International Coach Federation – Code Of Ethics

Part One: Definition of Coaching
Section 1: Definitions
•Coaching: Coaching is partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential.
•A professional coaching relationship: A professional coaching relationship exists when coaching includes a business agreement or contract that defines the responsibilities of each party.
•An ICF Professional Coach: An ICF Professional Coach also agrees to practice the ICF Professional Core Competencies and pledges accountability to the ICF Code of Ethics.

In order to clarify roles in the coaching relationship, it is often necessary to distinguish between the client and the sponsor. In most cases, the client and sponsor are the same person and therefore jointly referred to as the client. For purposes of identification, however, the International Coach Federation defines these roles as follows:
•Client: The “client” is the person(s) being coached.
•Sponsor: The “sponsor” is the entity (including its representatives) paying for and/or arranging for coaching services to be provided.

In all cases, coaching engagement contracts or agreements should clearly establish the rights, roles, and responsibilities for both the client and sponsor if they are not the same persons.

Part Two: The ICF Standards of Ethical Conduct

Preamble: ICF Professional Coaches aspire to conduct themselves in a manner that reflects positively upon the coaching profession; are respectful of different approaches to coaching; and recognize that they are also bound by applicable laws and regulations.

Section 1: Professional Conduct At Large

As a coach:

1) I will not knowingly make any public statement that is untrue or misleading about what I offer as a coach, or make false claims in any written documents relating to the coaching profession or my credentials or the ICF.

2) I will accurately identify my coaching qualifications, expertise, experience, certifications and ICF Credentials.

3) I will recognize and honor the efforts and contributions of others and not misrepresent them as my own. I understand that violating this standard may leave me subject to legal remedy by a third party.

4) I will, at all times, strive to recognize personal issues that may impair, conflict, or interfere with my coaching performance or my professional coaching relationships. Whenever the facts and circumstances necessitate, I will promptly seek professional assistance and determine the action to be taken, including whether it is appropriate to suspend or terminate my coaching relationship(s).

5) I will conduct myself in accordance with the ICF Code of Ethics in all coach training, coach mentoring, and coach supervisory activities.

6) I will conduct and report research with competence, honesty, and within recognized scientific standards and applicable subject guidelines. My research will be carried out with the necessary consent and approval of those involved, and with an approach that will protect participants from any potential harm. All research efforts will be performed in a manner that complies with all the applicable laws of the country in which the research is conducted.

7) I will maintain, store, and dispose of any records created during my coaching business in a manner that promotes confidentiality, security, and privacy, and complies with any applicable laws and agreements

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

Section 2: Conflicts of Interest

As a coach:

9) I will seek to avoid conflicts of interest and potential conflicts of interest and openly disclose any such conflicts. I will offer to remove myself when such a conflict arises.

10) I will disclose to my client and his or her sponsor all anticipated compensation from third parties that I may pay or receive for referrals of that client.

11) I will only barter for services, goods or other non-monetary remuneration when it will not impair the coaching relationship.

12) I will not knowingly take any personal, professional, or monetary advantage or benefit of the coach-client relationship, except by a form of compensation as agreed in the agreement or contract.

Section 3: Professional Conduct with Clients

As a coach:

13) I will not knowingly mislead or make false claims about what my client or sponsor will receive from the coaching process or from me as the coach.

14) I will not give my prospective clients or sponsors information or advice I know or believe to be misleading or false.

15) I will have clear agreements or contracts with my clients and sponsor(s). I will honor all agreements or contracts made in the context of professional coaching relationships.

16) I will carefully explain and strive to ensure that, prior to or at the initial meeting, my coaching client and sponsor(s) understand the nature of coaching, the nature and limits of confidentiality, financial arrangements, and any other terms of the coaching agreement or contract.

17) I will be responsible for setting clear, appropriate, and culturally sensitive boundaries that govern any physical contact I may have with my clients or sponsors.

18) I will not become sexually intimate with any of my current clients or sponsors.

