International Coach Federation Recommends Following the Five C’s When Hiring a Coach

LEXINGTON, Ky., July 9, 2008 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ — You want to hire a coach. You have narrowed your initial list down to three potential coaches. But how do you determine which is right for you? Let the ICF help by giving you the top questions to ask each — through the five C’s of hiring a coach: code of ethics, coach-specific training, credential, context and chemistry.
“Choosing the appropriate coach can be a daunting task,” said ICF President Diane Brennan, MBA, MCC(1). “There are thousands of people out there who call themselves a coach — how can you determine which is right for you (and is truly a coach)? The ICF is here to eliminate the confusion and make this process easier for those who want to benefit from a coaching relationship.”
The ICF recommends that clients ask coaches questions based on the five C’s:
1. Code of Ethics. Is the coach a member of the ICF? All ICF members pledge to uphold a set of ethical standards and are accountable to the ethics and standards set forth by the ICF. If the coach is not an ICF member, what ethical standards do they follow? Are they accountable to any standards?
2. Coach-specific training. Has the coach had coach-specific training — training in coaching skills? Or is the said coach marketing him or herself as a coach based on other education/degrees? As coaching is not a regulated profession, many who call themselves coaches have not been formally trained in specific coaching skills and instead are transferring skill sets from other professions into their coaching. This method often results in inadequate and ineffective coaching experience for clients.
3. Credential. Is the coach ICF Credentialed? Or is he/she in the process of acquiring an ICF Credential? When hiring a coach, the ICF strongly recommends finding someone who holds an ICF Credential. The credential signifies: a coach’s commitment to integrity and credibility; an understanding of coaching skills; a coach’s dependability to consumers; a strong code of ethics; superior knowledge and skills; and a coach’s serious stance for ongoing professional development.
4. Context. What other specialized skills does the coach have? How important is experience in specific/relevant areas to you in a coach? Think about the kinds of goals you want to create for your life.
5. Chemistry. Do you feel a connection with the coach? The coach-client relationship is very important; a connection between you and the coach is vital. If it does not “feel” right to you, heavily consider choosing another coach to whom you feel more connected and whom you trust.
The ICF defines coaching as partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential. Coaching is a distinct service and differs greatly from therapy, consulting, mentoring or training. Individuals who engage in a coaching relationship can expect to experience fresh perspectives on personal challenges and opportunities, enhanced thinking and decision-making skills, enhanced interpersonal effectiveness, and increased confidence in carrying out their chosen work and life roles.
The International Coach Federation is the leading global organization for coaches, with 13,000 members in over 80 countries, dedicated to advancing the coaching profession by setting high ethical standards, providing independent certification, and building a worldwide network of credentialed coaches. For more information on how to become or find an ICF Credentialed coach, please visit our Web site at
(1) MCC: Master Certified Coach, highest credential awarded by the International Coach Federation.
    Ann Belcher, +1.859.226.4428,

2 thoughts on “International Coach Federation Recommends Following the Five C’s When Hiring a Coach

  1. elly0412

    Who is the ICF accountable to? Is there an agency that regulates them and holds the ICF accountable if they don’t follow their policies?

  2. dawnday

    What the ICF does not tell the public is that the “Code of Ethics” is used only in a “coach-client” relationship. The ICF will not review a coach in a training school or if one coach witness another coach breaching the code of ethics.

    The ICF will also not make any determination on a ethics review involved in a business dispute – which is any time they want to say that. When isn’t a coaching situation not in a business enviroment.

    The ICF Code of Ethics advertises a “fair review and just resolution.” The truth is, according to the President of the ICF the ethics review is only for the betterment of the coach and does not include the person that is included in the breach for made the complaint. There is no resolution involving the person harmed by a breach.
    ICF needs regulation.

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