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From the Toolbox: Do you give advice to your Clients?

Posted by Teri-E Belf and Michael Marx | January 15, 2015 | Comments (155)

Core Competency #1: Meeting Ethical Guidelines and Professional Standards
Understanding of coaching ethics and standards and ability to apply them appropriately in all coaching situations.

Your coaching client is exploring options regarding a dilemma. She asks point blank, “So, what do you think I should do?” This column examines possible replies from different perspectives: neuroscience, coaching ethics, dual roles and liability.

Engaging the Whole Brain

As coaches, we believe that clients have their own answers and the role of the coach is to create a space for the client’s wisdom to emerge. Giving advice detracts from the client’s autonomy. When a coach gives advice, the client owns less of the solution. Without this ownership there is less accountability. As 2009 research on the relationship between financial advice and decision-making by Jan B. Engelmann, C. Monica Capra, Charles Noussair and Gregory S. Berns illustrates, the brain ”offloads” while it is taking in advice. The brain goes into neutral and the actual advice does not embed in the neocortex while the advice is being given. As a consequence, ownership might happen later or not happen at all. As coaches, we want our clients’ brains to be fully engaged! By giving advice, we appeal mostly to the rational parts of the brain. However, to fully engage the client, the emotive and sensory parts of the brain should also be involved in the decision-making process. Without a fully engaged brain, the likelihood that the client will make an unethical decision increases dramatically.

As a professional you might function as a coach, an individual person or an expert. When you have expertise in a particular area, and are asked for your opinion, you can make general comments without giving specific advice to the client. For example, Dalia Nakar, PCC, a Retirement Coach, tells her clients, “This is how I have seen this done before,” “I have heard it happen that people can … and the result was positive,” or, “I am aware that sometimes people do it (this way) and others (that way).” Continue to make it a learning experience in which the client can gain awareness and take ownership. For example, you might ask, “What does this reveal to you that you were not aware of before?” or, “How is this information (or perspective) useful to you?”

Navigating Dual Roles

As professional coaches, we should ask ourselves whether giving a client advice comes from a motivation to serve the best interests of the client or to satisfy our own ego. Everyone likes to feel respected for having given a worthwhile opinion, and nothing in the ICF Code of Ethics specifically says you may not give advice to clients. However, the ICF Code of Ethics does ask you to check for relationship conflicts that result from dual roles. It is inappropriate, confusing and may even be unethical to switch roles during a coaching conversation. People in dual roles need to pay more attention to the partnership to ensure clear boundaries.

Dilemma: Frank
Frank works as an internal coach practitioner and human resources manager. He has just been informed that his company is planning to lay off some people in a few months and some of the layoffs include his clients. Does Frank wear his coach’s hat or his HR hat? Does he have to withdraw as the coach? What is his company’s protocol for this conflict? Even though you, as the coach, are clear about your two roles, it may be confusing to the client. The role you are playing should always be clear to the client.

If your client asks for your recommendations, remember to thank him or her for being interested in your opinion. Explain that as a coach you do not give advice. Help the client explore resources by partnering in a brainstorming conversation to generate a list of possible ways to proceed and kinds of people who can offer what is needed. This list might also include you, either as a layperson or as an expert. If you agree to give your opinion as a layperson or expert, have this conversation in a different location and at a different time from that of the coaching meeting. Be very clear that you are responding as an individual person, not in your role as a professional coach.

Example: Sophia
Sophia, a public administrator, told her coach that she had a very important meeting that would decide the fate of her program. She knew her coach had been a manager and taught a course in strategic meeting management, so she asked for a few strategic tips. Sophia’s coach proposed these three steps:

1) First, she would coach her regarding this situation.

2) A week later, in a separate meeting, she would serve
as a consultant and provide tips. This consulting meeting would be governed by a new contract, separate from the coaching agreement.

3) She would ask Sophia to evaluate the difference between the two meetings in terms of value and effectiveness in the short and long term.

Sophia agreed to take these steps, and she reported that the most useful time was when she was coached. She said, “I learned how to think for myself about issues that were important to me. I learned the importance of including others in my dilemmas. In the long term, coaching was definitely more helpful than consulting.”