19) I will respect the client’s right to terminate the coaching relationship at any point during the process, subject to the provisions of the agreement or contract. I will be alert to indications that the client is no longer benefiting from our coaching relationship.

20) I will encourage the client or sponsor to make a change if I believe the client or sponsor would be better served by another coach or by another resource.
21) I will suggest my client seek the services of other professionals when deemed necessary or appropriate.

Section 4: Confidentiality/Privacy

As a coach:

22) I will maintain the strictest levels of confidentiality with all client and sponsor information. I will have a clear agreement or contract before releasing information to another person, unless required by law.

23) I will have a clear agreement upon how coaching information will be exchanged among coach, client, and sponsor.

24) When acting as a trainer of student coaches, I will clarify confidentiality policies with the students.

25) I will have associated coaches and other persons whom I manage in service of my clients and their sponsors in a paid or volunteer capacity make clear agreements or contracts to adhere to the ICF Code of Ethics Part 2, Section 4: Confidentiality/Privacy standards and the entire ICF Code of Ethics to the extent applicable.

Part Three: The ICF Pledge of Ethics

As an ICF Professional Coach, I acknowledge and agree to honor my ethical and legal obligations to my coaching clients and sponsors, colleagues, and to the public at large. I pledge to comply with the ICF Code of Ethics, and to practice 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 sanctions, such as loss of my ICF membership and/or my ICF Credentials.


On recieving my Professional Certified Coach (PCC) Accredition from The International Coach Federation (ICF)

I have just received confirmation from the International Coach Federation of the approval of my PCC application.  A coach is eligible for this credential only when he/she has completed 750 hours of coaching, along with other requirements. Am elated at this achievement.  A validation of three years of work. The journey has been so fulfilling. I am filled with gratitude and immensely thankful to all those wonderful people who gave me a chance to assist them in their lives. I have only come back richer from every session. Without you this would not have been possible. The Universe is so kind!

‘Life Coach’ Added to Merriam-Webster Dictionary

This is a proud moment for the Coaching Industry. The word ‘Life Coach’has now been added to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary.

I see this as a validation of an industry which is growing at an exponential speed – and this growth is proof that Coaching is an effective solution in the current socio-economic conditions worldwide.

Am proud to be a part of this profession. Proud to be able to help people unleash their potential. Proud to be able to live my life purpose. Proud to be a Coach.

Here is the news article published by Sacramento Bee. Links to the original article have been provided below.

LEXINGTON, Ky., Aug. 17, 2012 — /PRNewswire/ — For the first time Tuesday, the word “life coach” appeared in Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary. “I think it’s great,” says Michelle Hollingshead, President of the ICF Ohio Valley Chapter. Merriam-Webster picks about 100 additions for their annual update, by gathering evidence of frequently used words over several years. “I think it communicates the legitimacy and the timeliness of our services.” Hollingshead continued, “It’s great to get global recognition as a profession.”

In an economic age where more and more jobs are being cut, the coaching industry is growing. “The industry keeps growing because it’s meeting a societal need to make people more effective, satisfied and able to maximize their potential to help humanity flourish,” explains Dr. Damian Goldvarg, President-Elect of ICF’s Board of Directors. The first-known usage of the word “life coach” was in 1986 according to Merriam-Webster, but since then the professional coaching industry has exploded. The 2012 ICF Global Coaching Study* revealed there are 47,500 professional coaches worldwide bringing in a total annual income of nearly $2 billion. The growth in the professional coaching industry is one indication that coaching is an effective solution to the common economic struggles plaguing many companies today.

Major corporations have turned to coaching to improve their businesses, including IBM, Nike, Verizon and Coca-Cola Enterprises. Studies show that virtually all companies or individuals who hire a coach are satisfied. According to the ICF Global Coaching Client Study (2009), a stunning 99% of people who were polled said they were somewhat or very satisfied with the overall experience.

