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Coaching: Responsibility, Strategies, and Relationships With Client


Compliance with the norms of professional ethics is an integral part of the coach’s work. If a person is a specialist certified according to ICF standards, he has support in the form of an ethical code. Coaches are responsible for their work not only for the client but also for the professional community. At the same time, an official document cannot describe all possible situations in daily practice. Each client brings with their new circumstances and nuances of cooperation.

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Ethics Issues

The first and, perhaps, one of the main ethical issues that a coach has to solve when working with a new client is the confidentiality of information. After some time, when the process becomes deep and concerns more and more personal topics, the ability to create a safe space for its manifestations will become especially relevant. It will not hurt to voice one’s obligations regarding confidentiality once again. According to the code of ethics, the coach must guarantee 100% confidentiality, except when the client discusses actions that violate the law.

Responsibility in Coaching

Coach’s Perception

An important stage of professional development that every coach needs to go through is liberation from the illusion of his omnipotence. Sometimes a coach considers himself a general practitioner. One of the key concepts of coaching is responsibility. If it can be imposed on a person, then the responsibility is perceived as a ‘burden,’ violence. In such cases, even if the person speaks about the obligations imposed on him, he may not feel the level of responsibility.

Relationships Features

Another thing is when a person sincerely and without any imposition assumes responsibility for thoughts, deeds, and deeds. In such situations, the performance of the work will increase exponentially. The boundaries of responsibility in coaching are a hot topic of conversation, even though dozens of books have been written on this topic. Responsibility is not assigned to one person; on the contrary, it is extended to the coach and the clients. Thus, the coach is responsible for the process, while the client is responsible for the result. This phrase can confuse coaches who comprehend this profession and clients who have decided to seek help for the first time. The transfer of responsibility is a complex process consisting of many details. As practice shows, many people compare responsibility and guilt, equating these concepts with each other. A person who understands the basics of business may feel guilty if his actions cause the development of undesirable consequences.

A Choice

However, this position is incorrect because responsibility comes much earlier. A person can react differently to the circumstances that arise. Still, this choice will be their own one — they will be ready to face the inevitable consequences of their choice. To put it simply, the clients decide for themselves what outcome they will have. No one else can react to such situations the same way they do.


It is important to understand that only a partnership can build good and competent work. If the client and the coach understand this, it will be easy to build a dialogue. There are unforeseen circumstances, but it is important to be responsible for one’s actions. A person who wants to change his life to become a champion will warn the coach if it is necessary to postpone the session and not put him in front of the fact, blaming life circumstances for everything (Schermuly, 2018). If a professional has promised his partner to provide information for reflection before a coaching session, this cannot be ignored. It is necessary to fulfill the duties, the only way to become a partner with the client. It is necessary to discuss the payment process with the client: how convenient it will be for both parties, how long the money should arrive, and whether installments are possible. The format and the meeting place should be convenient for both. For example, a person can give preference to online conversations or, on the contrary, choose a quiet secluded place for a personal conversation.

Coaching Strategies for the Client Who Becomes Defensive

Reaching a Compromise

If there are disagreements between partners on where and in what format it is better to hold sessions, then it is necessary to understand what each of the parties can bring to the partnership in order to reach a compromise. Most coaches give their partners homework assignments. This practice is understandable — the coach can determine what the client’s problem is, and he, in turn, can work out the difficulties, focusing on the information received during the session. A client during a coaching session, even if it is your close friend, should not overstep personal boundaries. Conversations on personal topics and diminutive words should not be allowed. A partnership is a mutual respect (Blanton & Wasylyshyn, 2018). Therefore, both the client and the coach should understand which principles should be perfectly observed during the conversation and which boundaries cannot be crossed. As a professional with competencies, he must create conditions so that the client can move in the right direction for him and find ways to solve any problems that prevent getting a good result.

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Coach’s Rights

The coach cannot and should not be responsible for what results in the client will come to after working out their fears, difficulties, and problems. If a person understands that work and the current state do not suit him, he must change habits, life principles, and rules. One can do this based on the techniques, principles, and tools that the coach will share during the work stage.

Client’s Destructive Behavior

When a client chooses the role of a victim during coaching, he will not be able to see the opportunities and prospects that open up to him if he stops blaming others for his failures and failures. The victim, faced with difficulties, will find a way out of the situation less often than a businessman responsible for his achievements. Perhaps he will get confused and will not solve the problem at all. When working with an angry client, it is necessary to identify the emotional components of anger (Seiler, 2019). Unfortunately, when solving a problem, some people usually use logic and reason instead of understanding what is happening emotionally, which annoys the client even more. If people had gone under the water of the ‘iceberg’ and identified an emotional stimulus, they could have settled the conflict much faster and with fewer losses for the company.


In conclusion, coaching as a style of work of the head of the organization is manifested in the desire to teach the client to set goals, correctly formulate problems, analytics, listen, and not rush to give ready-made judgments. Coaching is a model of interaction, thanks to which the manager increases the level of motivation and responsibility both for himself and for the employees he directs. Clients should gain knowledge about what should be done not in the form of prescriptions but from an interview with a supervisor. In this case, self-motivation should increase, the client’s potential should be revealed, and work should turn from an objective necessity into a source of satisfaction. When dealing with a negative client, it is important to remain calm, even if it is not easy.


Blanton, J. S., & Wasylyshyn, K. M. (2018). Beyond the client/coach dyad in coaching senior business leaders. Consulting Psychology Journal: Practice and Research, 70(4), 339-350. Web.

Schermuly, C. C. (2018). Client dropout from business coaching. Consulting Psychology Journal: Practice and Research, 70(3), 250-267. Web.

Seiler, H. (2019). The client as a provider of developmental feedback for the executive coach. International Journal of Evidence Based Coaching and Mentoring, (S13), 114-125.

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