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Preamble and Notes
Complaint Resolution
Selected References

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Keeping in mind the educational and supportive nature of Life Skills, this Code of Ethics (Code) is intended to encourage growth and understanding in and among those involved in Life Skills in BC. It is a framework, designed to invite dialogue and resolution about ethical issues in Life Skills. The Code provides a structure within which disputants may safely and constructively resolve their differences, guidelines for developing ethically based courses of action, and ethical ideals to which to aspire. It is a living document, meant to mature with experience and input from our membership.

Why have a Code of Ethics?

What are Ethics?

What is moral?

A Code of Ethics (or Ethical Standards) speaks to the implementation of ethical values.
Underneath the guidelines are values that coaches hold.

The proposed Code is intended to credit coaches with the ability to exercise discretion when deciding and acting in the best interest of clients, and charges coaches with the responsibility to do so.

Three major influences on our process:

  1. Ethics Committee guest speaker Mary Wilson, of the BC Colleges and Institutes Counsellor’s Association (CICA) provided valuable resources that guided and stimulated the committee’s thought and saved it hours of work;

  2. the Saskatchewan Life Skills Association’s Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct, upon which the committee ultimately based this draft;

  3. the Complaint Proceedings of the Alberta government’s Professional and Occupational Associations Registration Act.

Two decision making models provided by Mary Wilson:

Model One:

  1. Describe the parameters of the situation.
  2. Define the potential issues involved.
  3. Consult the guidelines, if any, already available that might apply to the resolution of each issue.
  4. Evaluate the rights, responsibilities and welfare of all affected parties.
  5. Generate the alternate decisions possible for each issue.
  6. Enumerate the consequences of making each decision.
  7. Present any evidence that the various consequences or benefits resulting from each decision will actually occur.
  8. Make the decision.

Model Two:

  1. Identification of ethically relevant issues and practices.
  2. Development of alternative courses of action.
  3. Analysis of likely short-term, ongoing and long term risks and benefits of each course of action on the individual(s) or group(s) affected (eg client, client’s family or employees, institution, colleagues, profession, society, self).
  4. Choice of course of action after conscientious application of existing principles, values and standards.
  5. Action, with a commitment to assume responsibility for the consequences.
  6. Evaluation of the course of action.
  7. Assumption of responsibility for consequences of action, including correction of negative consequences of any, or re-engaging in decision making process if ethical issue is not resolved.


“It would appear that judgment based on gossip is not ethical!” (Martin Dicken, Ethics Ctee. mtg. 26/10/95)

“Committee members liked the booklet format of the BC Social Workers’ Code of Ethics as one to model for ours.” (Minutes of Ethics Ctee. mtg. 26/11/95)

“Personal responsibility entails giving one’s best efforts and reasonable consideration to all aspects of a situation when making a decision.” (CICA Code of Ethics)

LSCABC Ethics Table of Contents



The profession of Life Skills is dedicated to providing an environment in which individuals can freely choose to acquire the skills necessary to function effectively and successfully in their own lives. It is not possible to foresee every situation that the Life Skills coach may encounter. Therefore, the basic ethical principles in Life Skills are necessarily extremely wide and quite general. Life Skills coaches must exercise personal judgment and ethical reflection. In each ethical situation the intent of the Life Skills coach is to benefit and not harm individuals.

LSCABC Ethics Table of Contents



This Code provides for ethical standards and behaviours of Life Skills coaches practicing within the province of British Columbia and/or who are members of the Life Skills Coaches Association of British Columbia (the Association). This policy as updated and amended from time to time is binding upon all members of the Association.

LSCABC Ethics Table of Contents



It is the objective of the Association that the following Code will:

  1. Provide a means for individual Life Skills coaches to evaluate their own ethical standards and behaviours and make adjustments if necessary to meet the established standards.
  2. Provide a means for participants of Life Skills programs to evaluate the standards and practices used by their coaches and to validate that participants are receiving professional and ethically sound training and development.
  3. Provide a means for employers to evaluate the standards and behaviours of Life Skills coaches to ensure a high ethical standard is being met.
  4. Provide a means to educate the public and to promote the high ethical standards practiced by members of the Association.
  5. Provide a means for the Association’s Ethics Committee and the Board of Directors (the Board) to resolve grievances about the professional behaviour of Life Skills coaches.

