Recently there seems to have been a shift within some communities in the coaching industry when it comes to values and ethics.
More people are noticing some of the shady tactics some business owners use around sales and many more people are aware of issues around privilege, power and social justice and how these come into play within the industry and our individual businesses.
A good way to set out your stance on some of these issues is by having a values and ethics page on your website to communicate where you are at and so potential clients and customers can be more informed about how you work.
When I relaunched my website in December 2020, I included my own Values page which you can see here. I’ve since updated it based on a lot of the research I did in writing this post.
These pages can be an effective way to set out your views and commitments when it comes to how you do business, how you show up as a coach and the underpinning values of what it is you do.
Wondering how to write a values page? Here are a few tips to help you get started:
Raise your awareness
This is probably not a topic to get into without some reading and research to inform your views and values. There are many books out there around racism, privilege and other forms of oppression and I encourage you to check them out.
There are also a few websites I’ve found very helpful in informing my own values including:
Reading these resources can be helpful in raising your awareness in different ways so you can bring what you learn into your own business. It can also help you identify things you might have got wrong in the past and things you might have otherwise missed.
However it shouldn’t be a ‘copy and paste’ approach, your business values need to be aligned for you, which brings me on to my next point…
Consider how you want to do business
Your business values are personal to you. They should be an honest reflection of how you want to show up in your business.
Your values should be the things you live and breathe – not just a list of things on a page that you never look at again and forget once it’s done.
You should view your business as a microcosm of the wider world you’d like to see.
How can you create values that reflect that?
Create your values
You can do this as a statement (as Nicola Haggett has done here ) or as a list of core values (as Sandra has done here).
To say it again, it can be easy to just copy and paste someone else’s values but I really encourage you to take the time to really consider what your values look like for you as an individual business.
It’s ok to be inspired by someone else’s page structure, just make sure you give them a hat tip (h/t) or citation on the page.
Focus on what you’re actually going to do
It’s all well and good writing some lovely sounding values but if you’re not following them through in practical ways then they won’t be creating any impact.
You can add a section to your values and ethics page that shares your business practices, essentially what your values actually look like in action.
Some examples of business practices could include:
- Are you going to offer any free or reduced price coaching places for marginalised communities?
- Will any percentage of your profit be donated to charity?
- How will you approach hiring in your business?
- What work will you be doing as an individual to further embody your business values? For example, educating yourself on white supremacy and racism.
- How might you share the work of others in an ethical way?
- In what ways are you going to ensure that other projects you might take part in (such as podcasts and summits) are a reflection of your values in terms of representation?
- How will you sell your products and services in a way that is reflective of your values?
Your values page can also include a statement of your privileges as seen in Vicky Shilling’s page and Maggie Patterson’s page.
I feel like this is such a brilliant inclusion in a values page. It helps us understand our own privileges in society and makes it transparent for anyone who wishes to work with you to be able to see where you are coming from and the privileges you hold.
The people you have worked with
If one of your values is around transparency then it can be helpful to include a list of people you have worked with.
I feel like this is maybe more relevant for business coaches as opposed to health / life coaches etc, but given that we are influenced and impacted by the people we choose to work with and invest in I think it’s useful to share this as part of your values and ethics page.
If you’re not a business coach, then perhaps in this section you can talk about any commitments to ongoing learning and share your qualifications and training (if not already done so on your about page for example).
Being honest about the fact that you’re not perfect!
Something that came up for me when I was writing my values page was worrying about getting it wrong. As a white woman with a tonne of privilege and a lot of learning (or un-learning!) still to do, I know I’m probably going to get things wrong when I talk about some of these issues connected to ethical business and social justice.
However, I don’t believe we can use that as an excuse not to show up and do the work.
In my values page I state that I know I may get things wrong but that I’m very open to constructive criticism. The same goes for this post!
Here are several links to other coaches pages as examples you can draw from. Thanks to members of Elizabeth Goddard’s Facebook Group for sharing their own pages and pages they’ve found inspiring, and to members of my Blog School programme for sharing pages they’ve found helpful too.
Values and ethics page examples:
- My Values and Ethics page
- Wandering Aimfully’s Justice page
- Ruth Poundwhite’s Values Page
- Nicola Salmon’s Values page
- Tarzan Kays About page (she includes a mission and values within the about page rather than a separate page)
- Dom Sub Living Values page
- Nicola Haggett’s Ethical Statement
- Vicky Shillings Values, Privileges and Practices page
- Maggie Patterson’s Ethical Business page
I’d love to know, are you going to create a values page for your coaching website? Let me know in the comments!
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