A key differentiator for the industry is that coaching is seen as an “action plan” rather than an exploratory process. Coaching has become a significant trend in leadership development because it increases productivity, empowers employees, and provides a return on investment (ROI). Professional coaching explicitly targets maximizing potential and in doing this unlocks latent sources of productivity and effectiveness. At the heart of coaching is a creative and thought-provoking process that supports individuals to confidently pursue new ideas and alternative solutions with greater resilience in the face of growing complexity and uncertainty.

The International Coach Federation is the leading global organization for coaches, with over 21,000 members in more than 100 countries and over 7,900 credentialed coaches worldwide. ICF is dedicated to advancing the coaching profession by setting high ethical standards, providing independent certification, and building a worldwide network of credentialed coaches.

* The 2012 ICF Global Coaching Study and the ICF Global Coaching Client Study (2009) were commissioned by ICF but conducted independently by the International Survey Unit of PricewaterhouseCoopers. Full copies of the studies are available upon request.

This press release was issued through eReleases® Press Release Distribution. For more information, visit

SOURCE  International Coach Federation

Link to the original article:

Effective Coaching helps in Sharpening Your Focus

One of the competencies of successful coaches is to be able to assist the coached ‘decode’ his or her words, thoughts and emotions. But in doing that, the coach needs to avoid the trap of drawing meanings of the coached person’s words based on his or her own frame of reference. It is important to remember a word may have different connotations for different people.

What a coach needs to do here is to help the coached move beyond generalities and be precise with words, thoughts and emotions. More often than not, I’ve heard the coached using generalised and absolute statements like “I never have enough time” or “Nobody ever listens to me” or “They always reject my ideas.”

I have also heard sentences sprinkled with comparative phrases like ‘more than’, ‘better than’ and ‘less than’.  And I have heard people use collective nouns and pronouns that are sweeping rather than specific – “they,” ‘we,” “the stakeholders” and “senior management.” It is also interesting to hear them say “I need to communicate well” or “I need to be healthy” and speak of self-imposed constraints.

Coaches may use a series of clarifying questions to facilitate the process of sharpening the focus. Take for example a time when the coached comes up with a generalised statement like: “My leader always rejects my ideas.” A coach may then ask: “Is it true? How many times in the last six months have your ideas been rejected?” That will help the coached get more clarity.

Similarly, when the coached uses comparative terms like ‘better than’ or ‘more than’, it is imperative that the coach ask “Better than who?” or “More than what?” Or, when collective nouns like “the stakeholders” and “senior management” are used, it may help to ask “Who specifically do you mean?” or “Who in the senior management?”

A good coach will always ask the coached “What do you mean by communicate well?  Do you mean you want to articulate ideas well or be brief or listen more and talk less?” And when the coach hears of self-imposed constraints, the attempt should be to discover what exactly the constraints are. Some of my favourite questions which often encourage the coached to challenge their thinking and test these constraints are – According to who?  What measure are you using?  What is the worst that could happen if you didn’t do this?

Indeed, the clarifying questions often act as a mirror and may help the coached test his or her own beliefs and even re-evaluate his/her thinking. The time spent in ‘digging’ to understand  the coached person’s perspective and helping him or her articulate thoughts and ideas with clarity is a useful exercise and may help in saving time and energy in the long run.

On receiving my ACC certification from International Coach Federation


Its a beautiful day as it brings with it the great news: I am now an ACC – Accredited Certified Coach (ICF, U.S.A)

When I look back at the last two years and the work which went into getting here while juggling so many plates in the air,I am proud of this achievement and wish to thank my family, teachers at my school: International Coach Acdemy (ICA, Australia), clients, readers and my awesome friends for their support.

This is a milestone in my journey and not the end. My next goals are already polished and  shining!
Just as the motto of my alma mater goes “Forever more and better ever”

First Non-North American to Serve as President of the ICF:Press Release

International Coach Federation welcomes Karen Tweedie, PCC, of Australia to the role



LEXINGTON, Ky., Dec 16, 2008 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ —



 On January 1, Karen Tweedie, PCC(1), will make history as she assumes the role as the International Coach Federation’s first non-North American president. The Australian will join 15 other officers and directors-at-large from 10 countries to form the 2009 global ICF Board of Directors.

