Expanding the boundaries of ethical thinking

Ho Law
Presentation and discussion


The coach as a scientist-practitioner in practice is a process of inquiry. In this process, the coachee is a participant of the research into their own life. The qualitative research paradigm can therefore apply to the coaching conversation. Typically, qualitative research consists of semi-structured interviews. The interaction between the researcher and participant stops at the end of the interview. The ethics application stage usually requires researchers to ensure that they do no harm to their participants at the end of the interview without further intervention, but to simply provide them with information on a briefing sheet to seek further help. Is this ethical and to whose benefit? An exception is action research which does involve intervention in the process. A coaching conversation can be action research in practice. This panel session welcomes participants to explore the common ethical issues for researchers (confidentiality, harm, deception and the choice of interventions) further for developing innovative research and ethical practice in coaching beyond its conventional boundary.

How Law is the Honorary Professor of Research & Psychology at the Colombo International Institute. He was the first equality advisor to the Assistant Permanent Secretary of State (Director) of the UK Home Office Research Development Statistics Directorate (1999-2000); the first assessor for the University College Cork’s Coaching & Coaching Psychology Programmes and the first winner of the Best Supervisor Award at the University of East London (2013) and the first Coaching Programme Advisor at University of Cambridge (2015-2016). Empsy® is a social enterprise founded by Ho to provide psychological and consultancy services to empower people, communities and the planet.


David Lane is Director and co-founder of the Professional Development Foundation, which has for forty years pioneered work-based professional development. As well as contributing to research and the professional development of coaching Professor Lane has coached in a wide range of organisations including major consultancies, multinationals, and public sector and government bodies. He also pioneered the international development of work based masters and doctorate degrees for experienced coaches in South Africa, New York and London. He has published widely on coaching. He co-created the International Centre for the Study of Coaching at Middlesex. Publishing widely in coaching – education – counselling and management he has also developed the field of supervision within professional bodies.

Recommended Articles