used with mobile nav - no delete
A Client Submits A Formal Complaint! What Then?

A Client Submits A Formal Complaint! What Then?

By Mary Verstraete

As a coach, you hope that there is never a complaint about you. The fact is, as more coaches are working within organizations or have their own coaching business, a natural result will be an increase of complaints. In addition to the coaching agreement, and you and the client having an understanding of the details of that agreement, there is a process that can help protect you against false or inaccurate complaints.

First. Have a clear understanding of coaching ethics and a commitment to apply high ethical standards in your coaching business.

  • The International Coach Federation has developed a Code of Ethics (Code) to promote professional and ethical coaching practices and to raise awareness outside the coaching profession of the integrity, commitment, and ethical conduct of ICF Members and ICF Credentialed coaches.
  • Take an Ethics course and be well versed in Ethics to ensure that you understand the Code and are applying it to your coaching methods and business practices. Resource book: Law and Ethics in Coaching by Patrick Williams and Sharon K. Anderson

Second. Consider being a member of the International Coaching Federation (ICF).

  • ICF has created a forum where individuals can bring complaints about alleged breaches of the Code by ICF Members and ICF Credentialed coaches.
  • ICF provides review, investigation, and a response to alleged unethical practices or behavior deviating from the established ICF Code.

Third. For ICF members and ICF credentialed coaches, there is an Ethical Conduct Review (ECR) provided for any complaint submitted to ICF.

The ECR is intended to:

  • Serve as a “model of excellence” for the fair review of complaints concerning the ethical conduct of ICF Members and ICF Credentialed coaches.
  • Be responsive to complaints concerning experiences believed to be breaches of the Code by ICF Members and ICF Credentialed coaches.

Click here for a download of the complete ECR process.

Finally, be proactive to ensure that your coaching agreement is protecting you.

  • An agreement represents your relationship with a client and it's crucial to include standard clauses covering all angles to help legally protect you and your client.
  • The Center for Coaching Excellence has created a coaching agreement template using the International Coaching Federation Ethics Committee guidelines and we would like to share it with you. You have the liberty to brand the agreement for your coaching business. Check out our 2018 Webinars for more information.

We can't count on the hope of never having a formal complaint submitted about us. Being prepared if it does happen is one way of protecting your business and your clients.

Adding Efficiency To Your Day

Adding Efficiency To Your Day

I've always appreciated books on time management. If you're a small business owner like myself, I'm sure you've found that efficiency is important. A recent book that has a fresh, practical approach to this concept is The Daily Edge: Simple Strategies to Increase Efficiency and Make an Impact Every Day by Dave Horsager. Dave is a highly organized individual and has developed concepts that helped him to increase his own effectiveness. Now he has shared those same concepts that he uses every day personally and with his team. Here are just a few excerpts from his book:

Focus. Modern culture, with all of its technology and time-saving gadgets, has left us with a distorted view of productivity. Our image of productivity is the power executive handling two calls and a text message while wowing a big client at the same time.

The reality is that those sorts of habits are unproductive. Humans are simply more efficient and effective when they concentrate. That is, you can do five things better and faster by doing them one at a time, with your mind focused on each single task.

 It doesn't matter if you're working on the most important proposal of your life or an e-mail to your manager. You will do a better job if you're focused on what is right in front of you. Decide which task gets your attention and then focus on only that one until it is finished.


Eliminate distractions. Cell phones, e-mail, and even open office doors can can invite unwanted interruptions. It's not just the time that interruption takes, but more significant than that is the time it takes you to get you mind back to a focused productive state.

There is an incredible amount of time and productivity lost in the, "Now, where was I?" state. Eliminate anything that is likely to pull your attention away from the task at hand.


Keep sticky notes handy. By placing a pad nearby, but out of your field of vision, you give yourself an outlet for any thoughts or ideas that might come to you. For instance, if you're working on a quarterly report, and you remember that you need to make an important call, simply jot it down. You can review the note later, and the act of writing it should clear it from your mind.

If you have enjoyed these simple and practical tips, I encourage you to order Dave's book for many more tips to help you in efficiency, focus, and staying organized. Click here for the The Daily Edge on Amazon.

Mary is a leadership consultant and coach. She works with ambitious business professionals who want to leverage their leadership.

As a business consultant, Mary works with organizations to establish a culture of synergistic teams, systems and processes for greater employee engagement, employee loyalty, and communication effectiveness. 

Mary is President and Cofounder of the Center for Coaching Excellence, a distinctive training organization that focuses on developing highly competent coaches through a mentor-training approach and a training model of coaching that easily transitions into professional and personal conversations. She continues to expanded coaching into diverse industries by developing customized coach training used in companies such as ExxonMobil, Chevron, and MJ Senior Housing.

To contact Mary, call: 612.246.4787

 I couldn't be happier with the training. As a professional coach, I’m now involved in living my vision of being an agent for positive change in people's lives.

Alan Smith
CBMC Northland Area Associate Director