Coach Family and Friends

Coach family and friends? If you are a coach, is it ok?

Get perspective
When you step back and look at the bigger picture new insights appear

At my monthly Supervision Group yesterday one of my Coaches wanted to know if it was okay to coach family and friends (ethically).

This was a great question and she was already pretty certain it wasn’t a good idea. In bringing this to Supervision she was able to clarify her thinking and also check on ethical practice.

This type of topic is just the sort of thing Supervision can help you with.

Here are some things to consider if you want to coach family and friends:

  • In counselling and therapy, there is a clear boundary against this in most disciplines.
  • If you coach family and friends you have to be super careful about your own boundaries. What if they start talking to you about the topic of coaching outside the coaching room? What will you do? How do you contract effectively?
  • What about your knowledge and opinions about the friend or family member? Are you sure you can put aside your own “stuff”?
  • What about other people in your circle? What impact could it have on these relationships if they know about the coaching? If they don’t know, what then? Are you certain you won’t let something slip that was confidential by mistake?
  • What happens if your family member or friend is unhappy with the coaching you offer?
  • Will you charge? If not, will the “client” value the coaching?


There are other factors.

The content or context of the coaching may also make a difference. For instance, if your family member wants you to coach them in preparing for a job interview that might work. However, your family dynamics may still influence how you approach this coaching. Your beliefs about this person may block how you work with them and could undermine them instead of helping them.

We often talk about this topic in my Accredited Coaching Diploma and also my Accredited Supervision Diploma. One solution I suggest to my students is to set up a reciprocal arrangement with other students. In other words, refer family and friends to a colleague and they refer theirs to you. This removes the issues that might otherwise arise.

So, should you coach your friends and family members? There is no firm answer, my recommendation for new coaches is to refer to a peer. Experienced Coaches may evaluate the topic and relationship before making a decision about coaching those close to them. Either way, remember Supervision is there to support you.

What do you think about coaching family and friends?


Melody Cheal MSc MAPP
Follow GWiz
Latest posts by Melody Cheal MSc MAPP (see all)