Current Ethical Practices in Mentoring Coaching Research Paper

Excerpt from Research Paper :

Ethical Practices in Mentoring/Coaching

Ethical Practices

Effective mentoring and coaching are strengthened through nine major principles. The nine principles inform and guide the mentoring and coaching practice. Ethical practice is one of the nine principles of effective mentoring and coaching, and it enhances and safeguards mentoring and coaching. When ethical principles guide and inform the practice of mentoring and coaching, the client is safeguarded. Ethical principles include faithfulness, respect for the autonomy of the client, acting in a manner that is advantageous to the client, acting fairly and preventing harm. When these values are employed in mentoring and coaching, transparency and openness is achieved. Ethical mentoring and coaching are guided through professional practice codes and legal requirements.

Operating within agreed boundaries and limits makes the client to feel secure. Sheena requires upholding ethical principles while mentoring the new teachers in her school (Connor and (Pokora, 2012, p.226). However, she finds herself in an ethical dilemma when one of her clients regularly comes into her office. While Sheena finds the session valuable, the visits by her first client are more regular prompting her to that the client is too contingent on her. The other teacher Sheena is supposed to mentor has never set his foot in Sheena's office despite being told that he can visit her anytime in her office for mentorship. The teacher is not doing well in his new job, but he does not want to bother her as he thinks that she is busy. Sheena wants to inspire her clients and she is worried that one of her clients has not contacted her, and she does not want to force him to see her. Sheena is reluctant to call him, and the client is reluctant to contact her because he thinks she is too busy. This issue holds several ethical dilemmas. She is torn between contacting her second client, and wonders whether she should leave her clients to make their own choices. Sheena also feels that the regular teacher in her office is too reliant on her, but does know whether to tell him. Given the ethical principles mentioned earlier, which include fairness, preventing harm, doing good and maintaining faithfulness to autonomy and promises, Sheena must act ethically and solve the ethical dilemma facing her in her mentorship practice in order to be effective in the practice.

Literature Review

According to Hawkins & Smith (2007), all clients in mentoring practice expect a high standard of practice from their mentors. To guarantee that this is attained, coaches and mentors commit themselves to function with respect to good practice and code of conducts for competent, ethical and productive practice. Reinstein (2013) confirms that the most popular means of preventing poor, unethical and incompetent practice entail production of code of ethics. Hawkins and Smith (2007) claim that coaches should learn to acknowledge both professional and personal limitations. They should uphold good health and fitness to practice, and with respect to their professional limits, they should display appropriate experience that achieves the requirements of the client. According to Crawnwell (2004), mentees and mentors should understand their boundaries. It is not proper for a mentor to offer or feel pressured when providing additional intervention services such as counseling. Instead, friendly and sympathy support should be the limit of the role of the mentor in such intervention.

Connor and Pokora (2012) affirm that providing an open and trusting relationship is the basis through which development and learning take place. This is the direct similarity with mentoring and coaching. This connection allows the mentee to feel secure, to handle ethical concerns and issues honestly, and to handle intricacies with courage. By their temperament, ethical concerns are not straightforward and do not involve easy answers. What seems to be an ethical issue with a mentee often takes the mentor or coach back to an examination of their own beliefs, attitudes and values, both unconscious and conscious (Western, 2012). For this to take place in a transformative and productive manner, the mentor has to be secure, respected and trustworthy person. According to Wilson (2008), coaching and mentoring has a strict code of ethics. The coach is responsible to the institution that hires him/her and the coached is assured of trust and confidentiality.

A mentor has to decide how to address a given situation according to its characteristics and people involved. Mentors have the right to terminate the arrangement if they feel like they are being ethically compromised. However, they must not do harm or influence the autonomy of their clients (Reinstein, 2013). Current ethical practice entails supervision where the supervisor focuses on the mentor or the coach and not the mentee. This trend assures the client that his/her coach or mentor pays attention to professional growth and upholds ethical standards. Moberg & Vekasquez (2004) assert that ethical obligations of a mentor include being diligent in offering wisdom, knowledge and development support to the mentee, ensuring that mentoring does not harm the client, being loyal to one client, exercise fair partiality and respect the autonomy and privacy of the client.

