PAAC Ethics Document

1. Spirit and Intent

PAAC-Credentialed Coaches conduct their coaching practices and all their undertakings in accordance with the PAAC Standards of Ethical Conduct. These ethical standards are to be adhered to in spirit as well as in deed. All PAAC-Credentialed coaches act with integrity and treat their clients with respect, dignity, and appreciation of the issues which the ADHD client and those close to him/her confront daily. PAAC-Credentialed Coaches maintain awareness of the ADHD client’s strengths and encourage the client to call upon those strengths to achieve his/her goals in coaching. PAAC-Credentialed Coaches are encouraged to grow in their awareness of ethics and in their ethical practice and to supplement and add to The PAAC Standards of Ethical Conduct in their commitment to maintaining an ethical professional practice.

2. The PAAC Pledge of ethics

As a PAAC-Credentialed Coach, I acknowledge and agree to honor my ethical and legal obligations to my coaching clients and sponsors, colleagues, and the public at large. I pledge to comply with the PAAC Code of Ethics, and to practice these standards with those with whom I coach. If I breach this Pledge of Ethics or any part of the PAAC Code of Ethics, I agree that PAAC in its sole discretion may hold me accountable for so doing. I further agree that my accountability to PAAC for any breach may include sanctions, such as loss of my PAAC credential.

3. PAAC Standards of Ethical Conduct

For purposes of this document, the following definitions apply:

  • ADHD Coaching is a service activity where a specialty skill set is employed to facilitate an ADHD Client to learn to confidently manage his/her attention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity.
  • ADHD Client is someone who has chosen to benefit from ADHD coaching, including persons who feel, think they may, or know they have ADHD or ADHD-like characteristics. Others who may choose to benefit from ADHD coaching are persons who may not have ADHD but who are related or connected to or live with someone who has ADHD.
  • Credentialing Candidate is a coach seeking a credential through the PAAC Credentialing Process.
  • Credentialing Session Leader is a PAAC Credentialed Coach who is approved to review candidate coaching sessions, provide feedback and sponsor candidates.
  • Credentialing Sponsoring Coach is a session leader who has heard the appropriate number of sessions from a candidate (as defined in current credentialing guidelines) and is willing to sponsor that candidate for a credential level.
  • Mentee is a coach working with a Mentor or PAAC Mentor Coach.
  • Mentor Coach is a coach who coaches and provides consultation to other coaches.
  • PAAC Accredited School is an ADHD program whose curriculum has been approved by PAAC as adhering to the PAAC Competencies and PAAC ADHD Coaching Essentials.
  • PAAC-Credentialed Coach is a coach who has successfully completed all aspects of the PAAC credentialing process and been awarded a specific PAAC credential.
  • PAAC Mentor Coach is a PAAC-Credentialed Coach who has met specific PAAC Mentor Coach requirements and been designated a PAAC Mentor Coach by PAAC. A PAAC Mentor Coach prepares another coach for the process of PAAC credentialing.
  • School is any coach training program.
  • Sponsor is a person or organization with some sort of responsibility for the person being coached. This responsibility may be legal, familial, or financial.
1. Ethics, as Related to Other Regulations 

1.1. PAAC Ethics are a set of guidelines for practitioners. They are not a substitute for the law and are not meant to address legal issues or legal requirements for any type of coaching or for working with ADHD clients and their families.

1.2. When there is conflict between state or federal laws and regulations where a coach practices and the PAAC Code of Ethics, the state or federal laws and regulations will be observed and the spirit of the PAAC Code of Ethics will be followed.

2. Scope of Practice and Disclosure

2.1. PAAC-Credentialed Coaches have a primary obligation to consider and protect the client’s interest in making decisions regarding the coaching relationship.

2.2. PAAC-Credentialed Coaches strive to remain unbiased in selecting to serve or when serving any client population.

2.3. PAAC-Credentialed Coaches are specifically trained by a school and/or mentor coach to work with ADHD client(s) and those in relationship with such clients. PAAC-Credentialed Coaches work in a variety of specializations and settings.

2.4. ADHD is a diagnosis. While PAAC-Credentialed Coaches often work with clients who have been given this diagnosis and those in relationship with them, they also work with those individuals who do not have that diagnosis but are experiencing problems or behaviors that tend to be associated with that diagnosis. All PAAC-Credentialed Coaches must have knowledge and training about ADHD and the behaviors and problems which may be attendant. Being a PAAC-Credentialed Coach does not qualify one to diagnose ADHD.

2.5. PAAC-Credentialed Coaches do not recommend medications or give medical advice. In the event that a PAAC-Credentialed Coach feels that a client might benefit from medication, the coach will communicate that impression to the client and encourage the client to seek out an appropriate health professional.

