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Case Studies and Questions to Ask Yourself

15 min read


Thank-you to ICF Ethics & Standard Education Committee for this dilemma

Your coaching business has been growing steadily but the administration of your business is taking up too much time and energy from what you really love to do – which is coach.

One day at the car wash, you see a business card for a virtual assistant (VA) and decide to try it out. You contact the VA who tells you how it works, what the fee is and promises to send you a contract. She never mentions confidentiality and you never ask.

You sign and mail the contract and once you start working with the VA you noticean immediate improvement to your business. It’s hard to believe how much more focused you are now that you don’t have to spend your time and effort on the administrative part of your business, which drove you crazy!

A couple of months later, while trying to close a contract with a new sponsor company, the VP of HR discusses the company’s confidentiality policy regarding coaching and asks you what your policy is.

She states that she’s extra aware now because her sister in law, who’s a VA in your state, has shared some client stories and mentioned names that the VP recognized as their competitor’s CFO and product manager.

You explain your confidentiality policy and promise that nothing like that would ever happen with you. You add that as a member of the ICF you uphold the highest ethical standards in coaching and that probably the other coach did not have as much experience as yourself in the business.

Out of curiosity you casually ask who the VA is and to your horror, she mentions the name of your VA as well as the competitor’s names of the CFO and product manager, both of whom are your clients.


  1. Identify concern (s) – where your intuition is speaking
  2. Identify relevant ICF standard(s) that come to play
  3. Identify relevant CCE standard(s) that come to play
  4. Identify possible course correction
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