Ethical Dilemmas for Leaders as Coach: Conflicts of Interest


We’ve discovered that leaders as coaches face ethical dilemmas around boundaries, dual relationships, and confidentiality; let’s turn our attention now to conflicts of interest.

conflicts of interest What do you do when the talented person you are coaching in your organisation tells you that she is looking to take her career outside the organisation?  The organisation sees her as a rising star and they really want to develop her for a role internally; but it’s becoming clear that the organisation isn’t meeting the individual’s needs.

Is it better to continue coaching her towards the path that she desires; or is this against your organisational remit? In this conflict of interest example, what elements might you need to consider when deciding what to do?

Further examples of conflicts of interest you may encounter

In another example; you’ve been asked to coach someone whose manager keeps cancelling the three-way contracting conversation with you and their employee.  The employee really wants to get started without that three-way contract.  What do you do?

Something is not quite right in one of your coaching relationships.  You can’t quite put your finger on it, but they don’t seem to be invested in the process, turning up late, not preparing, throwing out odd comments about your role.  What’s your next course of action?

As always, there are no black and white answers to these conflict of interest dilemmas.  Coaching supervision can help you to figure out what to do for each particular situation and each individual scenario.

What conflicts of interest have you encountered in coaching in your role as leader, and how did you address those? I’m interested to know what happened and how you handled it.

If you would find it useful to read more about ethical dilemmas in my Leader as Coach Series, please follow the links to my previous blog posts about Boundaries, Dual Relationships and Confidentiality.