2.6. PAAC-Credentialed Coaches do not provide psychotherapy or treat mental disorders. If a PAAC-Credentialed Coach believes that a client might benefit from psychotherapy, the coach will communicate that impression to the client and refer the client to an appropriate mental health professional. It is recommended but not required that the coach obtain permission to contact a mental health provider who is providing services to their client in order that care may be appropriately coordinated.

2.7. PAAC-Credentialed Coaches make referrals to other professionals when appropriate and in the best interests of the client.

2.8. PAAC-Credentialed Coaches provide coaching for clients for only as long as they believe that the clients are benefiting from such coaching and discuss termination of coaching at the earliest moment at which it is in the client’s best interest for such discussion to take place.

2.9. PAAC-Credentialed Coaches fully disclose and discuss with clients their own training, experience, and other qualifications.

2.10. PAAC-Credentialed Coaches practice within the bounds of their expertise and do not exaggerate any aspects of their training, experience, or qualifications.

2.11. PAAC-Credentialed Coaches do not give prospective clients or individuals connected to their clients information or advice they know or believe to be deceptive or untrue.

3. Public Ads and Statements

3.1. PAAC-Credentialed Coaches who market and advertise their coaching services, or have others make statements to promote their services, ensure that all brochures, articles, speeches, resumes, bios, and other materials that are related to the coach’s practice are true and not misleading.

4. Confidentiality

4.1. PAAC-Credentialed Coaches actively protect the privacy of their clients in all oral, written, and electronic communications. PAAC-Credentialed Coaches do not share confidential information that could lead to the identification of a client with whom they have a confidential relationship without written or recorded permission of that client, or except as required by law or if the client presents a serious danger to him/herself or others.

4.2. PAAC-Credentialed Coaches establish clear agreements about how coaching information will be exchanged among coach, client, and sponsor.

4.3. PAAC-Credentialed Coaches discuss with client and/or sponsor situations in which confidential information may be requested or disclosed and come to agreement about how the information will specifically be used. Clients must be fully informed of all limits to confidentiality at the outset of the coaching relationship.

4.4. When possible, PAAC-Credentialed Coaches inform clients about the disclosure of confidential information before the disclosure is made.

5. The Coaching Agreement

5.1. PAAC-Credentialed Coaches discuss and put in writing for new clients all relevant information regarding services, fees, payment procedures, and the coach’s policy with regard to canceled or missed appointments.

5.2. PAAC-Credentialed Coaches may barter for services, goods, or other non-monetary payment only when it will not harm the client or the coaching relationship. Coaches should avoid bartering relationships where the activities offered in exchange for the coaches’ services could be perceived as demeaning or exploitative.

5.3. PAAC-Credentialed Coaches have clear agreements with clients and sponsor(s) and honor all coaching agreements made in the coaching relationship.

5.4. PAAC-Credentialed Coaches communicate with their clients in a timely manner.

5.5. PAAC-Credentialed Coaches communicate with the client and sponsor at the first opportunity in the event that the coach determines that the engagement goal(s) is not likely to be achieved.

5.6. PAAC-Credentialed Coaches always obtain the written consent of parents or guardians before beginning coaching of any individual who has not reached the legal age of consent. Coaches discuss with coaching clients who are minors and their parents parental access to information about the coaching relationship with the minor with the goal of establishing a contract acceptable to all.

6. Boundaries

6.1. PAAC-Credentialed Coaches set clear, appropriate, and culturally sensitive boundaries and do not exploit clients, relatives, or close friends of current clients emotionally, sexually, or financially.

6.2. PAAC-Credentialed Coaches attend to their own psychological, physical, and emotional needs, and make every effort to effectively address any psychological, physical, or emotional problems, so as to prevent any interference with the quality of coaching services provided.

6.3. PAAC-Credentialed Coaches are cautious about entering into coaching relationships with individuals with whom they have had a previous professional or personal relationship or when they have had a previous professional or personal relationship with an individual who is closely related to the prospective client. Coaches should assess whether entering into those relationships could reasonably be expected to cause harm to the prospective client or to the person closely related to the prospective client, damage the coaches’ objectivity, or be exploitative.

6.4. PAAC-Credentialed Coaches who are involved in research projects do not exert any pressure for clients to participate in said projects or engage in any behavior that would convey to the clients the feeling or impression that the coaching that they will receive is related to their decision of whether or not to participate in said research projects.

