Navigating ethics in coaching across professional contexts: a systemic lens

Rachel Hawley & Ioanna Iordanou
Presentation and Discussion

Listening, questioning and empathy are often cited as the key qualities of an effective coach, but how can coaching professionals build on these qualities to be both effective and ethical? In this session we adopt asystemic lens to explore ethical issues across professional contexts and share our advice for coaches who are seeking to foster ethical practice in their work.

An effective coach is an ethical coach. This means fostering a professional coaching culture that prioritises a shared understanding of ethical standards, regardless of prescribed recipes for best practice. Strategies are explored that enable us to maintain a conscious (rather than idealistic) ethical coaching practice – creating a positive professional culture that is driven by integrity and commitment to embrace the complexities of contemporary life in an era of ongoing change. Being an effective coach is a journey of discovery; understanding our values and ethics holds the key to navigating this complex landscape.

Rachel Hawley is a Leadership Associate at the NHS Leadership Academy and co-author of Values and Ethics in Coaching (Sage, 2017). Her doctoral study, at Sheffield Hallam University is on relational leadership in the NHS.

Ioanna Iordanou is a Reader in Human Resource Management (Coaching and Mentoring) at Oxford Brookes Business School, co-author of Values and Ethics in Coaching (Sage, 2017), and co-editor of The Practitioner’s Handbook of Team Coaching (Routledge, 2019).


Pauline Fatien, deeply involved in coaching research, I investigate power and ethics in the practice; in brief, I am interested in some darker sides of coaching! Please have a look at my academic articles and books! My perspectives build on my international experience as an educator and researcher in management. I graduated from HEC Paris with a Master of Science in Management, as well as a PhD in HR; I also got a Research Master in Sociology of Power (Paris University). Today I am an Associate Professor in Management at Grenoble Ecole de Management where I am a member of the Economic Peace Chair. I live in France after 8 years in California (USA) and in Colombia.

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