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Ethics

ICF has taken the lead in developing a definition and philosophy of coaching and establishing ethical standards among its members. ICF sets professional coaching standards while also giving consumers a venue to file ethics complaints.

Code of Ethics

The ICF Code of Ethics describes the ICF core values, and ethical principles and ethical standards of behavior for all ICF Professionals. ICF implemented the current version of the Code in January 2020.

Individual Complaints

ICF’s Ethical Conduct Review (ECR) process provides a forum where individuals can bring complaints about alleged breaches of the ICF Code of Ethics by ICF Members and ICF Credential-holders.

The ECR process provides for review, investigation and response to alleged unethical practices or behavior deviating from the established ICF Code. It is intended to serve as a “model of excellence” for the fair review of complaints concerning the ethical conduct of ICF Members and ICF Credential-holders and be responsive to complaints concerning experiences believed to be breaches of the Code by ICF Members and ICF Credential-holders.

If you have an ethical complaint against an ICF Member or ICF Credential-holder, we invite you to download and review an information packet and sample form before completing the online complaint form.

Filing a Complaint

After reviewing the ECR information packet and sample form, you can file a complaint against an individual ICF Member or Credential-holder by following the link below.

Events Prior to 2020

Complaints against individual coach practitioners and/or coach training programs that pertain to an event or events that took place before January 1, 2020, must reference standards from the old version of the ICF Code of Ethics. (The current ICF Code of Ethics did not go into effect until January 1, 2020.) You may access the old version of the ICF Code of Ethics below.

 

Complaints Regarding Training Providers

To ensure the integrity of ICF–accredited programs and protect consumers of coach training, ICF Coach Training has a stringent Code of Conduct and a Program Complaint process. To learn more, follow the links below.

  • Independent Review Board (IRB)

    Independent Review Board

    The Independent Review Board (IRB) oversees ICF’s Ethical Conduct Review (ECR) process. ICF is committed to providing a forum where individuals can bring complaints about alleged breaches of the Code of Ethics by ICF Members and Credential-holders. ICF adopted a policy and set of procedures that provide for review of, investigation of and response to alleged unethical practices or behavior deviating from the Code of Ethics. IRB members undertake this process in accordance with the ECR process. For more information on the IRB or ECR process, please view the section below for Ethical Conduct Review process. Selection for this team is a competitive process including an application and verbal interview.

    2020 Independent Review Board Members

    Chair: Sue McMahon, PCC (USA)
    Vice Chair of Development: Sam Magill, MCC (USA)
    Vice Chair of Operations: Kathy Taberner, PCC (Canada)

    Members:

    • Jürgen Bache, (Germany)
    • Thomas Chen, PCC (Malaysia)
    • Jayaveni Lola Chetti, PCC (Hong Kong)
    • Carrie Doubts, PCC (USA)
    • Cecilia Engquist, PCC (USA)
    • José Manuel Estrada, PCC (Argentina)
    • Anita Gupta, MCC (India)
    • Ed Higgins, PCC (USA)
    • Michael J. Marx, PCC (USA)
    • Decimar Ogutu, ACC (Kenya)
    • Joao Luiz Pasqual, PCC (Brazil)
    • David Ribott, PCC (UAE)
    • Gürkan Sarıoğlu, PCC (Turkey)
    • Janine Schindler, MCC (USA)
    • Lily Seto, PCC (Canada)
    • Mukesh Sharma, PCC (India)
    • Sandra Stewart, MCC (USA)
    • Svea van der Hoorn, MCC (South Africa)
  • Annual Ethical Conduct and Compliance Report

    ICF’s Ethical Conduct Review process, Program Complaint process and trademark management activities all help promote the integrity of the coaching profession and the ICF brand. Each year, ICF publishes a report providing an overview of these activities during the prior fiscal year.

Ethics Resources

  • Ethics Assistance

    If you have questions regarding the ICF Code of Ethics, contact the ICF Ethics Hotline at ethics@coachingfederation.org or 1.859.226.4245.

    Disclaimer of Liability

    The ICF Ethics Hotline is designed and made available only for the limited purpose of assisting individuals with inquiries pertaining to the ICF Code of Ethics. ICF is not able to and will not give those who contact the ICF Ethics Hotline actionable advice or recommendations outside of whether or not an action or event may constitute a potential violation of the ICF Code of Ethics.

    ICF hereby disclaims any and all liability for damages, losses or injuries of any kind or nature arising out of, resulting from, or any way connected to a party’s use of or reliance upon the ICF Ethics Hotline or any communications or correspondence had with ICF staff as a result of an ethics inquiries. Furthermore, any communication or response received to an inquiry directed to the ICF Ethics Hotline is not and shall not under any circumstance constitute legal advice or a legal opinion on the part of ICF.

  • Code of Ethics Overview

    Ethics are guided moral principles underlying how coaches behave congruent with ICF’s core values of integrity, excellence, collaboration and respect.

  • Code of Ethics FAQ

    Find answers to frequently asked questions about the ICF Code of Ethics by following the link below. We have organized questions and answers according to relevant ethical standards.

  • Complimentary Ethics CCE Course

    ICF’s complimentary online ethics course is designed to fulfill the Continuing Coach Education requirement in Ethics for ICF Credential renewal.

  • Ethics Community of Practice

    ICF’s Ethics Community of Practice (CP) is a virtual group of coaches who share best practices, emerging trends, tools and tips in the area of coaching ethics.

    The CP delivers professional development opportunities through a variety of different outputs, including webinar presentations from subject-matter experts and facilitated discussion sessions.

  • Ethics Water Cooler Conversation

    Every month, the Ethics Water cooler Conversation offers an open forum style of conversation around coaching ethics. These calls are free of charge and open to all coaches (ICF Members and non-members) in two languages (English and German). These calls take place via Zoom for one hour. The English call takes place on the second Wednesday of each month at 11 a.m. (New York), and the German call takes place on the second Monday of each month at 6 p.m. Frankfurt (12 Noon (New York)).

  • Chapter Leader Ethical Guidelines

    ICF has created guidelines to assist our Chapter Leaders in the performance of their duties. Our exposure to successful models has allowed us the opportunity to outline areas for success that have proven to be the bedrock for successful Chapter Leader interactions. While different approaches and standards of behavior may exist across the global community, some basic expectations are universal as an ICF coach and leader.

  • Interpretive Statements

    The ICF Code of Ethics Review Team prepared a set of interpretive statements to support ICF Members and Credential-holders in understanding the revised ICF Code of Ethics and applying them in their practice.

Ethics Questions?

Contact ethics@coachingfederation.org or 1.859.226.4245.

ICF Disclaimer of Liability

The ICF Ethics Hotline is designed and made available only for the limited purpose of assisting individuals with inquiries pertaining to the ICF Code of Ethics. ICF is not able to and will not give those who contact the ICF Ethics Hotline actionable advice or recommendations outside of whether or not an action or event may constitute a potential violation of the ICF Code of Ethics. ICF hereby disclaims any and all liability for damages, losses or injuries of any kind or nature arising out of, resulting from, or any way connected to a party’s use of or reliance upon the ICF Ethics Hotline or any communications or correspondence had with ICF staff as a result of an ethics inquiries. Furthermore, any communication or response received to an inquiry directed to the ICF Ethics Hotline is not and shall not under any circumstance constitute legal advice or a legal opinion on the part of ICF.

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