calsca.gif (1671 bytes)

 

SASKATCHEWAN LIFE SKILLS ASSOCIATION

CODE OF ETHICS AND PROFESSIONAL CONDUCT


Return to Ethics and Standards Documents Directory

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Purpose
Scope
Objectives
Values
Policy
Grievance Procedure
Ethics Committee

 

Return to return to Ethics and Standards Documents Directory

 



PURPOSE

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 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. Benefit is defined in both physical (safety and comfort versus pain and injury) and psychological (feelings of self-worth, interpersonal trust, self-knowledge and general knowledge versus fear, humiliation and cynicism).


return to SLSA Ethics Table of Contents


SCOPE

The Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct Policy provides for ethical standards and behaviours of Life Skills Coaches and Trainers practicing within the province of Saskatchewan and/or who are members of Saskatchewan Life Skills Association (SLSA). This policy as updated and amended from time to time is binding upon all members.

return to SLSA Ethics Table of Contents


OBJECTIVES

It is the objective of SLSA that the following Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct will:

  1. Provide a means for individual Life Skills Coaches and Trainers to evaluate their own ethical standards and behaviours and make adjustments if necessary to meet the established standards.
  2. Provide a means for participants and trainees of Life Skills Programs to evaluate the standards and practices used by their Coaches and Trainers and validate that participants and trainees are receiving professional and ethical 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 promote the high ethical standards practiced by members of SLSA.
  5. Provide a means for the SLSA Ethics Committee and the Executive to evaluate and adjudicate grievances against Life Skills Coaches.

return to SLSA Ethics Table of Contents


VALUES

The profession of Life Skills holds the worth, dignity and capability of every human being as their 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.

return to SLSA Ethics Table of Contents



POLICY

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



return to SLSA Ethics Table of Contents


I. RESPONSIBILITY OF CONFIDENTIALITY

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. Allow individuals to be 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 the individual 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 individual’s knowledge unless informing the individual would impede the due process of law or endanger someone.
  3. Ensure that information obtained and recorded about an individual can be justifiably supported as either being related to an individual’s behaviour in the program or be required by the employer for administrative accountability or research needs.
  4. Permit individuals, in the company of the Life Skills Coaches/Employer representative, the opportunity to check the accuracy of all factual 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 and hold in confidence all knowledge, records and materials concerning each individual.
  6. When disclosure is required by law, by order of a court or competent jurisdiction or by the work setting, divulge no more information than is required, and when possible, notify the individual of this requirement.
  7. Disclose client information, only to the extent necessary, to defend myself, my colleagues or employers against allegations of malpractice or misconduct.
  8. Endeavour to promote and maintain excellence in the profession of Life Skills Coaching by adhering to these confidentiality standards.

Return to POLICY Table of Contents


II. RESPONSIBILITY TO SELF

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 on an annual basis this Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct, evaluate my actions and behaviours, and make any necessary changes to ensure I am upholding and subscribing to these Ethics and Standards in spirit as well as in the letter.
  2. Accurately identify my qualifications, both verbally and in writing.
  3. Avoid claiming or implying any personal capabilities or professional qualifications beyond those I have actually attained, recognizing that competency gained in one field of activity must not be used improperly to imply competency in another.
  4. Strive to know my limitations and to stay within the bounds of these 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 my own actions and decisions taken.
  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. Use professional counselling to deal with any debilitating personal issues that may interfere with appropriate coach/client relationships.
  9. Seek consultation or support from experienced mentors or trainers and give due regard to their advice in arriving at a responsible decision when faced with a difficult issue related to Life Skills.
  10. Maintain a high degree of self-awareness to be able to recognize when personal needs, feelings, values, and limitations interfere with the group and the individuals in the group process of planned change and/or termination of a professional relationship.
  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 my strengths, limitations, biases or levels of effectiveness as a Life Skills Coach; always striving for self-improvement in my professional knowledge, my skills and abilities, my work with groups and individuals, and my emotional well-being.
  12. Participate in ongoing professional development, continuing in and contributing to Life Skills coaching knowledge and education, liaison with colleagues and other professional associations relevant to my field.
  13. Contact SLSA as soon as practicable in order to obtain necessary support when defending myself against allegations of malpractice or misconduct.

Return to POLICY Table of Contents


III. RESPONSIBILITY TO GROUP AND INDIVIDUALS

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 heavy social responsibility because their recommendations and professional actions may alter the lives of others.

