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Coaching Code of Ethics

At YNAB, we have seven core values. Any code of ethics that we expect of a YNAB coach has to start with these.


Being genuine means you’re comfortable in your own skin and make an honest effort in everything you do. What you see is what you get.

For a coach, this means you’re honest with your client about what you can and can’t do for them. You are not afraid to have tough conversations, but you’re also quick to share an encouraging word.

Humbly Confident

Being humbly confident means you’re aware that you are good at what you do, but you choose to be humble about it. You are open to criticism and don’t take feedback personally. You give credit easily and you’re okay admitting when you’ve made a mistake.

For a coach, this means you radiate confidence for your client. You are the person with the plan! You’re going to change their life! But you are also willing to listen to what your client needs and admit that sometimes, you need to change tactics depending on the situation.

Effective Communicator

Being an effective communicator means you communicate clearly and often. You are emotionally aware and empathetic, but you don’t hold information back—good or bad. You ask questions to seek clarity before giving an answer, and you’re always sincere.

As a coach, this means you never leave your client in the dark. Your expectations should always be crystal clear and they should know exactly where you’re going to take them.

Passionate Pursuit of Growth

This means you’re always learning, looking to stretch yourself, and eager to improve. You never think you’re “done” or that you know everything.

As a coach, this means you’ll continually be looking to improve your craft. You’ll share knowledge with others and be eager to learn from your fellow coaches as well.

Helpful and Friendly

You take a sincere interest in others and you assume good intentions as a starting point. Your goal is always to help others win and you remain approachable, welcoming, and inviting.

As a coach, this means that you put your client’s needs above your own. Your goal should always be to help them become a confident, independent budgeter—that’s a coaching win. You don’t let your knowledge breed arrogance, and you always remain approachable.


You take initiative, manage your own time, and create environments and routines that enable you to work productively.

As a coach, this means you are able to focus on your client, tailor a plan specifically for them, and execute it. Your client should trust that you know the next steps, and if you’re unsure of what the next steps will be, that you’ll talk it out honestly.


Being open-minded means you have strong opinions, loosely held. You are genuinely curious about other people’s ideas and you are quick to change your mind when you believe you are wrong.

As a coach, you’ll always remember the person. Even though you know you have an effective plan, you’ll be open to your client’s thoughts and ideas. When you feel strongly about a decision, you can (and will) confidently make your case, but you’ll be ready to adjust your plan as necessary.