Dilemma: Marcella
Marcella, a financial planner and credentialed coach, was coaching Anne, who had been focusing on assuming responsibility for her financial management. The conversation turned to the feasibility of socially responsible investing. Anne asked Marcella which company was a solid one for socially responsible investments. A few weeks later, Marcella and Anne met with the purpose of exchanging financial investment information. After Marcella shared her suggestions, Anne followed her investment advice and lost money. Will Anne remember that Marcella, the coach, gave her the information, or Marcella, the financial planner?

It may not be part of our job to give advice, yet it is part of the misconception and the myth that a coach is also a consultant. If you give advice or your opinion, be sure to explore how it fits with your client’s values, assumptions and perspectives. Don’t just state your advice. Reflect on whether your motive for giving advice is your need to give it or the client’s need to hear it. Ensure that if the client chooses to act, the gut and heart have been included in the considerations, not just the head.

A Note on Liability

Even though you might do your best to be clear when you are not responding as a coach, the client’s memories and perceptions can still become distorted. Be aware that when you respond as a professional, you assume liability. Even if a client perceives that you gave advice—regardless of whether you did or not—he might hold you liable for any action he takes. Your job is to help the client increase awareness and responsibility.

So the next time your client says, “What do you think I should do?” pause and reflect before you reply.

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Teri-E Belf and Michael Marx

Teri-E Belf, MCC has been a purposeful coaching leader since 1987, offering personal and professional coaching, coach training, and mentoring on five continents. She is the founder and director for Success Unlimited Network®, which offers ICF-approved coach-specific training rooted in life purpose and spirituality. She is the author of Coaching With Spirit (Pfeiffer, 2007) and Facilitating Life Purpose (Purposeful Press, 2005) and coauthor, with Charlotte Ward, of Simply Live it Up (revised edition, Purposeful Press, 1997). Teri-E initiated and chaired the first ICF Accreditation, Credentialing and Continuing Education Committee, which established the foundation for the coaching profession. Contact Teri-E at and learn more at and Michael Marx, Ed.D., PCC specializes in Executive, Business and Life Coaching, and has devoted himself to the advancement of the coaching industry, with an emphasis on the ethics of the coaching practice. His enthusiasm for the subject brought him to write the forthcoming Ethics and Risk Management for Christian Coaches (Christian Coach Media Group). He also leads ICF’s Ethics Community of Practice. Michael is a Certified Professional Life Coach through the Professional Christian Coaching Institute, where he now teaches ethics. He is a Certified Professional Christian Coach through the Christian Coaches Network International, and is currently president of that organization.  Michael earned a doctorate in adult education from Regent University and an MBA from the University of Louisiana at Monroe. Learn more at   The views and opinions expressed in guest posts featured on this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions and views of the International Coach Federation (ICF). The publication of a guest post on the ICF Blog does not equate to an ICF endorsement or guarantee of the products or services provided by the author.

The views and opinions expressed in guest posts featured on this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions and views of the International Coach Federation (ICF). The publication of a guest post on the ICF Blog does not equate to an ICF endorsement or guarantee of the products or services provided by the author.

Comments (155)

  1. John White says:


    I found this article very thought provoking and useful.

    Thank you

  2. Stephen March says:

    Trust is at the root of a solid coaching relationship. Attention to ethical boundaries and ethical questions is critical to maintaining that trust. Exploring questions near the fringes helps clarify.

  3. Thanks for this great reminder…especially of the issue that if I respond as a professional (vs. Coach), I can be held liable for the client’s action. I will pause and reflect before I answer that ‘What is your advice’ question.
    Thanks Teri-E and Michael for the work you do.

    • says:

      Pat, I agree. Because we are professionals, self-awareness is very important. We should remember that others expect us to be professionals. I am of the belief that if someone asks for advice it is not my answer they are seeking. What I have learned is that the true essences of such a question is for the individual to discover possibilities from their own voice. This is a great reminder for me to keep my knowingness out the way of lasting discovery.

  4. I love both the perspectives that you’ve provided and options of how to respond to the client when asked for advice. It can be an ego boost to be asked and thank you for reminding us about how a client’s brain is engaged (or not) as we coach vs. other avenues of ‘help’.

  5. Doug Galloway says:

    It is imperative to clarify which hat you are wearing if you are playing two roles of coach and consultant. And ensure your client understands which hat you are wearing. This can be a struggle if you try to wear multiple hats in the same meeting. It is also,important to clarify in the contracting process regarding if you will perform more than me role and also address the issue of liability.

  6. Cathy Liska says:

    The examples are such a great way to present the information and how to apply it – thanks!

