The Problem

One of our coaches brought forward a very valuable query surrounding conflict between coaching and their 9 to 5 job.

The coach felt that he was making real steps towards becoming a coach thanks to the Business Coach Academy. He planned to maintain his current position as an Engineer with a multi-billion dollar, worldwide corporation while also providing coaching.

The coaching would not be in competition with his current employer, although it could bring questions about conflict of interest because clients could be their customers too.

His main concern was how he could find the right way to go about this situation, without feeling like he was violating any conflict of interest and maintain separation between his employment, and his coaching?

Speak to your employer

My recommendation to any coaches in a similar predicament would be to speak to your employer and tell them what you are proposing to do.

Explain how you will be working differently to ensure you won’t be blurring the boundaries. So effectively, when you are working for your employer, you will not discuss your coaching work with the business owners and vice versa.

It is far better for this information to come from you, informing them in a pro-active way rather than having to be reactive and defensive if they find out. This would inevitably damage the trust between you.

I would ask them if there are any requirements from them in order for this to work in a mutually beneficial way. Also emphasise the fact that when you work with these businesses, you will be guiding them to improve so they will make better clients for your employer.

Make your position clear

Make it clear that you value your position in the company and do not want to jeopardise that in any way. Ensure your employer that you will be respectful of them and their values as a company and continue to deliver your targets and high standards of work.

Explain clearly why it is not a conflict of interests and that you are letting them know because you value their trust and respect their integrity.

Have clear boundaries

To maintain separation between your employment and coaching, it is up to you to educate your coachees when you engage with them and make sure that you do not blur the boundaries. Wear two very separate hats.

In the positioning, you can establish the rules of the game and have clear boundaries. I have done this in situations where I was the coach and the client of the same business.

Very simply, they used to call me Coach Pam when I was delivering coaching and Client Pam when they were dealing with me as the client. 

It was a strict rule never to refer to the ‘other Pam’ in meetings. I used to dress differently too. Perhaps in your case, coaching on Zoom can be a differentiator to you being their coach and not on the premises? It is up to you to maintain the boundaries.

At the end of the day it is important that you speak directly to your employer, to maintain integrity. As long as you continue to maintain your standards at your original job, as well as continue to respect your previous employer, the situation should be easily resolved. 

Pam Featherstone

Pam is a world-renowned, multi-award-winning, business coach, entrepreneur, global trainer, speaker and author. She has over 36 years of experience in entrepreneurship, management, and business planning.

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