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Ethics & Regulations

ICF and Ethics

The ICF is the leader in developing a definition and philosophy of coaching, as well as, establishing a set of ethical standards that ICF members pledge to uphold. The ICF has established the ICF Code of Ethics, for ICF Members and ICF Credentialed coaches, and the Ethical Conduct Review Process, for those who have ethical complaints against an ICF member or credentialed coach. Both coaches and the public should be informed about these established codes and processes and the high standards ICF member professional coaches commit to uphold.

ICF and Regulation

The mission of the ICF is to be the global forum for the art and science of coaching, where we inspire transformational conversations, advocate excellence, and expand awareness of the contribution coaching is to the future of humankind.

The ICF Regulatory Committee was appointed in 2002 to support the ICF Mission Statement and to protect and preserve the integrity of the coaching profession. The goal of the Regulatory Committee is to research, monitor, evaluate, and proactively contribute to government and regulatory bodies in order to educate, articulate, and develop our growing profession of coaching as a self-regulated profession.

The ICF Regulatory Committee is committed to maintaining coaching as a distinct profession, and to strengthening our self-governance model. Questions or comments may be sent via e-mail to icfheadquarters@coachfederation.org.

What does the ICF Self-Governance Model look like?

The ICF takes a policy stand for professionalism and self-governance in coaching.

The standards and structures built by the ICF over the past decade, which support the emergence of coaching as a valued profession, also provide a solid-foundation for the self-governance of the profession. In addition, rigorous adherence as professionals to these standards and practices provides the necessary assurance that the public is protected from potential harm. ICF's self-governance foundation is comprised of and depends upon each of the following standards and practices, supported by the efforts of the ICF Board, Committees, global representatives, credentialed, and member coaches.

  • Core Competencies that define the required skill set of a professional coach and establish the foundation for the professional credentialing examination and accreditation for coach training programs.
  • A Code of Ethics to which ICF Members and ICF Credentialed coaches pledge commitment and accountability to standards of professional conduct.
  • Professional oversight through an Independent Review Process for ICF Members and ICF Credentialed coaches, which allows the public to report concerns and to be confident of objective investigation, follow-up and disciplinary action.
  • Professional coach credentialing, entailing a stringent examination and review process through which coaches must demonstrate their skills, proficiency and documented experience in application of coaching core competencies. Credentialing includes Continuing Coaching Education requirements for periodic renewal of coaching credentials, to ensure continued professional growth and development.
  • Professional Coach Training Accreditation by which coach training programs submit to review and continuing oversight to demonstrate their commitment to the highest standards for curricula aligned with defined core competencies, faculty, structure, proficiency and ethics to support excellence in the training of coaches.
  • Ongoing self-regulatory oversight initiatives to track the needs and concerns of individual and organizational clients on an international basis, and to demonstrate an active commitment to meaningful professional self-governance.

Spam Policy

All email and electronic communications with members should adhere to the following principles.

  1. You should have a prior relationship with the person receiving your email. (Someone giving you their business card is acceptable in this regard-it implies permission to get in contact. Similarly if someone has sent you an email.)
  2. A valid "from" and "reply to" address must be included with each message
  3. If you have a subscription list, you should send a confirmation email that the person wishes to be on the list.
  4. There should always be a quick way to unsubscribe from any mail list
  5. Any request to cease mailing from an individual or organization should be quickly honored.
  6. A complaint involving a breach of this policy may be considered a violation of the ICF Code of Ethics, and therefore referred to the Independent Review Board for their consideration. Should they find a breach occurred, remedies may be required. Sanctions may also be imposed such as suspending or terminating the coach's membership and/or credential with the ICF.