  7. Thank you for helping us to keep our Ethics fresh, present and clear as we do our work.

  8. michael says:

    Hi there,
    Having just listened to the ICF ethics talk, I see that you Teri state that you have “been a purposeful coaching leader since 1987, offering personal and professional coaching, coach training, and mentoring on five continents. ”

    Since ICF wasn’t founded until 1995….how do you reconcile the 8 years difference between the two in terms of the ICF definition of coaching and what you would say you were doing in 1987 since the ICF definition didn’t exist yet?

    • Michael:
      Good catch. Truth is that Teri is one of the pillars of the coaching industry in my opinion.
      IOW, her experience as a professional coach pre-dates ICF. In fact, she was the very first person to ever receive the MCC designation.
      Much of the Ethics which has been formed within ICF has been done with Teri’s help and guidance.
      ~ Michael Marx
      ICF Global Ethics Community of Practice Leader

  9. VS Kumar says:

    Respected Teri, Mr. Michael Marx,

    Thanks for the insights and case studies shared l The revised code of ethics , the tool designed for providing clarity on same is valued and appreciated. Good.

    VS Kumar

  10. Cherrie D says:

    Great thought provoking insights.

  11. Joanna Antkiewicz says:

    This article should be a must read for all who are managing internal coaching practicies. Much appreciated and will be shared with others ! Thank You!

  12. Yvan Dion says:

    Very good article: short, precise, good examples and scenarios. Gave me lots to reflect on as my business is both coaching and mediation (yes, the dreaded “dual hats”). Very useful. Merci !

  13. Michael Pomije says:

    I thoroughly enjoyed this article.
    It will help me with my clients and knowledge base.

    Best regards,
    Michael Pomije, PCC

  14. The article was valuable. It was clear and relevant
    It provided a useful compass for action as a coach.

  15. Excellent article! It gives many clear answers and different perspectives. Is it possible to find this article elsewhere? Can we use it in coach training?

  16. Fabian Orue says:

    Great and clear article…!! I A very thin line….separating our own thougths and perceptions from the ones of our clients. And this is indeed something to constantly be mindful about. Thank you…!!

  17. Charles says:

    Thank you, very usefull and clear examples. Inviting the client to look and see rather than giving advice! It’s true in all relationships. Once you start to approach your children this way, one empowers the child from within. That’s also powerful

  18. Maureen Gill says:

    Thanks for dealing with the difficulties of how to handle two roles.

  19. Ann says:

    Thank you for presenting the revised code of ethics in such an interesting format. I appreciate the examples provided here and it reconfirms for me the importance of clarifying ones role and liability at the contracting phase.

  20. Arlene Quinn says:

    Thanks for this clear article. Ethics is very important to me as a professional coach and my other worlds of training, facilitation. I am also bound be legislation as a Registered Nurse. It is valuable to reflect on each example and question what might I do is in a similar situation – well done thanks.

  21. Nancy says:

    An excellent article and one to read yearly as a reminder!

  22. France Wagner says:

    Thank you for this clear article ! As professional we have to be reminded on a regular basis. Our credibility as a coach is so important !

  23. Thank you very much this was most useful. The article helped to clarify grey areas

  24. Nancy says:

    Thank you very much for the article that helps with grey areas. To make sure we invite our clients to explore what they want to do instead of us giving them advice on what to do.

    Ethics is a very important part of building the trust in the relationship with the client. It helps them feel safe to explore and create new ideas. As the coach it is important that I realize my role and this was a great reminder.

  25. A very relevant article. Found the examples and the insights on ethics that we need to use as coaches very useful…especially the last line, when client asks advice, reflect !! Thank you Teri and Michael..Mohana Kotian

  26. Ray says:

    Thank-you for the article; I found it very informative. It gave me great examples of how to separate consulting from coaching.

  27. A definite pause is required. The examples are so relevant that applying them to our practise becomes simple & useful. The note on liability is very important for our “awareness to be mindful.”
    Thank you Teri & Michael for the insight.

  28. Suzanne says:

    Thank you for your clear exemples. This help us to clarify unconfortable situation.

  29. Judy Krings says:

    Really engaged the scenarios and thanks much!

  30. Thanks for clear examples, like coach is very important to reinforce idea to help the client increase awareness and responsibility, useful practical indication to according different space and time within coaching and consulting, different contract.

