Chapter 2

Foundations of Professional Ethics

Karen Colby Weiner

Objective

This chapter explores the history of ethics, first in the context of its philosophical underpinnings, and then through a look at the evolution of codes of ethics. The reader might question the importance of philosophy to ethics. In fact, philosophy and ethics are inextricably linked. First, the foci of ethics and the content of ethics codes are based on philosophy. Therefore, a discussion of philosophy is necessary to understand ethics in depth. Second, ethics and ethics codes are constantly subject to interpretation. Without an awareness of the philosophical thought that underlies ethics, appropriate interpretation is difficult. This review of both the philosophy and the codification of ethics provides a context within which to understand the current ethical principles of coaching, and, in fact, of all professions.

Pre-Chapter Self-Assessment Test

To begin the discussion of professional ethics, consider the following statements and decide whether you believe them to be true or false:

1. As coaches, we must allow clients to discover their own rules about what is good and bad.

a. True

b. False

2. Whatever permits our clients to have pleasure in their lives is always good.

a. True

b. False

3. Benefiting others is always a part of what is considered good.

a. True

b. False

4. People have a natural tendency to be good.

a. True

b. False

5. Some acts of morality are necessary, regardless of their consequences for ...

Get Law and Ethics in Coaching now with O’Reilly online learning.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from 200+ publishers.