Part One: The ICF Philosophy of Coaching

The International Coach Federation adheres to a form of coaching that honours 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 to:

  • Discover, clarify, and align with what the client wants to achieve
  • Encourage client self-discovery
  • Elicit client-generated solutions and strategies
  • Hold the client responsible and accountable

Part Two: The ICF 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 life.

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. ICF member coaches recognize 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.

Part Three: The ICF Standards of Ethical Conduct

Professional Conduct At Large

1. 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.

2. I will honour agreements I make in my all of my relationships. I will construct clear agreements with my clients that may include confidentiality, progress reports, and other particulars.

3. I will respect and honour the efforts and contributions of others

4. I will respect the creative and written work of others in developing my own materials and not misrepresent them as my own.

5. I will use ICF member contact information (email addresses, telephone numbers, etc.) only in the manner and to the extent authorized by the ICF.

6. I will accurately identify my level of coaching competence and I will not overstate my qualifications, expertise or experience as a coach.

7. I will ensure that my coaching client understands the nature of coaching and the terms of the coaching agreement between us.

8. I will not intentionally mislead or make false claims about what my client will receive from the coaching process or from me as their coach .

9. I will not give my clients or any prospective clients information or advice I know to be misleading or beyond my competence.

10. 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.


11. I will respect the confidentiality of my client’s information, except as otherwise authorized by my client, or as required by law.

12. I will obtain agreement with my clients before releasing their names as clients or references or any other client identifying information.

13. I will obtain agreement with the person being coached before releasing information to another person compensating me.

Conflicts of Interest

14. I will seek to avoid conflicts between my interests and the interests of my clients.

15. 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 client.

16. I will disclose to my client all anticipated compensation from third parties that I may receive for referrals or advice concerning that client.

Part Four: The ICF Pledge of Ethics

As a professional coach, I acknowledge and agree to honour my ethical obligations to my coaching clients and colleagues and to the public at large. I pledge to comply with ICF Code of Ethics, 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 part of the ICF Code of Ethics, 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 credentials.