  31. Hi Teri and Michael, I found this article very interesting.
    Thanks so much for it and your intention to support our continue development

    Thanks so much again


  32. A phrase from my Results coach training comes up for me here….”let the client do the work, let the client do the work, let the client do the work!” And yes clients taking ownership for their own learning has such longevity to the changes they make, actions they take to ensure goal achievement – and their results and emotional journey married hand in hand can nurture their ‘being’ as the experiential ‘ah-ha’ moments are very powerful indeed. So, all up, minimise advice, maximise coaching.

  33. Kimberly Lufman - Sydney AUS says:

    Great article. I really like the case studies and perspectives shared here, its very important for our work and you wrote it in such an accessible way. Thanks!

  34. Gurudath says:

    I really liked the way this article brought out the conflicts that we can encounter as Coaches. Generally, before starting a coaching assignment, I actively tell myself that I will avoid a conflict of giving advice. But after now, I know where and how those conflicts can come up and more importantly, I am better equipped to handle those such situations when they creep up.

  35. Thank you for stating ‘ethics’ so clearly in the film and this article. People do ask me straight out whether I’m a psychologist or counselor, here in the Netherlands. The knowledge about the differences between the different professions is not wide spread. And choaching is not seen as a separate profession. Often coaching periods are a mix of counseling, coaching and support through a diffrerent kind of profession like intercedent work. Seeing this now for a while I like it very much my ICF has the Ethics so clearly and it helps me to be clear to my prospective and current clients. Personally the case about ‘referral commision’ and sharing of ‘hear say’ felt odd. Thanks!

  36. Dear Teri and Michael

    Just great reading. I have just been listening to the ICF etics talk and your “advice” gives great information about “not giving advice”.
    It was very interesting to read about whats going on in our brain, when we are offering advice.
    The Sopia example with the 3 steps were also very good. Furthermore the examples to separate coaching from consulting were very beneficial.
    So in the future be 200 % aware when somebody are asking “so what do you think I should do?”

  37. Trish Neill says:

    I am so pleased to come across such this article. It is so useful to consider the dilemmas presented here. I do hope there will be more articles like this.

  38. Kathy Harman says:

    What a great answer to “Should I give my client’s advice?” Clearly stated, and the examples bring the theory to life. I’m going to recommend this to every coach who asks me if it’s OK to give their clients advice.

  39. Thank you. This article is a helpful reminder of how to handle ourselves when asked for advice.

  40. LENI MATHEWS says:

    Thank you for sharing these articles. It helps reaffirm how to be a great coach with a whole brain client focused coaching approach. This can often be a challenging arena in corporate coaching.

  41. Dear Teri-E and Michael,

    Thank you for reinforcing this essential premise of our coaching practices. It is meaningful to understand this in the light of neuroscience, connecting with a whole brain coaching approach.
    I also appreciated the distinction of navigating while occupying dual roles. The various possible answers suggested in response to “What do you think I should I do?” are most helpful.

  42. Dear Teri-E and Michael,
    Thanks for the clarity, the opening of the answers with references to scientific research, to our role as a coach and especially the reference value of the service that we shall divide offer the coachee

  43. Aury Beltran says:

    Thank you both for the rational and the emotional examples of the coaching situations.
    Greetings from Puerto Rico!

  44. Johane Verdier says:

    So necessary to have articles like these. They are Thought provoking
    Commin sense using logic are not the only qualities when we coach.
    So happy to be part if the ICF
    Thank you

  45. This article is such a great reminder of the science of why it is better to engage our clients in thought provoking discussion rather than giving them our answers/advice!

    Very valuable.

  46. Thank you so much for this article. I loved all of it; more specifically to learn on how to brain react to advices. I truly appreciate being able to connect science to principles.

  47. Prem Kamath says:

    This used to be a dilemma for me when I was transiting from being a leadership development consultant after 5 years to become an executive coach 5 years ago. I like the conceptual framework of ‘Blended Coaching’ which does allow you to very sensitively handle the kinds of dilemmas presented in this blog/article. As a consultant you are expected by the client to ‘tell’ whereas as a coach you have to always ‘ask’…as I continue to be a consultant, I have found it a much better approach to ‘ask’ evocative questions to convey what I used to ‘tell’ when I was only a consultant; I believe that it now gets the client that I consult with to also participate in the thinking process.

