Leaders as Coaches: Towards a Code of Ethics

Publication Name

Journal of Applied Behavioral Science


Building on the relational leadership model, this study investigates ethical leadership in the context of “leaders as coaches.” We used a critical incident technique to identify ethical issues that occur when leaders act as coaches in the leader-follower relationship. Findings show seven ethical issues, namely, definition ambiguity, conflict of interest, confidentiality, power imbalance, freedom to participate, boundaries and favoritism. These ethical issues take a two-edged form for leaders as coaches, given the complexity of the leader-follower relationship. The increasing prevalence of managerial coaching makes it important to pre-empt ethical issues where possible and address any that arise, in order for an organization to become or continue to be an ethical organization. A proposed code of ethics, specifically for leaders as coaches, could accompany organizational change initiatives.

Open Access Status

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Link to publisher version (DOI)