“Can I Coach A Close Friend?”

Answering a question on boundaries and relationships in the coaching world.

Toku McCree
5 min readJul 13, 2021
Photo by Jarritos Mexican Soda on Unsplash

If you’re a coach for any length of time the question about who you should and shouldn’t coach will come up. Eventually you’ll either want to coach a close friend or family member or they’ll want to work with you. But can you or should you do this?

Recently a coach posted the following question in a community forum I’m a part of:​

What are your thoughts about coaching close friends/ having them participate in programs you facilitate?

And here was my response.​..

I think this is dicey at best (This is coming from someone who coaches their own father soooooooo….. 😱😱😱😱😱)​

I think it’s 100% possible but you need to get very clear on a few things:​

Priorities — If the friendship/relationship is the priority how will you deal with it if the coaching impacts the friendship. What’s the bail/pull the chord agreement?

The last time I was in business/coaching a close friend we agreed beforehand the friendship mattered more to us than our business. Which made a HUGE difference when he wanted to bail suddenly. I could have held it against him, but I reminded myself of what we had…



Toku McCree

Executive coach and writer. I’ve toured with rock bands, trained as a zen monk, and taught preschool. My hope is that my writing makes you think.