AoCS Ethical Position

(Last updated March 2020)

As a principle, AoCS endorses and supports the GLOBAL CODE OF ETHICS for Coaches and Mentors, as agreed by the EMCC and AC associations in 2016

Specifically, AoCS requires that its members support themselves in supervision, irrespective of the level of training, qualifications gained, or membership of professional organisations they hold. And that they actively stay abreast of developments in their field by participating in CPD – webinars, conferences, forums, reading, reflective practice, etc. - and by keeping themselves informed of coaching/supervision issues.

Members should ensure compliance with the relevant legal, ethical, and professional guidelines in force in their home country. The role of the supervisor includes monitoring the ethical practice and professional development of their supervisees, in the service of the supervisee’s clients.

Supervisors should maintain professional indemnity insurance (where available) to protect themselves from claims. This cover will be checked on application and is part of their annual renewal.

If a supervisee or client has an issue with a supervisor’s practice or specific activity, they should complete a Complaint against that supervisor, as described in our Complaints Procedure

Guidelines for members

The supervisor will create the appropriate environment for themselves and the supervisee, and ensure personal safety at all times by adhering to the “lone worker” guidelines*.

Contracting: the supervisor should make and keep to confidentiality agreements the supervisee and the host organisation, if relevant. Exceptions would be where the issues raised are too serious involving, for example, actual or criminal acts, health and safety, bullying, blatant sexism or racism, fraud, or substance abuse that is affecting his/her supervision role.

The supervisor will be alert to noticing when a supervisee is no longer be benefiting from the supervisory relationship and might therefore be better served by another supervisor. He/she will raise his/her concern and, as appropriate, negotiate a change. This might include supporting the supervisee in finding another supervisor; he/she will encourage the supervisee to make that change.

The supervisor should notice feelings of unease and stop, refer or seek support if she/he is worried about ethical boundaries or getting out of their depth i.e. into a counselling or therapist role which they are not trained for. 

The supervisor will acknowledge the work and contributions of others; will respect copyrights, trademarks and intellectual property rights and will comply with applicable country laws and agreements concerning these rights.

The supervisor should keep the supervision relationship professional at all times and regularly monitor the boundaries. She/he will not give supervisees or any prospective client’s information or advice which breaches confidentiality, is known to be confidential, is misleading or is beyond his/her competence.

The supervisor will ensure that they are in regular supervision themselves and maintain their CPD as a supervisor. Supervisors should take significant issues, either ‘big’ or ‘small’, to their own supervisor or supervision group to discuss and resolve.

Notes from supervision work - including notes made during conversations, correspondence, electronically-stored documents, and audio and video recordings - will remain confidential and will comply with the relevant General Data Protection Regulation in force.

If the supervisor anticipates a potential, or sees an actual, conflict of interest with the supervisee or the commissioning organisation he/she will declare this immediately and clearly with the affected parties. If this conflict cannot be resolved satisfactorily, the supervisor may withdraw their services.

The supervisor will endeavour to be well enough physically, mentally and emotionally at all times to be in the service of the supervisee. If a positive state of health cannot be ensured the supervisor will withdraw their services and may recommend an alternative solution.

The supervisor may from time to time issue certificates of current supervision (as requested) if the supervisee maintains their CPD and personal development plan, and is working towards/achieving the goals agreed to develop their practice. The supervisor may withdraw these certificates and may terminate the contract if the supervisee’s practice is unethical, bad practice or illegal. She/he may also retain the option to report the supervisee to their certifying coaching organisation for serious breaches of conduct.

The professional relationship between supervisor and supervisees is defined by the contract and ends when the contract comes to an end. However, there are certain professional obligations that exist even after the contract is ended. These refer to the following points: • Maintaining confidentiality • Not exploiting the former relationship • Taking any after-care action as necessary


AoCS may from time-to-time allow sponsorship from relevant organisations, however, no endorsement or recommendation of their products or services is implied by this sponsorship. We aim to position a sponsor's promotion clearly as 'adverts' in any communications to members, such as in brochures, Newsletters, etc., so that members always have choice in the marketplace.

© Association of Coaching Supervisors, 2020

Every 3 years, or more regularly if necessary, AoCS shall formally check, modify, and reissue these guidelines in the light of current practice.


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