Ethical Guidelines for Skating Directors/Program Directors

"Service excellence is based on ethical service."

The purpose of these ethical guidelines is to provide a framework of conduct above and beyond the minimum standards provided by the code of ethics as set forth in the bylaws of the Professional Skaters Association. 

The Professional Skaters Association and its membership aspire to the highest ideals of professionalism and acknowledge that the following guidelines should be followed in the performance of professional services provided to those with whom we have contact.
Please note: this is a professional courtesy, not a legal position.

Skating Directors/Program Directors are generally charged with administering the day-to-day operations of a figure skating club or a figure skating program run by a rink.  The tasks can vary from program to program and rink to rink.  Many gray areas exist for those Skating Directors/Program Directors who manage programming and teach within those programs they manage.  Skating Directors/Program Directors are acting as agents for the club/facility when making decisions.  They have a responsibility to make decisions based on the overall good of the program and within the rules and regulations of the program.

No outside organization is in a position to advise any facility how to conduct their business. The PSA code of ethics refer only to members of the PSA. As you know, there are many coaches who are unaffiliated.

However, facilities do have the right to dictate policies within their facility as long as they are not discriminatory and reasonable in practice. It would be in the facility’s best interest to seek counsel regarding what it can and cannot do.

If the program does not have a written policies and procedures manual, a manual should be created, and distributed to coaches. Written documentation that a coach has received and read the manual should be retained. Cooperative relationships between the Skating Directors/Program Directors, the management, the staff and the clients of the club/facility are important in producing a quality working environment.  Skating Directors/Program Directors are on the frontline and need to be good at problem solving, mediating and stepping back from situations in order to make fair and objective assessments and decisions.

A director of the rink/club, who is also a coach, can be a great benefit because they often possess a historical perspective and understand the nuances of skating and, in general, possesses a circumspect overview of the program and how it supports the continued success of the club or rink.  

Aspects to Be Considered:

Skating Directors/Program Directors need to employ a tangible process as the basis of all decisions concerning policies and procedures. Those policies and procedures should be available to everyone. Skating Directors/Program Directors should make objective decisions that benefit the program as a whole, not an individual or small group of people.

If a parent is asking the director for a referral for private lessons, it may prove helpful to assist them with the decision by pointing out important factors to consider. The final decision should be left up to the parent, as they would best know their child’s needs, motivation, and learning style.

Skating Directors/Program Directors need to be mindful that they do not make decisions that unfairly benefit themselves, other close associates, or family members over other staff members. Examples include: the creation of ice schedules, the management of team teaching when the Skating Director/Program Director is a member of the team, and the management of coaching assignments for classes should be given out in an unbiased manner.

Related material: Ethical Solicitation, Marketing, and Promotion

Suggestions for Mediating Disputes between Staff Members:

The Director should provide the coaching staff an atmosphere to resolve any differences they may have on their own. If differences cannot be resolved, then the director may need to step in and help the coaches find some common ground on a particular issue.

A time and place should be established and communicated to all parties involved.  In addition, an impartial witness should be present but silent during the meeting.  Notes should be taken.  Both sides should have an opportunity to speak.

Be sure to come as a neutral party to the mediation. Offer both parties the opportunity to speak and get their issues out on the table. You may have to intervene and calm the parties involved and possibly set limits on who can speak and when and admonish the parties if they fail to respond to each other in a civil manner.

Often times, in a dispute resolution, the issue or issues that surface are not necessarily the root cause for the dispute. You may have to ask questions to get a better handle on what really is the bigger issue.

Sometimes when all the issues are laid out, the two parties may decide to reconcile their issues on the spot, and other times they may only agree to disagree. After listening to all the concerns from both parties, you should adjourn the meeting, but not before you let both parties know the time frame for your decision and the method that you will use to let them know the outcome. You should always convey the outcome in writing even if you decide to let them know the outcome in person, by phone, or by email.

Your direct supervisor or facility management should review and authorize your decision prior to releasing.

Once you arrive at your decision, schedule another meeting with the individuals involved to communicate your findings. You may conduct two separate meetings or hold one with all parties present.

Lastly, you need to be clear in your action and in the expectations that you will have for both parties.

Helpful Hints for Skating Director/Program Director:

  • Be fair
  • Be consistent
  • Be mindful of perceptions
  • Be cooperative with all entities you come into contact with
  • Treat the staff with respect and professionalism
  • Know and enforce equitably, rink/club policies and/or by-laws
  • Consider your resources, including other skating directors and the PSA ethics documents
  • An additional resource is the USOC Safe Sport materials
  • Motivate your staff of coaches to stay current with their education
  • Encourage your staff of coaches to take PSA rating exams
  • Give recognition to those who successfully take and advance in rating exams
  • Encourage your staff to stay current with PSA membership and insurance

Every business should have a disaster plan. If your facility does not have one, an emergency policy and procedure manual should be developed.

Two links are provided below providing information on emergency preparedness:

[PDF] How to Plan for Workplace Emergencies and Evacuations - OSHA

CDC - Business Emergency Management Planning - NIOSH ...

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