LSCABC Ethics Table of Contents



The profession of Life Skills holds respect for the worth, dignity and capability of every human being as its primary value. Therefore, Life Skills coaches shall not discriminate against anyone on the basis of race, colour, language, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, physical and mental ability, economic condition or national ancestry. Furthermore, they shall work towards preventing and eliminating such discrimination in rendering service, in work assignments and in employment practices. The profession of Life Skills affirms that all people have the right to well-being. In addition, all people have the right to learn the skills necessary for the development of human relationships and that each person has the right to self-determination with due regard to the rights of others.

LSCABC Ethics Table of Contents



I. Responsibility of Confidentiality
II. Responsibility to Self
III. Responsibility to Group and Individuals
IV. Responsibility to the Employer
V. Responsibility to the Profession
VI. Responsibility to the Community

LSCABC Ethics Table of Contents


Values Statement

The commitment to confidentiality fosters open communication and is essential to effective Life Skills work. Concerns about privacy and confidential matters arise throughout the entire professional relationship, from intake to after the contract has ended.

Standards of Professional Conduct

  1. Accept that individuals are the primary source of information about themselves and their issues.
  2. Explain to individuals the legal limitations to confidentiality and disclose such information only when authorized by individuals or when obligated legally to do so, such as necessary to prevent a crime or to prevent individuals from doing harm to themselves or to others. Recognize that such disclosure should not be made without great care or without the individuals’ knowledge unless informing individuals would impede the due process of law or endanger someone.
  3. Ensure that information recorded about individuals can be justifiably supported as either being related to their behaviour in the program or be a requirement of the employer for administrative accountability or research needs.
  4. Permit individuals the opportunity to check the accuracy of all data in their files as they have the right to know what their records contain.
  5. Protect the privacy of individuals according to the current government regulations.
  6. Disclose client information only to the extent necessary to defend one’s self, one’s colleagues or employers against allegations of malpractice or misconduct.

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Values Statement

In private life or professional activity, an individual Life Skills coach’s behaviour reflects upon the profession as a whole.

Standards of Professional Conduct

  1. Review this Code on an annual basis, evaluate one’s actions and behaviours, and make any necessary changes to ensure that one is upholding and subscribing to this Code in spirit as well as in the letter.
  2. Accurately identify one’s qualifications, both verbally and in writing.
  3. Avoid claiming or implying any personal capabilities or professional qualifications beyond those one has actually attained, recognizing that competency gained in one field of activity must not be used to improperly imply competency in another.
  4. Strive to know one’s professional limitations.
  5. Refrain from using a position of trust to receive special benefits, financial or personal gain.
  6. Accept full responsibility for the consequences of one’s own actions and decisions and to be accountable for them.
  7. Maintain personal physical and psychological well-being, including healthy personal support systems, to ensure ongoing professional competence and avoidance of conditions which could result in impaired judgment.
  8. Seek appropriate counsel or support to deal with personal issues that may interfere with appropriate coach/client relationships.
  9. Seek consultation and/or support, and give due regard to advice received in arriving at a responsible decision when faced with a difficult issue related to Life Skills.
  10. Maintain self-awareness ie: Be aware of personal needs, feelings, values, and limitations which may interfere with the group and the individuals in the group process.
  11. Accept personal responsibility for continued professional competency and utilize ongoing self-evaluation, peer support, consultation, supervision, continuing education and/or personal therapy to evaluate one’s strengths, limitations, biases or levels of effectiveness as a Life Skills coach; always striving for self-improvement in one’s professional knowledge, one’s skills and abilities, one’s work with groups and individuals, and one’s emotional well-being.
  12. Participate in ongoing professional development, continuing in and contributing to Life Skills coaching knowledge and education, and liaison with colleagues and other professional associations relevant to one’s field.