Standards of Professional Conduct

  1. Undertake group or individual facilitation that I honestly believe I am 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 my behaviour as a Life Skills Coach is appropriately professional. Ensure that all interpersonal transactions between myself and individuals served are non-exploitative and essential to their integrity and well-being.
  3. Be alert to personal, social, organizational, financial and political situations or pressures that may lead to misuse of my influence with individuals. Accept that as a Life Skills Coach, I am an authoritative figure no matter how equal I might appear within a group or to an individual.
  4. Ensure that appropriate boundaries and safeguards are established with each group and individual which will protect the psychological safety and the integrity of individuals.
  5. Recognize when an individual’s needs are beyond my professional competencies as a Life Skills Coach. Refer individuals for their own safety and well-being or when it is in their best interest to appropriate agencies, services or practitioners. Maintain appropriate contact and support for an individual as necessary 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, including sexual harassment.
  8. Refrain from any overtly or covertly sexualized behaviours and any intimate and sexual intimacies and relationships with individuals either while involved in a coach-client or trainer-trainee relationship or for at least two years from the time that the professional contract has formally ended.
  9. Recognize and accept that all behaviours have meaning and are need fulfilling. Recognize and accept that behaviour is not the individual and that the individual has the right to change their behaviour if they choose. Accept that an individual is 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 their 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. Provide the group and individuals with guidance, counselling, assistance with exploration and consideration of alternatives and consequences, and support them with their decision. Encourage individuals to accept responsibility for their choice and action, as our 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 my own biases, values and the stresses in my own life as they reflect on individuals. Do not impose my 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, courteous, conscientious and a good role model. Display a positive self-image, self-control and a sense of humour. Be empathetic and show care and concern. Exercise tact and diplomacy in all relations.
  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 legislative procedures.
  14. Ensure that an individual be allowed to leave with as much dignity as possible in the case of voluntary or involuntary termination of the individual/coach relationship.
  15. Be aware of the diverse backgrounds of individuals and, when dealing with topics that may give offense, treat and present the material objectively.
  16. Ensure programs are learner-centred by conducting pre-selection interviews, needs analysis and basing Life Skills course content on learner-identified needs. Develop written lesson plans.
  17. Do not allow outside interests to occupy my time such that the group or individuals suffer from inattention or poor service. Disclose the nature of any potential conflict to the group or individuals when necessary. Accept that my commitment to Life Skills professional values does not exclude me from participating in outside interests such as politics, another profession, occupation or business enterprise.

Return to POLICY Table of Contents


IV. RESPONSIBILITY TO THE EMPLOYER

Values Statement

Life Skills Coaches are accountable and responsible for the efficient performance of their duties to their employer.

Standards of Professional Conduct

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

Return to POLICY Table of Contents


V. RESPONSIBILITY TO THE PROFESSION

Values Statement

The profession has a public responsibility to provide competent Life Skills Coaching services. Therefore, individual Life Skills Coaches must actively support and uphold the ethical standards and behaviour of all Life Skills Coaches.

Standards of Professional Conduct

  1. Accept responsibility for the quality of my professional performance while facilitating, encouraging, and respecting the same standards of colleagues. Contribute my ideas and share my 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 any issues that develop between me and my co-coach in a professional, timely and competent manner. Refuse to participate in unethical practices.
  3. Report to SLSA any unethical practices or other actions by SLSA members which could impair coach/individuals relationships or reflect discredit upon SLSA or the Life Skills profession. Confine expression of professional conduct to matters of fact.
  4. Actively support the purposes and values of SLSA. Bring to the attention of SLSA ethical issues which require clarification or the development of new guidelines or standards.
  5. Support other Life Skills Coaches in their adherence to SLSA Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct.
  6. Take steps to protect the community at large from individuals or groups purporting to offer or provide Life Skills Programs as defined within the Association but whose services are incompatible with the Life Skills Program.

Return to POLICY Table of Contents


VI. RESPONSIBILITY TO THE COMMUNITY

Values Statement

As Life Skills Coaches are viewed as role models within the communities they live and serve, their integrity and behaviours reflect upon the profession as a whole.

Standards of Professional Conduct

  1. Abide by the laws of the society in which I live and work.
  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 advertisements and other public notices and information relating to Life Skills is accurate and truthful. Avoid using misleading claims or promises that could lead to loss of confidence by the public.

