“It’s okay to lie to help a client”

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“It’s okay to lie to help a client” came from a mentor who intentionally credited her client with experience that the client doesn’t yet have.

The mentor did it publicly (social media) and with the best intentions — to help her client get clients.

In my opinion, it’s wrong.  The ends don’t justify the means and no good can come of lying, no matter the intentions.   In fact, despite this mentor being a friend, I’ll now always question what she says.

I asked this question on Facebook and was amazed at the discussion it sparked (you can check it out here — you’ll need a Facebook account to access):

  • From the varying definitions of the word “integrity” to
  • the fact that there’s always an ethical way to do something to
  • how you do one thing is how you do everything to
  • the potential unintended consequences of what happens when the client can’t do the job as represented by the mentor and much more.

As of this writing, over 55 comments from a variety of coaches, mentors, consultants and more, including: Sheryl Brown, Diane Conklin, Andrea Lee, Melissa McCreery, Melanie Kissel, Terry McMahon Zwierzynski, Lisa Marie Platske, Gina Fink-Bell and many more. 

The general consensus: Lying doesn’t help anyone.

Whatever happened to ethics and a professional code of conduct?  As a member of the Better Business Bureau, I have to sign a document each year stating I’ll adhere to a code of ethics.  And, quite honestly, as part of my own values, that means something to me. . .and to many who commented on Facebook. 

Integrity shouldn’t be a lost business practice and it’s definition shouldn’t change as circumstances do. 

And yet this mentor truly and honestly thought she was doing the *right* thing.  As an industry, have we gone that far over the line?

I’d love to hear your thoughts on mispresenting someone’s experience with the goal of helping them get clients below.