The ICF Philosophy and Definition
of Coaching, Pledge of Ethics, and Standards of Ethical
The International Coach
Federation adheres to a form of coaching that honors the client as the expert
in his/her life and work, believes that every client is creative, resourceful,
and whole. Standing on this foundation, the coach's responsibility is
The ICF Philosophy of Coaching
- Discover, clarify,
and align with what the client wants to achieve
- Encourage client self-discovery
client-generated solutions and strategies
- Hold the client
responsible and accountable
Definition of Coaching
Professional Coaching is an ongoing professional
relationship that helps people produce extraordinary results in their lives,
careers, businesses or organizations. Through the process of coaching, clients
deepen their learning, improve their performance, and enhance their quality of
In each meeting, the client chooses the focus of conversation,
while the coach listens and contributes observations and questions. This
interaction creates clarity and moves the client into action. Coaching
accelerates the client's progress by providing greater focus and awareness of
choice. Coaching concentrates on where clients are now and what they are
willing to do to get where they want to be in the future, recognizing that
results are a matter of the client's intentions, choices and actions, supported
by the coach's efforts and application of the coaching process.
Pledge of Ethics As a professional coach, I acknowledge and agree to honor my
ethical obligations to my coaching clients and colleagues and to the public at
large. I pledge to comply with ICF Standards of Ethical Conduct, to treat
people with dignity as independent and equal human beings, and to model these
standards with those whom I coach. If I breach this Pledge of Ethics or any ICF
Standards of Ethical Conduct, I agree that the ICF in its sole discretion may
hold me accountable for so doing. I further agree that my accountability to the
ICF for any breach may include loss of my ICF membership or my ICF
Standards of Ethical Conduct
I will conduct myself in a manner that reflects well on
coaching as a profession and I will refrain from doing anything that harms the
public's understanding or acceptance of coaching as a profession.
I will accurately identify my level of coaching
competence and I will not overstate my qualifications, expertise or experience
as a coach.
I will ensure that my coaching client understands the
nature of coaching and the terms of the coaching agreement between us.
I will not intentionally mislead or make false claims
about what my client will receive from the coaching process or from me as their
I will respect the confidentiality of my client's
information, except as otherwise authorized by my client, or as required by
I will obtain informed permission from each of my
clients before releasing their names as clients or references or any other
client identifying information.
I will be alert to noticing when my client is no
longer benefiting from our coaching relationship and would be better served by
another coach or by another resource and, at that time, I will encourage my
client to make that change.
I will seek to avoid conflicts between my interests
and the interests of my clients.
Whenever any actual conflict of interest or the
potential for a conflict of interest arises, I will openly disclose it and
fully discuss with my client how to deal with it in whatever way best serves my
I will disclose to my client all anticipated
compensation from third parties that I may receive for referrals or advice
concerning that client.
I will honor agreements I make in my coaching
relationships, and construct clear agreements that may include confidentiality,
progress reports, and other particulars. I will obtain the express consent of
the person being coached before releasing information to another person
I will not give my clients or any prospective clients
information or advice I know to be misleading or beyond my competence.
I will respect and honor the efforts and contributions
I will respect the creative and written work of others
in developing my own materials.
I will use ICF member contact information (email
addresses, telephone numbers, etc.) only in the manner and to the extent
authorized by the ICF.