Return to POLICY Table of Contents

return to SLSA Ethics Table of Contents


GRIEVANCE PROCEDURE

As a Life Skills Coach, participant, employer or concerned member of the public who has a concern with the ethical behaviour of a Life Skills Coach or Trainer, the following procedure applies. If the grievance is of a criminal nature, it must be reported immediately to the proper legal authorities.

  1. If you perceive the behaviour of a Life Skills Coach/Trainer to be outside the acceptable Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct as adopted by SLSA, then:
    a) Reference this Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct Policy , and seek advice and guidance as necessary from any member of the SLSA Executive or the Ethics Committee.

    b) Initiate discussion with the Life Skills Coach/Trainer 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 grievance is to be sent to the SLSA Executive and the SLSA Ethics Committee. At the same time, a copy of the written Grievance must also be provided to the Life Skills Coach/Trainer you are grieving. Grievance of an alleged breach of Ethics must be formally initiated no later than one year after the situation occurred.

  2. Confidentiality is to be strictly adhered to by all individuals involved in the grievance process and subsequent review and investigation (including the complainant, the defendant, members of the Ethics Committee and the SLSA Executive) to ensure a factual and effective review and investigation and to promote the dignity of all involved.
  3. Upon receipt of a written grievance, a meeting of the Ethics Committee must be called by the Chairperson within thirty (30) days of receipt of the grievance. If the grievance is of a criminal nature, it will immediately be forwarded to the proper legal authorities.
  4. After the Ethics Committee’s first meeting regarding a grievance, a letter indicating the Committee members’ names, names of the people involved in the grievance and dates pertinent to the issue, must be sent to the people involved and to members of SLSA Executive, The letter will also describe the Committee’s initial plan of action and/or decisions and information on appeal procedures. There are three acceptable actions only:
    a) Conduct an investigation,

    b) Refer the matter to a more appropriate agency or individual for resolution,

    c) Refer the matter elsewhere, with further proceedings by the Ethics Committee to be held in consideration.

  5. Should the Ethics Committee decide to conduct an investigation, they will review and conduct it in a timely manner. This will include speaking with the person initiating the grievance and the Life Skills Coach/Trainer against whom the grievance is made. Other people may be interviewed and evidence will also be sought as deemed appropriate by the Committee.
  6. Upon completion of the investigation, the Ethics Committee will issue a written notice of the findings, including any action to be taken, to the Complainant, the Life Skills Coach/Trainer and the SLSA Executive.
  7. The Ethics Committee and all those involved in a grievance have the right to call upon advisors for the purpose of gathering information or seeking legal or other counsel.
  8. The appeal procedure is the same as set out for the original grievance. 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 Ethics Committee.
  9. Upon receipt of an Appeal, the SLSA Ethics Committee 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 grievance, binding on both parties, will be issued to both parties and the SLSA Executive no later than 90 days after receipt of the Appeal.
  10. Where a case is proven against a Life Skills Coach of Trainer, they may, depending on the circumstances and the gravity of the charge, be reprimanded, suspended from membership, or removed from the list of members. Details of cases in which members are found in breach of the Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct may be published in such a manner as the Ethics Committee shall deem appropriate.
  11. All correspondence becomes a matter of public record.

return to SLSA Ethics Table of Contents


ETHICS COMMITTEE

  1. All members of the Committee must be SLSA members in good standing for a minimum of one (one) year.
  2. At least one member must be from the Executive Committee.
  3. All other members (4) will be elected or appointed from within their Regional Area.
  4. Elections or appointments shall be held annually at the SLSA Annual General Meeting.
  5. The position of Chairperson shall be elected or appointed by the Committee Members at their first meeting following the Annual General Meeting and be held for the remainder of the 1 year term.
  6. The quorum for the Ethics Committee be three (3) members present. In the event that a member(s) is unable to deal with a formal complaint, the remaining committee members will choose an alternative(s) from the membership at large, subject to approval by the Executive to meet quorum requirements. After a meeting of the Ethics Committee, any alternatives are expected to stay with the Committee until the end of the specific grievance procedure.
  7. Ethics Committee members must report any conflicts and voluntarily remove him/herself from the Committee.
  8. If a grievance is toward a member of the Ethics Committee, that member must step down until the matter has been settled. The Committee may later reinstate the individual to the Committee if appropriate.

 

return to SLSA Ethics Table of Contents
return to Ethics and Standards Documents Directory