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Values Statement

Life Skills coaches recognize their primary professional responsibility under all circumstances is to the group and individuals they are serving. Life Skills coaches recognize that they bear a considerable social responsibility because their recommendations and professional actions influence the lives of others.

Standards of Professional Conduct

  1. Undertake group or individual facilitation that one believes one is personally and professionally capable of handling.
  2. Recognize the intense level of affective involvement inherent in a professional relationship. Ensure that the difference between professional and personal involvement with individuals is explicitly understood and respected and that one’s behaviour as a Life Skills coach is appropriately professional.
  3. Accept that as a Life Skills coach, one is an authoritative figure no matter how equal one might appear to be within a group or to an individual. Be alert to personal, social, organizational, financial and political situations or pressures that may lead to misuse of one’s influence with individuals.
  4. Ensure that appropriate boundaries and safeguards are established with each group and individual.
  5. Recognize when individuals’ needs are beyond one’s professional competence as a Life Skills coach. Refer individuals, when it is in their best interest, to appropriate agencies, services or practitioners. Whenever possible, maintain appropriate contact with and support for individuals to ensure their safety and well-being until seen by the receiving service.
  6. Not practice, condone, facilitate or collaborate with any form of unjust discrimination. Not engage publicly in demeaning descriptions of others, including jokes or other remarks which reflect adversely on the dignity of others.
  7. Abstain from all forms of harassment.
  8. Refrain from sexualized behaviours and intimate and sexual intimacies and relationships with individuals while involved in a coach/client relationship.
  9. Recognize and accept that all behaviours are learned, have meaning and address needs. Behaviours are not the individual and individuals have the right to change their behaviours if they choose. Accept that individuals are not expected to demonstrate behaviours beyond their capacity and their level of skill development. Strive to present various learning opportunities to enable individuals to become aware of their skills and how their behaviours are fulfilling their needs. Promote awareness and development of options for individuals to enhance personal effectiveness.
  10. Consider each individual’s motivation, capacity and opportunity for change at any given time during the change process to appropriately guide the interaction. Encourage individuals to accept responsibility for their choices and actions, as one’s goal is to assist each individual to become self-determined.
  11. Be open, honest, trustworthy and non-judgmental. Be aware of the meaning and impact of one’s own biases, values and the stresses in one’s own life as they reflect on individuals. Do not impose one’s own biases, values and personal experiences on individuals but rather encourage individuals to develop their own value systems through a process of exploration and values clarification.
  12. Be responsible, reliable, conscientious and a good role model. Display a positive self-image, self-control and a sense of humor. Be empathetic and show care and concern. Exercise tact and diplomacy wherever appropriate.
  13. Recognize that competence for a particular task may require advice or collaboration with experts in other professional fields, on a confidential basis. Accept that it is professionally ethical to obtain this advice in such instances, following the proper procedures.
  14. Ensure that an individual be allowed to leave with as much dignity as possible when terminating a coach/client relationship.
  15. Be aware of the diverse backgrounds of individuals and, when dealing with topics that may give offense, treat and present the material sensitively.
  16. Do not allow outside interests to occupy one’s time such that the group or individuals suffer from inattention or poor service. When appropriate, disclose conflicts of interest to the group or individuals. Accept that one’s commitment to Life Skills professional values need not exclude one’s self from participating in outside interests such as politics, another profession, occupation or business enterprise.

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Values Statement

Life Skills coaches are accountable and responsible for the efficient performance of their duties to their employers.

Standards of Professional Conduct

  1. Be accountable and responsible for the efficient performance of one’s duties to one’s employer as well as provide competent group and individual service.
  2. Fulfill obligations to individuals and responsibility to one’s employer with integrity and competence. Inform one’s employer of any situation that may impede one’s competent performance or infringe on one’s integrity. Disclose the nature of any potential conflict to one’s employer when appropriate.
  3. Co-operate with management and respect employer policies and procedures as long as they are consistent with this Code. Be aware of the need for changes in policies and procedures and actively pursue such changes. Refuse to participate in unethical practices.
  4. Recognize the need and value of working co-operatively in a multi-disciplinary team, respecting the unique contribution of each member and discipline.