  48. Ruchika Sethi says:

    Having been both the Head of HR as well as an internal/external coach, I found the article to be very insightful. Thanks.

  49. Dear Teri-E and Michael,

    Thank you so much for this insightful, thought provoking and very useful article !
    I particularly loved the dual roles/ potential conflicts of interest part and the many examples of reinforcing client awareness and mutual trust by not giving advice !

    Best from Paris

  50. Ana Mc Loughlin says:

    Thank you for this article. It is very useful and thought provoking. I love to have mini cases and dilemmas to review and think about. Frank dilemma is a very tough one, specially if, as is often the case in small HR departments, he ends up responsible for the communication of the layoffs.
    Thank you Teri and Michael.

    PS: I couldnt find ICF values in the Codeof Ethics.

  51. Guillermo Currielche says:

    Very good article. Ethics is something that needs to be in front of every coach

  52. Jerry says:

    Thank you so much for the Article. I am always in this situation as I work as “Agile Coach” (Working with software development teams) and almost all the time the people look at me for “solutions”. I try to balance the Coaching Vs Consulting talks and learnt the trick little bit (I can say so).

    Again I find Trust plays an important factor in this discussions.

    Once Again thank you so much for the wonderful article.

  53. Kathleen Hogan says:

    Merci beaucoup pour le vidéo et le texte. Les deux outils ont été forts intéresants

  54. Ed Grosso says:

    I loved looking at Ethics through multiple perspectives. It adds a great deal to the clarity of this vital subject. Thanks

  55. Ian Sellick says:

    Very timely refresher and offers a fresh perspective. Adds to clarity and was interesting!

  56. Karen Oliver says:

    Many thanks for a very interesting article. The examples and questions increase awareness and highlight in a practical way the importance of Ethical Guidelines in all coaching situations.

  57. Other than the reminder about how to handle the expert v coach dilemma, I was delighted to see writing that brings in neuroscience. As a Lead Trainer in a Brain Based Coaching Program for many years, I teach what happens in the brain when we come to our own insight as compared to being advised on a course of action. Once I learnt about the differences in our brain’s activity when coming to insight compared to just receiving a viewpoint from a coach, I now see how little value advice really has. Great article, thanks!

  58. Lav says:

    Very interesting and well written article. And glad to reaffirm my belief in separating coaching from consulting or advising.

  59. Maria says:

    I agree with Lav. It is a vital element of a good coaching practice.

  60. LILIANA says:

    Thanks for the clear examples, and for this interesting and well written article.

  61. Thanks for the timely and helpful information. Coaches must separate coaching from consulting.

  62. Hye Yeon, Kim says:

    The article reminds me once more coaching’s fundamental ethic and role. Thank you very much.

  63. Barb Girson says:

    Thank you for this thought-provoking article. Giving advice is the easy way out for the coach and client. This article illustrates this point well. With the explanation that the the brain offloads and goes into neutral when taking in advice and the client is not fully engaged, it is a strong reminder to refrain from dispensing solutions.

    I also appreciated the recommendations on how to respond when a client asks for advice such as:
    1. Thanking them for asking
    2. Respond with general experience or how other’s have done things
    3. Help to extend the client learning after engaging in brainstorming together for answers by asking how and where else the information will be helpful to them.

    Thanks again for this article. A worthwhile read!

  64. David Waggoner says:

    Great message!

    I work as an external and internal coach. The lines of Advice Giving often blur. Always a great reminder to be crystal clear to our clients in what context we are responding. The more communication the better. Leave nothing to chance.

    Thank you! David

  65. Padmini says:

    Being a coach is not easy. It requires a certain degree of effacement of one’s ego – to set aside one’s views and one’s need to to be in the space of knowing. Coaching practice definitely can bring about a great degree of emotional maturityto the coach!

  66. Gultekin Dogan says:

    Hello there,
    I would like to thank my distinguished colleagues for telling the difference between coaching and advice in a simple and clear way.
    This article has not allowed me to remember my 10 years of professional coaching memories and my own success.
    In my coaching, I would like to do 2 applications from the customer when I recommend it.
    1- … who can help you in this regard by telling you about your experiences? (brainstorming)
    2- I practice my “mentoring table” which is a coaching technique.

    It will make me happy to be fascinated by these practices. With love,

  67. roz says:

    Thanks for clear examples, like coach is very important to reinforce idea to help the client increase awareness and responsibility, useful practical indication to according different space and time within coaching and consulting, different contract.

