The ethics of trainers

Have you ever wondered what some people mean by words that seem familiar? Ethics is one of the words that is often puzzling in its application.

One of my competitors has registered my company name as a domain (my domain is - it's shorter and easier to use than People who know my company well have absent-mindedly typed in the longer URL and found themselves redirected.  The competitor is an IT expert (I'm not) and must have thought this was a good way to snatch some extra traffic.

That's okay. I'll go through the domain register and eventually he will not be able to use the domain to willfully mislead people. There are rules.  What won't change is that this competitor will continue to proclaim that he is an ethical trainer – he sometimes claims to be more ethical than other trainers. I do not know what he thinks that means. What kind of training relationships does he begin by misleading people to his site?

I don't often talk about the ethics of my training. To me, it's more important to demonstrate them: I don't trick people into finding me on the web and I don't expect them to take my word on my integrity. As much as possible, I post information and samples and invite people to evenings where they can experience my work first hand. I talk to lots of people, and when they want to hear from my clients, I often match them with someone in their own field.

My site is not crowded with testimonials from people no one knows. Instead, I hold a conference and invite people who have trained with me to speak. When they do, they post their biographies and links to the work they do. They are willing to allow themselves to be associated with me because they know my work and value it. I value their trust and their support.

To me, it's about ethics. There is no way for me to explain what you will learn before you learn it. Whatever words I use will mean something different after you have taken the training. To make up for this, I give everyone as much information as possible about how I develop my material and the kind of people who have found it useful. When we do meet, I do my best to evoke their strongest, best decisions. I want them to have their best stuff when they decide to train with me.

To me, that's ethical.  What I am selling is the ability to identify and make better choices. I want every client relationship to start as they will continue: with a well-considered choice that leads to great results.


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