Tweedie has been coaching professionally in both the public and private sector for 16 years and has held various positions of ICF leadership, including: President of the International Coach Federation Australasia in 2005; Secretary/Treasurer of the global ICF Board in 2007; and President-elect of the global ICF Board in 2008.

“I am thrilled to be leading the ICF into 2009. It is a great honor for me, as well as those in the Australasian region, to have the opportunity to serve as the first non-North American president of this global coaching association,” said Tweedie.

“There are many opportunities and challenges that lie ahead for the ICF and professional coaching at large in the coming year, but with the expertise and collective knowledge of the global Board, I am certain that we, as an international association, will continue to advance the art, science and practice of professional coaching throughout the world.”

Joining Tweedie on the 2009 ICF Board is: (*Indicates new member to the global ICF Board of Directors.)

    -- President-elect: Giovanna D'Alessio, MCC(2), (Italy);
    -- Past President: Diane Brennan, MCC, (USA);
    -- Secretary/Treasurer: Tom Hatton, PCC, (Ireland);
    -- Vice President: Marilyn O'Hearne, MCC, (USA);
    -- Vice President: Lene Ronning-Arnesen, PCC, (Norway);
    -- Vice President: Garry Schleifer, PCC, (Canada);
    -- Director: John Annesley, PCC, (Australia);
    -- Director: Philip Brew, MCC, (UK);
    -- Director: Sylviane Cannio, PCC, (Belgium);
    -- Director: Daniele Darmouni, MCC, (France);
    -- Director: Ira Dressner, PCC, (USA) - beginning his second term on the
    -- Director: Janet Harvey, MCC, (USA)*;
    -- Director: Krissy Jackson, ACC(3), (Switzerland)*;
    -- Director: Ed Modell, PCC, (USA)*; and
    -- Director: Pat Obuchowski, ACC, (USA)*.

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 over 15,000 members in 92 countries, dedicated to advancing the coaching profession by setting high ethical standards, providing independent certification, and building a worldwide network of credentialed coaches. The ICF is the only organization that awards a global credential which is currently held by over 4,400 coaches worldwide..

Credentials awarded by the ICF: (1) PCC: Professional Certified Coach; (2) MCC: Master Certified Coach; and (3) ACC: Associate Certified Coach.


SOURCE International Coach Federation

Copyright (C) 2008 PR Newswire. All rights reserved




SOURCE International Coach Federation

Copyright (C) 2008 PR Newswire. All rights reserved

Time for Executive Coaches to Make a Difference : Response source (press release)

*      j Sir John Whitmore’s call to action to the coaching profession at the International Coach Federation’s (ICF) recent Make A Difference Day at London’s BT Centre, left them in no doubt on what their role should be in the global economic and environmental crises and beyond.

In his provocative keynote speech, entrepreneur and coaching leader Sir John (above) told the audience of more than 170 professional coaches they were uniquely placed to use their professional skills to force change, likening them to the “midwives at the birth of responsible society”.

Describing a world which is seeing a decline in leadership and values and where people have little respect for their elected leaders, Sir John said of coaching, “There could not be a function more urgently needed than one which advances self-responsibility.”

After Sir John’s speech, which was webcast live to ICF chapters worldwide, delegates joined a series of work streams to develop practical ways for coaches to use their professional skills for the benefit of the wider community.

The call to coaches to drive change in society struck a chord with Helen Caton Hughes of the Forton Group, co-sponsors of the event, which coaches leaders at all levels from the boardroom to the shop floor. “Leadership is not just about personal, professional and team success. It’s every leader at every level in society to make a difference locally and globally,” she said.

To download Sir John’s speech visit presentation download For further information on the International Coach Federation visit More information on the Forton Group is available on