  68. Otto Siegel says:

    This is very helpful and thought provoking! I loved the clear and concise language.

  69. Maria Vieira says:

    Very clear and precise position to maintain in alignment with the Code. Thank you.

  70. Sophia Schweitzer says:

    Thank you for this clear article. I especially appreciated the learning available in the real-life dilemma examples. And the reminder about the fully engaged brain for effective decision making. Thank you.

  71. Beth Green says:

    Teri, I just listened to your discussion on ethics and read this article – you are still the wise sage! I sincerely appreciate your wisdom and commitment to the profession of coaching.

  72. Marjorie Melzer says:

    Thank you Teri and Michael. This is a very thought-provoking article. I love the part where you talk about how the brain offloads and goes into neutral when taking in advice and the client is not fully engaged. The advise regarding how to respond when asked for advise is very insightful and helpful. I would appreciate seeing more such articles. Thanks again.

  73. Udayakumar Gopalakrishnan says:

    I found this article, extremely insightful. Since I play the two different roles of being a Consultant & Coach, while partnering a few corporate clients, in my professional practice, this learning helps me to pay more attention to the aspect of not rendering advice, while donning the Coach’s cap. Going forward, this serves as a reinforcement and caution to be more careful to distinguish & clarify to my clients. I resolve to practice an approach of seeking a separate meeting context and location, to provide consulting support and ensure to communicate and maintain the boundaries. Thanks ICF, for helping me sustain this clarity.

  74. Raffaele Costanzo says:

    Thank you for this article and for keeping high the attention on ethics in coaching. I found it’s really true that giving advices may give personal satisfaction to the coach and, only apparently, be in the interest of the client. IN my experience, looking at the coaching effectiveness, it’s clear that giving advices is much less powerful for clients’ developement than increasing awareness and responsibility: this is the way to do it. Thank you again.

  75. Thanks so much for sharing this.

  76. Cecilia Gromark says:

    It was worthful to follow all comments and the clearifying it gaves about giving advice. Thanks a lot

  77. Mary Allen says:

    Appreciate this article immensely!!! Especially loved the experiment of giving a client two different ways to receive support — and discovered the “coaching” was more powerful than the “consulting” advice.

  78. Jagdish Kini says:

    Thank you for the inputs, very relevant and thought provoking. Thank you the insight that with advise we take on the liability. The video also was very informative.

    Thank you >>>>Jagdish

  79. Janet Humdy Morrison says:

    Great reminder and good information about what goes on in the brain.

  80. Diane Dreher says:

    Great reminder! As coaches, we want to support our clients in finding their own answers and connecting with their power.

  81. Hanna Sedal says:

    Thanks a lot for charing examples. They are useful reminders. And thanks for all the important work that helps keeping the ICF’s ethical standard high and well known to all ICF certiied coaches.

  82. Love this article a lot. The example makes readers easily related to our work.
    Thanks for sharing.

  83. Appreciate the thoughtfulness and languaging that was used in this article. I have found myself having to share these messages with clients in past years. I am very grateful for the clarity expressed in this article. Thank you – great language with great clarity for a constant reminder of how we show up as coaches and professionals.

  84. says:

    Merci de ce rappel. il est très important que le coach et le caoché sachent tous les deux.. quelle casquette vous portez. Celle ce conseiller ou celle de coach. Clarifier la relation et la posture est essentielle. Au delà des soucis juridiques et éthiques évidents, la clarification de la posture est une aide à la qualité de la relation entre le coach et son client.

  85. Thanks for this interesting and necessary article. I now have much more clarity about the standards of ethics as a coach. This is a daily challenge for me and this article provides me real examples that will help me to be a better coach. Congratulations! It would be useful if ICF create a CCE longer course on this subject in the future.

  86. says:

    Thank you; very interesting article providing realistic, typical dilemmas.

  87. says:

    Very informative and thought provoking article. My awareness of potential ethical conflicts has been heightened as a result of the information provided here. Thanks so much for your work in this regard!

  88. Clara Beleiro says:

    Thank you very much for sharing these examples. Clear, to the point, easy to relate with and nice to refer coaching students to. Regards

  89. Helen says:

    Practical and useful both video and article, many tks!

  90. says:

    Great article and very useful especially for those of us who stradle an advisory and coaching role.