6.5. PAAC-Credentialed Coaches disclose any potential or known conflicts of interest with coaching clients/sponsors.

6.6. PAAC-Credentialed Coaches maintain all records and notes pertaining to clients in a safe and secure place, and they store and ultimately dispose of client records in a manner that provides confidentiality, security, and privacy while complying with any applicable laws and agreements. Coaches who use electronic communication as part of their professional work are responsible for understanding and communicating to their clients the risks to privacy that this communication represents. They have clear policies about access of clients to their coaching records, and they discuss these policies with the coaching clients at the outset of the coaching relationship.

6.7. PAAC-Credentialed Coaches make clear agreements to adhere to the PAAC Code of Ethics with any associated coaches, consultants, and assistants whom they manage/employ in service of their clients, to the extent applicable.

6.8. PAAC-Credentialed Coaches respect the opinions and viewpoints of other ADHD and medical professionals with whom they might disagree.

6.9. PAAC-Credentialed Coaches make known to a client and client’s sponsor all likely compensation from third parties that the PAAC-Credentialed Coach may obtain or give out for referrals of that client.

6.10. PAAC-Credentialed Coaches work with issues that the ADHD client presents as well as with the co-existing conditions. However, PAAC-Credentialed Coaches are not trained to assess or diagnose any brain disorders or any mental health issue.

6.11. PAAC-Credentialed Coaches should not engage in any illegal activities including, but not limited to, copyright, intellectual property rights, or patent violations.

6.12. PAAC-Credentialed Coaches take responsibility and credit only for work they have actually performed or to which they have substantially contributed.

6.13. PAAC-Credentialed Coaches guard against misuse of their influence in the areas of finance, personal issues, social issues, organizational, or political issues with the awareness that their professional opinions and actions may adversely affect or impact the lives of their clients.

6.14. PAAC-Credentialed Coaches obtain permission from the client before recording a coaching session that will be shared with the coach’s mentor or with any other party.

6.15. PAAC-Credentialed Coaches inform clients that they may use client contact information, upon permission granted by the client, for the purpose of pursuing or maintaining a coach credential.

6.16. PAAC-Credentialed Coaches use the contact information (email addresses, phone numbers, etc.) of other PAAC-Credentialed Coaches only in the manner and to the extent authorized by PAAC.

7. Coach as Trainer

7.1. PAAC-Credentialed Coaches who are actively training student coaches clarify confidentiality policies with their students.

7.2. PAAC-Credentialed Coaches who are training student coaches do their best to provide students with a program that is well planned out so that the trainees are provided with applicable information, knowledge, materials, and supervised practice and feedback designed to develop ADHD coaching skill proficiency.

7.3. PAAC-Credentialed Coaches who train other coaches do not mislead others about the training they offer.

7.4. PAAC-Credentialed Coaches who train student coaches will present and abide by the PAAC Code of Ethics.

7.5. PAAC-Credentialed Coaches appreciate their own limitations in training other coaches in specific areas or techniques and refer the trainee to another coach or training program when appropriate.

8. Coach as PAAC Mentor Coach

[NOTE: Due to PAAC’s revised credentialing process, the following section is being reviewed and may be revised soon to better reflect the current nature of “Mentoring” and “Sponsoring” functions in PAAC credentialing, (Keep in mind that the terms “Mentoring” and “Sponsoring” will continue to be used regarding some coach activities and relationships independent of the PAAC credentialing process)]

8.1. PAAC Mentor Coaches who are actively mentoring coaches clarify confidentiality policies and PAAC mentoring expectations with their mentees.

8.2. PAAC Mentor Coaches have an active ADHD coaching practice consisting of ADHD and/or ADHD-related clients, not just trainees and mentees.

8.3. PAAC Mentor Coaches listen regularly to their mentees’ coaching and do their best to provide mentees with developmental feedback (oral, written, or both) based on the PAAC Competencies, Essentials, and Ethics.

8.4. PAAC Mentor Coaches do not mislead anyone about the mentoring they offer.

8.5. If a PAAC Mentor Coach loses the PAAC Mentor Coach designation for any reason, the Mentor Coach will immediately notify all current mentees of such status change and its implications.

8.6. PAAC Mentor Coaches regularly stay current with the PAAC Competencies, credentialing requirements and expectations by levels, and the PAAC credentialing process so that they can provide quality, up-to-date mentoring and feedback for their mentees.

8.7. PAAC Mentor Coaches make it clear to mentees that they can only write a credential recommendation letter for a mentee if they are truly satisfied that they’ve heard the mentee coach at the specified PAAC credential level.

9. Complaints

9.1. The actions of a PAAC-Credentialed Coach may be reviewed under the PAAC Code of Ethics only if the conduct reviewed is part of the coaching practice or the coach’s presentation as an ADHD coaching professional.

9.2. Individuals who have complaints against PAAC-Credentialed Coaches may contact the PAAC Ethics Committee.