The current ethical practice in mentoring and coaching involves establishment of code of conduct that introduces a set of principles that establishes a yardstick for good practice and ethics. The code of conducts intends to guarantee that mentors and coaches carry on their practice in an ethical and professional way (Hawkins & Smith, 2007). The code of conduct is the foundation of the development of self-regulation for mentoring and coaching profession. Mentors and coaches operate with the restrictions of their professional skills, create favorable environment for effective practice and make and respect open agreements with their clients.


The most significant implication of the literature analysis is understanding that the role of the mentor involves partiality, concern for the mentee and loyalty. A mentor cannot supervise the mentoring process and at the same time mentor. It is problematic to ethically mentor and supervise the same individual. The term mentor involves supporting and developing an individual. However, some mentoring procedures are morally arduous for mentors, and mentor's roles are greatest when the authority difference between them and their clients is huge. More importantly, mentors and their clients should be empowered with the ethical requirements attached to their roles.

Training and attention to ethical aspects is paramount as they allow people to discover potentially challenging mentoring occurrences before they become critical. For instance, a mentee may view that the mentor does not take her autonomy with high regard, or that a mentor may recognize that he/she requires being unequivocal about her expectations early in the mentoring relationship. Sheena should have been open to the first client on her expectations. She feels like the client is too dependent. Moreover, the second client has the right to contact Sheena, but Sheena should not contact him, as this will amount to her disrespecting the autonomy and choice of the second client. The second client should take charge of her own development and should contact his mentor.

Critical Analysis

The above issue appears to make mentoring as a relationship that does not necessarily require friendship or personal relationship. However, friendship suggests an efficient bond between people that is not necessary in the mentorship relationship. This is because mentoring is one-directional and functions to develop a client. According to Moberg & Vekasquez (2004), friendship in mentoring can jeopardize the practice in the sense that it can lead to abuses because friendships means no faults.

On the contrary, Hawkins & Smith (2007), confirm that intimate relationship between the mentor and the client is necessary given that the mentor understands the client well enough in order to offer the required moral consistent wisdom. Connor and Pokora (2012) affirm that establishing an open and trusting affiliation is the basis through which improvement and learning take place. The mentor holds more power than the client does, and he/she offers crucial advantages to the client while the clients offer few benefits to his/her mentor. Mentoring involves a powerful element of caring support and partiality and the mentor offers wisdom and development support.

In ethical practice, the mentor has the space and time to contemplate without undue pressure the suitable ethical decision. They have the space and time to engage the client and consult with support resources. The clients on the other hand, have the time to contemplate on their needs and wants, and their expectations from the mentor or coach. When making decisions concerning ethical and professional conducts mentors and consider the Code of conduct, applicable regulations and laws, and their established relationship that facilitates decision-making (Crawnwell, 2004) .


In the modern world, mentoring and coaching is the preferred technique for executing development programs. For organizations and individuals alike, mentoring and coaching are effective in speeding up learning and increasing performance levels. Mentoring offers an excellent method for inspiring people, increase productivity, promoting the mentor's and protege self-worth and lowering turnover in workplaces. Ethics is described as a set of moral principles or values that relates to…

Sources Used in Document:


Connor, M., & Pokora, J (2012). Coaching and mentoring at work: Developing effective practice. London: McGraw-Hill International.

Crawnwell, J. (2004). Mentoring: A Henley review of best practice. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Hawkins, P., & Smith, N. (2007). Coaching, mentoring and organizational consultancy: Supervision and development. London: McGraw-Hill International, Jan 1, 2007

Moberg, D., & Vekasquez, M. (2004). The Ethics of mentoring. Business Ethics Quarterly, 14 (1), 95-122.

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