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Values Statement

The Life Skills profession has a public responsibility to provide competent coaching services. Therefore, individual Life Skills coaches are encouraged to support and uphold ethical standards and behaviour.

Standards of Professional Conduct

  1. Accept responsibility and be accountable for the quality of one’s professional performance. Encourage and support one’s colleagues to do the same. Contribute one’s ideas and share one’s expertise and learnings with other Life Skills coaches.
  2. As a co-facilitator, work in a mutually supportive manner and do mutual planning to enhance group and individual development. Confront and resolve issues that develop between one’s self and one’s co-facilitator in a professional, timely and competent manner. Refuse to participate in unethical practices.
  3. Actively support the purposes and values of the Association. Bring to the attention of the Association ethical issues which require clarification or the development of new guidelines or standards.
  4. Support other Life Skills coaches in their adherence to this Code.

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Values Statement

As Life Skills coaches are viewed as role models in the communities in which they live and serve, their integrity and behaviour reflect upon the profession as a whole.

Standards of Professional Conduct

  1. Work to resolve any conflict between one’s personal values and the laws of the society in which one lives and serves.
  2. Work within the community of human services to create, promote and maintain employment policies, practices and conditions which are consistent with the values, ethics and professional standards of the Life Skills profession.
  3. Ensure that advertisements and other public notices and information relating to Life Skills are accurate and truthful. Avoid using misleading claims and promises.

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Life Skills Coaches Association of British Columbia

Complaint Resolution Guidelines (draft)


Complaint Resolution Council Membership


Draft Guidelines

I. Preamble

As a Life Skills coach, participant, employer, or other concerned member of the public who has a concern with the ethical behaviour of a Life Skills coach, the following procedure will be adhered to. If the complaint is of a criminal nature, it must and will be reported immediately to the proper legal authorities.

II. Making a Complaint

1. If you perceive the behaviour of a Life Skills coach to be outside the acceptable Code of Ethics as adopted by the membership of the LSCABC, then:

a. Reference the Code of Ethics policy and seek advice and/or guidance as necessary from

any member of the LSCABC Board of Directors or the Ethics and Standards Complaint Resolution Council (also herein called the "Complaint Resolution Council" and "Council");

b. Initiate discussion with the Life Skills coach with whom you have a personal concern about their professional ethics and behaviour to clarify, confront and resolve the situation as soon as possible;

c. If unable to confront or resolve the situation, a written complaint may be sent to the LSCABC Board of Directors and the Council. At the same time, a copy of the written complaint must also be provided to the Life Skills coach against whom you are registering a complaint. Such complaint of an alleged breach of ethics must be formally initiated no later than one (1) year after the situation occurred.

2. Confidentiality is to be strictly adhered to by all individuals involved in the complaint resolution process and subsequent review and investigation (including the complainant, the defendant, members of the Council and the LSCABC Board members) to ensure a factual, fair and effective review and investigation and to promote the dignity of all involved.

3. Upon receipt of a written complaint, a meeting of the Council must be called by the Chairperson within thirty (30) days of receipt of same. If the complaint is of a criminal nature, it will immediately be forwarded to the proper legal authorities.

4. After the Council's first meeting regarding a written complaint, a letter indicating the names of Council members, the names of the people involved in the complaint, and the dates pertinent to the issue must be sent to the people involved and to the members of the LSCABC Board of Directors. The letter will also describe the Council's initial plan of action and/or decisions, and information on Appeal procedures.

There are three (3) acceptable actions only:

i. Conduct an investigation;

ii. Refer the matter to a more appropriate agency or individual for resolution;

iii. Refer the matter elsewhere, with further proceedings by the

Council to be held in consideration.

5. Should the Council decide to conduct an investigation, it will be reviewed and conducted in a timely manner. This will include speaking with the person initiating the complaint and the Life Skills Coaches Association member against whom the complaint is made. Other people may be interviewed and evidence may also be sought as deemed appropriate by the Council. All such contact and review will be documented in writing.

6. Upon completion of the investigation, the Council will issue a written notice of the findings, including any action to the taken, to the complainant, the Life Skills member and the Board of Directors.