  91. Patty Chan says:

    A great article for me to create a greater awareness how to perform our roles “appropriately” in our daily situations.

  92. Luca Barcellini says:

    Very interesting article, thank you. Let me add a comment on a strange opposite situation that could be confusing too. Sometimes a coachee, even if the coach did not provide any advice, he/she got the feeling to recive it… It could happen that the coachee confuses their own insights with advices coming from the coach, it happens more easily when coachee is particularly poor in self confidence and he/she is not able to recognize the value of own discovery. In that case coach should underline he/she got the insight indipendently and celebrate the valuable results. Enjoy your coaching!

  93. says:

    Thank you for keeping this information in front of the community. The content in the article is what makes learning from each other relevant. I am reminded of the words of Judith E. Glaser, “words matter”. In addition, I have heard, “it is not just what you said but how you said it.” I agree that, if we want to connect with others, we must meet people at the feeling and thinking part of the brain and know the power our trusting energy. When we give advice, we take away positive energy. I enjoy understanding the advantage of shared learning.

  94. says:

    I have appreciated this article for the way it highlights very well the importance of helping the client increase awareness and responsibility, despite her waiting an advice from the coach.
    It is wise to remind the commuty that the client might hold us liable for any action he takes, might she perceive that we gave advice, regardless of whether we did or not.

  95. says:

    Roles clarification is a key in a relation with the client. Role can be changed but it must be confirmed, clearly announced and executed.

  96. says:

    I really like how each of these do go back to having a clear agreement with our clients even outside the coaching arena. To spend time with our clients in this way inside and outside coaching is not only wise but continues to bring value to the relationship also included in other coaching core competencies.

  97. says:

    merci cela a été très éclairant

  98. says:

    Great article! Perspectives here are very useful as a coach.

  99. says:

    Great article! Thank you.

  100. says:

    Loved the article as well as the video. The case studies were telling and brought home the point of what a fine line we coaches have to walk. Much of it is common sense which alas isn’t so common.

    I loved the connection to neuroscience and what happens when the client brings all of their being to their thinking.

    Thank you!

  101. Stephanie Jo Gomez says:

    The timing of this read could not be better to reinforce behavior. I just got off a coaching call earlier today where I had to navigate between internal coach and consultant. I paused, I chose carefully, I thought about stating, “I’m going to take off my coaching hat for a minute.” I paused some more and dove into more questioning. I eventually took off the coaching hat, offered a different perspective that I’ve seen done and then moved into questioning, asking the client to identify pros and cons, etc. … ultimately allowing the client to make a decision on the approach and truly understand the “why” behind it. Thank you for writing and sharing!

  102. says:

    After reading this article yesterday, I was challenged by a client today who wanted my opinion on her situation.
    I was pleased to be equipped to answer without giving my opinion on her situation, explaining to her that we had different life experience and culture so that my opinion should not be important for her.
    I also reminded her that she had (shortly before this question) decided to live her own life without following pressure from others.

  103. says:

    It is a great combination of information and application. It clearly enfatize our prime obligations as Coaches and the right way to change the rol to give an advice knowing the consequences in regard of responsibilities.

    Sincerely, Maribel

  104. says:

    Thanks, very helpful and useful!

  105. says:

    Thank you so for for the opportunity to think one more time about this important issue.

    I think it would be interessing and useful if you wirte an article distiguishing “giving advice” from “partnering braintorm”


    Thais Brito Catalano

  106. Audrey says:

    Great article, thank you!

  107. says:

    Very good article. Serves as a reminder to be more mindful when asked by a coaching client “What would you do” . Checking our egos and intention can reinforce those boundaries.

  108. says:

    really good examples and cases. inspiring.

  109. says:

    Interesting case,

  110. says:

    Very informative article!

  111. says:

    This article is a great refresher, as well as offering examples from different perspectives as I continue to gain experience as a coach. Thanks!

  112. Allen Mubaiwa says:

    Very informative. I liked the balance view to offering advice. As a coach it is prudent not to offer advice.

  113. says:

    Very informative and provides good examples to clarify the actual implementation of the concepts. Thank you

  114. says:

    Great examples! These things happen at all times in our day to day and we do not always reflect on the points/details addressed. The ease in giving an opinion is tempting. Fortunately, having this foundation helps us to be better coaches and not consultants!

  115. says:

    Muchas gracias por el artículo, nos da claridad en el ejercicio de nuestro rol como coaches, bien claro el acompañar a reflexionar y dar el consejo.

