to leading the professionalisation of these fields in South Africa. A profession is characterised by the following:
· Members must have formal qualifications
· There is adherence to an enforceable Code of Ethics
· A common body of knowledge / skills has been built up through research.
· Practice is restricted only to licenced, qualified members
· Regulations are state-sanctioned.
Having an explicit Code of Ethics
is a huge benefit to a practicing coach or mentor. It means that you can give your clients a guarantee that COMENSA, independent of yourself, will hold you accountable to an ethical code of conduct. This will give your clients peace of mind that you will always act in accordance with the core values outlined in the COMENSA Code of Ethics:
• Autonomy - respect the autonomous decisions of adults
• Beneficence - aim to do good
• Non- malfeasance - do no harm
• Justice - act fairly when the interests of different individuals or groups are in competition
Ethical thinking and education are a key component of ethics and the approach taken by COMENSA is to educate our members on what it takes to include ethical thinking in your practice. The COMENSA Code of Ethics, rather than being a list of rules, is the backbone of ethical thinking and we require our members to take the implementation of the Code seriously, by pledging to abide by the Code on an annual basis on renewal of membership.
"Despite the codes of ethics, the ethics programs, and the special departments — corporations don't make the ultimate decisions about ethics. Ethical choices are made by individuals."
- M. Euel Wade, Jr.
Managing ethics is about ensuring that our members know the COMENSA Code of Ethics, understand the importance of operating from an ethical base in our coaching and mentoring practices, and that any person interacting with a COMENSA member has recourse should they feel that a member has breached our ethical code. In order to manage this process, the Ethics Portfolio Committee has drawn up a decision-making Process for Dealing with Ethical Complaints
Traditional professions have well established codes of ethics developed over years of discussion, often very public debate over significant cases or complaints from clients, coupled with changes in the law and development of common practice within the relevant profession. To some extent this has been, and will continue to be, the case with the fields of coaching and mentoring. Already there are certain absolute ethical issues on which most coaches and mentors would agree and which are included in ethical codes of conduct. However, like other helping professions, coaching and mentoring demand a further rigour
in the approach practitioners take to the actual practice of ethics. As coaches and / or mentors we need to engage with ethical dilemma on an experiential level, and co-create an approach with the client or sponsor organisation. An important way of developing this real-world real-time skill is through a formal ethics training
. The ethical practice developed can then be supported through appropriate and open use of Supervision