7. The Council members and all those involved in a complaint resolution procedure have the right and are encouraged to call upon advisors for the purpose of gathering information or seeking support or legal or other counsel.

8. All correspondence becomes a matter of public record.

III. Appealing a Decision

1. The Appeal procedure is the same as set out for the original complaint. Notice of the Appeal must also be sent to the other party. An appeal by either party must be received or postmarked no later than sixty (60) days from the date the original ruling was issued by the Council.

2. Upon receipt of a request for an appeal, the Council will review the Appeal and any additional information brought forward in the Appeal. If deemed necessary further investigation may be undertaken. A final ruling on the complaint, binding on both parties, will be issued to both parties and the LSCABC Board of Directors no later than ninety (90) days after receipt of the Appeal.

3. Where a case is resolved against a Life Skills coach s/he may, depending on the circumstances and the gravity of the charge, be suspended from the LSCABC membership or be subject to some other condition of social or natural consequence as may be deemed appropriate. It is intended that whatever complaint resolution procedure is followed, the LSCABC members will be focused towards resolution rather than reprimand wherever possible. Details of cases in which members are found in breach of the LSCABC Code of Ethics may be published in such a manner as the Complaint Resolution Council shall deem appropriate.


Complaint Resolution Council Membership


1. All members of the LSCABC Complaint Resolution Council must be considered a member-in-good-standing for a minimum of one (1) year prior to joining the Committee.

2. At least one (1) member of the Council will be from the LSCABC Board of Directors.

3. All other members (minimum of 4) will be elected or appointed from the Membership and by the Membership at its Annual General Meeting for a one (1) year term.

4. The position of Chairperson shall be elected or appointed by the Council members at their first meeting following the Annual General Meeting and be held for the remainder of the one (1) year term.

5. The quorum for the Complaint Resolution Council will be three (3) members present.. In the event that a member is unable to deal with a formal complaint, the remaining Council members will choose an alternate from the membership at large, subject to input by the Board of Directors, to meet quorum requirements. After a meeting of the Council, any such appointed alternate member is expected to stay as an alternate to said Council until the end of the specific complaint resolution procedure.

6. An Council member must report any conflict and voluntarily remove him/herself from the Council as appropriate.

7. If a formal complaint is toward a member of the Council, that member must immediately step down until the matter has been settled. The Council may reinstate the member, after Resolution has been reached, as appropriate.

LSCABC Ethics Table of Contents


Sources: Professional Groups, Associations, Organizations, Societies


"CALSCA Mission Statement"

"Code of Ethics and Standards" document

"Ethics statement" paper

"Key Ethical Practices for Life Skills Coaches" paper
"Code of Ethics" paper


"Ethical Practices and Standards" document

"Statement of Ethics; Guidelines for Ethical Practice; and Standards of Practice of Counsellors in the Colleges and Institutes of British Columbia" document, 1986.
"CICA Code of Ethics", 1987.
"Code of Ethics" outline of presentation, November, 1995.

"Draft of a BCSCA Committee Report on Guidelines for Counsellor Behaviour" paper
"A Lawyer's Caution Against Over-Caution" paper
both from The BC Counsellor Journal of BCSCA

"Code of Ethics", 1984.

"Guidelines for Ethical Behaviour", 1981.

"Standards", 1985.
"Ethics", 1985.
"Ethics" treatise by Martin Dicken, 1985.


"BCTF Code of Ethics" paper

"Code of Ethics for Facilitators" excerpt from
A Manual for Group Facilitators, New York, 1982.


"Part 3, Complaint Proceedings, Chap. P- sections 19 through 36.
Professional and Occupational Associations Registration 1985", an excerpt from
Professional and Occupational Associations Complaint Proceedings Guidelines, 1988.

"Professional Educators" excerpt from
Year 2000: A Framework for Learning handbook

"Principles, Procedures and Protocols for Elder Abuse", 1992.


"Code of Ethics for Nursing", second printing, 1994.

"Standards for Nursing Practice in BC", 1994.


"Current Scope of Practice - 1994 National AGM"
"Proposed Scope of Practice - 1995 Halifax AGM"

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