  116. says:

    Great article, concrete situations. It reinforces the importance to distinguish between coaching and consulting/providing advice.

  117. says:

    Great article, thank you! Clear and concrete. It is very helpful to think about the situations mentioned.

  118. says:

    Most helpful and a great reminder of my responsibilities as a professional coach. Especially helpful is the emphasis on clarity of understanding between coach & client. Thank you for this learning opportunity.

  119. says:

    Very enlightening! thank you for this opportunity. PI

  120. Massimo says:

    Thank you very much, great article, clear and helpful!

  121. says:

    Very interesting and a great reminder!

  122. says:

    Thank you for clearly understanding my role and responsibilities as a professional coach!

  123. says:

    Thank you for clearly understanding my role as a professional coach!

  124. says:

    this is really interesting…remind me how important it is.

  125. Muchas gracias por compartir este artículo con ejemplos tan prácticos,

  126. says:

    Great article and reminder that to maximize the engagement with the client we as coaches through the emotive and relational channels. I love the insights on how the brain works to inform clients as they explore options.

  127. says:

    Quite valuable.

  128. says:

    Non è facile non incorrere nell’errore di fornire “consigli” ricorrendo alle nostre esperienze vissute soprattutto quando la situazione che ci viene presentata ci risulta familiare.
    Grazie per le indicazioni fornite su come bisogna rimanere concentrati sul ruolo che si ricopre.

  129. says:

    Very interesting article. I do believe that coaching (asking good questions) is more effective than counseling or giving advice. Many ask me to help them to move from management to leadership and although it is much easier to provide them with the information (ie how to become a leader), it is of great use to ask them: “according to you what is the difference between a manager and a leader?”, “what makes great leadership?” etc…and surprisingly they come with the right answers!

  130. Tor Harstrup says:

    To me the most clarifying part in this article was about the brains neocortex ‘offloads’ while it is taking advice and how we also need to involve the emotive and sensory in the learning and dessision making proces. Furthermore the examples of how to turn provided information into learning experiences in wish the client can gain awareness and take ownership.

  131. says:

    Thanks for the valuable reminder that when I’m giving advice my client’s brain is, basically, disconnected! I also appreciate the attention the authors paid to making clear distinctions which “hat” I’m wearing if functioning in a dual role.

  132. says:

    Thank you for sharing this valuable information and excellent examples of possible situations coaches may encounter. I particularly appreciated the information on how the brain “offloads” and goes into neutral while taking in advice which compromises what we as coaches are wanting for our clients.

  133. says:

    Great reminder to be conscious of the roles we are in and very much liked the point that even if we are clear in our roles as a coach vs. consulting, the client may not be and can feel confused.

  134. says:

    Succinct and apt to be conscious about Coach’s role.

  135. says:

    Great point… however you intend to frame it (as consultant vs. as coach) the client will remember it the way they remember it.. and if there’s a loss involved, it will have an emotional anchor to boot! Thank you!

  136. Alyse Ashton says:

    Thank you – great power in the data that the brain “offloads” when receiving advice and it doesn’t embed in the neo-cortex.

  137. says:

    Thank you. very interesting and helpful

  138. says:

    Thank you! Interesting stuff about the brain and what it activates on.

  139. says:

    Great article, concrete and clarifying examples. Thank you!

  140. says:

    Thank you for this informaiton on Ethics. It is a constant reminder to me of the boundaries I need to adhere to as a professional coach.

  141. says:

    Thank you so much for this insightful article. The issues you discussed reminded me of the exercise I put in my book “Today is Your Day:Coaching from This Moment On” (America Star Books, 2014) about limits and boundaries. Knowing which hat to wear during a coaching situation helps us to “put down an anchor” for reference and determine our “longitude and latitude” for appropriate and effective coaching. This article and the issues you raised are ongoing benchmark, brainstorming considerations.

  142. says:

    Thank you for this highly interesting article. It was very insightful and helpful indeed.

  143. says:

    Fantastic Article! Very Helpful!

  144. partha says:

    a great source of information …very simple practices yet deep in practice…being independent and making the client responsible for their outcomes.

  145. says:

    The article was a good review and reminder of professionalism.
    Dr. Carol McCall

  146. says:

    Great reminders – such as the brain’s true ability to be engaged during times when advice is or isn’t present

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