Should coaching adopt an ethical stance?

I?ve been reading a text by Simon Western, ?Coaching and Mentoring: A Critical Text? in which he discusses the role of ethics in coaching. Ethics in coaching is generally understood in the context of how the coach interacts with the coachee and, where relevant, the sponsoring organisation. However, Western contends?that coaches should attend to the ethical stance that informs the reason for choosing their profession. He contends that coaching should be an emancipatory activity and that the alternative is it becomes an instrumental project serving only to promote efficiency, productivity, profit goals and performance. Focusing on performance improvement is an organisational necessity. However, Western contends that without an ?emancipatory? framework which takes into account systemic impacts of organisations in the social, political and economic spheres, a pure focus on organisational?performance will perpetuate the accumulated problems of modernity ?- social inequity, climate change and environmental destruction for example. In effect Western is suggesting that coaches should ask themselves not only if their interventions might improve personal and organisational performance, but also what might be?the wider systemic implications of this improved?performance? For example, should coaches be involved in improving the organisational performance of companies selling cigarettes or gambling services, or should their activities?support organisations whose profitability is premised on the exploitation of cheap labour in less developed nations? If coaching is a force for change, how do we as coaches attend to the change we are co-creating and who is that change touching and in what way?

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