Code of Ethics Overview

Who We Are:

The International Coach Federation’s (ICF) core purpose is to lead the global advancement of the coaching profession. ICF is a not-for-profit individual membership organization, formed by professionals worldwide who practice, teach or research coaching. 

ICF has taken the lead in developing a definition and philosophy of coaching, as well as establishing ethical standards among its members worldwide. Through its own Code of Ethics, Ethical Conduct Review Process, and Independent Review Board (IRB), ICF sets professional coaching standards while also giving consumers a venue to file ethics complaints about ICF Members or ICF-credentialed coaches. ICF also maintains an Ethics Assist Line. See "Questions" below.  

ICF Vision Statement:

Coaching is an integral part of a thriving society and every ICF Member represents the highest quality of professional coaching.

ICF Core Values:

ICF coaches are committed to reliability, openness, acceptance and congruence and consider all parts of the entire ICF community mutually accountable to uphold the following values:

  • Integrity: We uphold the highest standards both for the coaching profession and our organization.
  • Excellence: We set and demonstrate standards of excellence for professional coaching quality, qualification and competence.
  • Collaboration: We value the social connection and community building that occurs through collaborative partnership and co-created achievement.
  • Respect: We are inclusive and value the diversity and richness of our global stakeholders. We put people first, without compromising standards, policies and quality.


Ethics are guided moral principles underlying how coaches behave congruent with the above ICF values.

What we expect of ICF Members when abiding by the Code of Ethics:

To elicit the best in each and every ICF coach, ICF Members and coaches are committed to:

  • Ethical behavior as the foundation of the coaching profession.
  • Continued learning in the field of coaching as required.
  • Search for continued self-awareness, self-monitoring and self-improvement.
  • Acting and being an ethical individual in all professional interactions.
  • Full accountability for the responsibility undertaken as an ICF Member and coach.
  • Complete engagement with and commitment to the coaching profession, setting an example both to the profession overall and to the community.
  • Uphold the highest standards in a manner that reflects positively on the coaching profession.
  • Be fully present in each and every interaction in which we engage.
  • Recognize and abide by the applicable laws and regulations of each country, municipality and local governing body.
  • Provide a safe space for trainers, service providers, coaches and coaches-in-training to learn, excel ethically and strive to become professional coaches of the highest caliber.
  • Embrace diversity and inclusion, and value the richness of our global stakeholders.


Ethics Questions?

Contact or 1.859.226.4245.

ICF Disclaimer of Liability

The ICF Ethics Hotline is designed and made available only for the limited purpose of assisting individuals with inquiries pertaining to the ICF Code of Ethics. ICF is not able to and will not give those who contact the ICF Ethics Hotline actionable advice or recommendations outside of whether or not an action or event may constitute a potential violation of the ICF Code of Ethics

ICF hereby disclaims any and all liability for damages, losses or injuries of any kind or nature arising out of, resulting from, or any way connected to a party’s use of or reliance upon the ICF Ethics Hotline or any communications or correspondence had with ICF staff as a result of an ethics inquiries. Furthermore, any communication or response received to an inquiry directed to the ICF Ethics Hotline is not and shall not under any circumstance constitute legal advice or a legal opinion on the part of ICF.