How confident are you that your clients understand who you are and what you represent?
Sally was looking for a coach. She searched and found someone she liked. However, only after several sessions did she realize that the coach held beliefs in certain lifestyle choices that Sally could not agree with. She felt the coach advocated a very different interpretation of the Bible than her own. She wished that the coach’s beliefs had been conveyed to her at the beginning.
Of course, a coach should be able to meet the client where she is at. It is the client’s lifestyle that is being served here, not the coach’s. Nevertheless, transparency is part of coaching presence. To be fully present, the coach should be an active partner in mind, soul, and spirit. While the coach should not broadcast her personal beliefs as imperative for the client, neither should she hide them.
To what extent is your Christianity part of your branding? Do you make reference to your faith on your website? Some of our CCNI members actually provide a link to the CCNI Statement of Faith. Others (like me) use more indirect references regarding who I am in Christ. To me, this is a matter of target audience. Since my coaching mostly reaches out to business people, the faith-based aspect of my coaching is less overt in my promotional materials. However, many of you actively seek to reach Christian clients. Your presentation method should match the profile of those you seek to serve.
Think for a moment about more subtle stumbling blocks. What if Sally is a vegan and you are a fan of BBQs and meat-lovers pizza? This could be a problem, yet it doesn’t have to be. Since we focus on the person – not the problem – in non-directive coaching, we can work well together regardless of differences. The coach is called on to be culturally sensitive (ICF Code of Ethics #20, 2015 revision). Part of this is setting clear boundaries and expectations about the coaching relationship.
As a coach, how transparent are you about who you are in Christ?
Let me know if there is ANYTHING I can help you with. Michael@newtrailscoaching.com
About the Author:
Michael J Marx, MBA, EdD, PCC, CPCC. Michael is an ICF Professional Certified Coach specializing in business coaching and corporate consultation. Dr. Marx currently serves as the leader of the ICF ‘Global Community of Practice on Ethics.’ He also serves on the ICF Independent Review Board and on the Ethics Code Review Team. Additionally, he is a past-president of Christian Coaches Network International and the author of Ethics and Risk Management for Christian Coaches (2016). He is also currently launching an initiative to inform coaches about suicide intervention called Coaches4Hope.