top of page

Ethical Standards

The International Coach Federation (ICF) was the first organization in the world to create and propose a definition and philosophy of coaching, and also led to the creation of ethical standards that members are required to follow. ICF applies the Code of Ethics for members and accredited coaches, as well as implements a complaint handling process for anyone who has reservations about ICF members or accredited coaches. Both coaches and all interested parties should know and be aware of the ethical principles and the possibility of appeal in the event of a failure to comply with them, as well as all standards that ICF professional coaches are required to comply with. Below is the ICF Code of Ethics.


Part One: Definition of Coaching


Section 1: Definitions


Coaching: Coaching is a partnership with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential


Professional coaching relationship: A professional coaching relationship occurs when coaching is based on a contract or contract that defines the responsibilities of both parties


ICF Professional Coach: The ICF Professional Coach agrees to use ICF Key Competences and vows to comply with the ICF Code of Ethics.


In order to clarify the roles involved 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 then they are called the client. However, for identification purposes, the International Coach Federation defines these roles as follows:


Client: The client is a person who is being coached


Sponsor: The sponsor is the person or organization that pays or provides the provision of coaching services

In any case, the contract or contract for coaching services should clearly specify the rights, roles and responsibilities of both the client and the sponsor if they are not the same person.


Part Two: ICF Ethics Standards


The ICF professional coach strives to behave in a way that positively represents the coaching profession, respects different approaches to coaching, and respects applicable codes and legal regulations.


Section 1: Rules of professional conduct


As a coach:

  • I will not knowingly make any false or misleading statements regarding the services I offer publicly or make false statements in any written form related to my coaching profession, my accreditation or ICF.

  • I will accurately present my coach qualifications, specialist knowledge, experience, certifications and ICF accreditations.

  • I will appreciate and respect the efforts and contributions of others and will not present them as my own. I am aware that breaking this standard may be the basis for legal remedies.

  • I will always try to identify personnel issues that may conflict, conflict or adversely affect my coaching or professional coaching relationship. When the facts and circumstances so require, I will seek professional help immediately and identify actions to take, including considering whether it would be appropriate to suspend or terminate my coaching relationship.

  • I will follow the ICF Code of Ethics in all activities related to coaching training, coaching mentoring and coaching supervision.

  • I will competently and honestly conduct and report on research, following accepted scientific standards and relevant guidelines. My research will be conducted after obtaining the necessary consent or consent of the persons involved, using methods that will protect participants from possible damage. All research related activities will be carried out in accordance with the regulations of the country in which they will be conducted.

  • I will properly maintain, store and delete records of work done in connection with the practice of coaching in a manner that takes into account confidentiality, security, privacy and compliance with all applicable laws.

  • I will use the contact information (email addresses, telephone numbers, etc.) of ICF members only in the manner and to the extent that ICF authorizes me to do so.


Section 2: Conflict of interests


As a coach:

  • I will try to avoid any conflict of interest or potential conflict of interest and I will openly disclose any such conflict. I will suggest backing out when such a conflict occurs.

  • I will disclose to the client and his sponsor information about all the expected remuneration from other people that I can pay or receive for referring the client.

  • I will provide services in exchange for other services, goods or other non-monetary remuneration only if it does not cause deterioration of the coaching relationship.

  • I will not knowingly accept any personal, professional or financial benefits arising from client-coach relationships other than the forms of remuneration specified in the contract or contract.


Section 3: Professional conduct towards clients


As a coach:

  • I will not knowingly mislead or make false statements about what the client or sponsor will receive during the coaching process or from me as a coach.

  • I will not provide current or potential clients with information or advice that I know or suspect to be wrong or untrue.

  • I will have clear agreements or contracts with clients and sponsors. I will comply with all agreements and contracts concluded in the context of professional coaching relationships.

  • Before and during the first session, I will carefully explain and try to ensure that my client and sponsor understand the nature of coaching, confidentiality limits, financial arrangements and other terms of the contract or coaching agreement.

  • I will be responsible for setting clear, relevant and culture-sensitive boundaries for potential physical contact with a client or sponsor.

  • I will not have sexual contact with any current customer or sponsor.

  • I will respect the client's right to terminate the coaching process at any time, subject to the provisions of the contract or contract. I will be vigilant on the indications that the coaching relationship ceases to bring benefits to my client.

  • I will encourage the client or sponsor to make changes if I believe that the client or sponsor would be better served by another coach or other means.

  • I will recommend that the client use the services of other specialists when I deem it appropriate or necessary.

  • Section 4: Confidentiality / Privacy

  • As a coach:

  • I will strictly respect the confidentiality of information from my client and sponsor. I will have a clear contract or contract before providing information to third parties, unless required by law.

  • I will have clearly defined terms on which coaching information will be exchanged between the coach, client and sponsor.

  • Acting as a trainer for learning coaches, I will explain the principles of confidentiality policy.

  • I will ensure compliance with Part 2, Section 4: Confidentiality / Privacy and other provisions of the ICF Code of Ethics that will apply when managing coaches or other people who provide services to clients and sponsors for free or free of charge.


Part Three: ICF Ethical Commitments


As a Professional Coach, I acknowledge and agree to recognize my ethical and legal obligations towards my clients and sponsors, colleagues and the general public. I vow to abide by the ICF Code of Ethics and apply these standards to everyone for whom I am a coach. If I break this Ethical Commitment or any part of the ICF Code of Ethics, I agree that ICF may at its sole discretion recognize me as responsible for this behavior. In addition, I agree that my responsibility to ICF for any offenses may include sanctions such as the loss of my ICF membership or my ICF accreditation.

bottom of page