Wendy Rhoades, performance coach extraordinaire, is back in the new season of Showtime’s Billions, the melodrama about life in the world of high-flying hedge funds and unscrupulous prosecutors.

As a performance coach myself, I’ve been enjoying watching this portrayal of the work we do. Like Wendy, I use powerful, creative interventions to help leaders in high-stress, high-profile jobs perform at their peak. It’s fun watching Wendy interact with the tough guys around her and hold her own.

But … once again, fictional Wendy has demonstrated exactly what performance coaches ought not to do. Wendy’s primary work is coaching the traders at Axe Capital. In last week’s episode she mentioned that she was doing some freelance work with another client. “But doesn’t that conflict with your work at Axe?” someone asked. Wendy laughed it off. “Don’t worry, I’m not going to bring them my A game.”

What? Coaching work is guided by some strong ethical principles. One of them is that we don’t work with companies who are competing with each other. How can executives trust us and tell us what’s really going on with them and their companies if we’re also working to help their competition?

Equally important, we never deliberately bring anything but our A game. Any coach can have an off day when she’s not at her best. But to deliberately offer your client second-rate help or advice? That’s disgraceful.

If you’ve got a great coach who helps you perform at your best, lucky you! But if you suspect that he is working for your competitors or showing you less than his best game, fire him.

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