ICF Publishes Statement of Diversity, Inclusion, Belonging and Justice - International Coaching Federation
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ICF Publishes Statement of Diversity, Inclusion, Belonging and Justice

As the global association for coaches and coaching, ICF can harness the collective power, influence and voice of our membership to champion changes that will benefit our industry, our clients, our communities and the world.

Last month, the ICF Global Board of Directors took the first of several concrete steps toward action against systemic inequality in the coaching industry and in our broader communities.

The Board approved the ICF Statement of Diversity, Inclusion, Belonging and Justice. This statement of principles will be the cornerstone of our Association’s work in this space, and it reflects a position we invite every ICF Member, Credential-holder and accredited training provider to subscribe to:

ICF Members and Credential-holders live and work in more than 140 countries and territories. ICF is a vibrant global community committed to the shared vision of making coaching an integral part of a thriving society. Our mission is to lead the global advancement of coaching. To do this, we must reflect on our blind spots and be aware of opportunities for improvement. We cannot ignore the challenges that many coaches and coaching clients face due to systemic problems in their communities.

As members of the ICF community, we ascribe to the core values of integrity, excellence, collaboration and respect. The foundation of these values is a shared commitment to diversity, inclusion, belonging and justice.

We will place diversity, inclusion, belonging and justice at the forefront of every decision we make within our Association. As we continue the journey toward our vision, we will recommit ourselves to valuing the unique talents, insights and experiences that every coach and client brings to the world.

This statement of principles was cosigned by ICF executive staff and Global Board leaders from across our Association’s ecosystem.

The Board also approved the creation of a Task Force on Diversity and Inclusion with a charter to create a comprehensive design and systemic approach to address diversity and inclusion within ICF as an organization and coaching as a profession.

The task force will create an action plan to take an intentional look at what we are and are not yet doing within the ICF ecosystem to promote inclusivity, equality, acceptance and belonging; emphasize external enablement; and turn learning into action.

The Board’s vision is that this group will eventually evolve into a permanent body that will oversee and coordinate ICF’s long-term work in this space.

This group’s work will be built on a foundation of clear, transparent communication. We will invite continuous input and feedback from our stakeholders around the world; incorporate diverse perspectives from volunteer leaders, members, relevant subject-matter experts, and staff; and share openly and often about the progress of this important work.

As One ICF, we are pursuing a shared vision of coaching as an integral part of a thriving society. We will achieve this by standing together for—and moving together toward—greater diversity, inclusiveness, belonging and justice in our profession and in our world.

Comments (14)

  1. tensei@d-coach.com says:

    I fully agree with the ICF statement.

    • henrietta@henriettabond.com says:

      I am in agreement with this statement and glad the ICF takes this issue seriously.

  2. hiroshiyam@gmail.com says:

    I support the statement.

  3. fatma.abuabass@gmail.com says:

    It is highly important statement , it will be great if we can know more about the practical steps toward the achievement.

  4. nicolewdean@xavieraustingroup.com says:

    Glad to see ICF’s commitment and plan to identify blind spots and create change with coaching competencies at the core. This is how I approach my work with clients, and it has made the difference for their organizations.

  5. conchita caparrós says:

    This is a highly valued approach especially for the globalized and changing world that we are living in. I also believe it means to have a systemic vision, presence and acceptance of the client.

  6. LUIS FRANCO says:

    Excelente iniciativa.

  7. janetheresagraydon@gmail.com says:

    Great to hear about the task force and hear about the long term commitment.

  8. I totally agree with the statement and am proud to be a member of the ICF — an organization that cares enough to create it!

  9. Clare Norman says:

    This is fantastic, I have often wondered about the coaching world being of an elitist nature. This is starting to satisfy that curiosity. Working in neurodiversity, inclusion is high on the agenda. I am so pleased to see this development at the ICF.

  10. Ayako Kunii says:

    I fully agree to this statement and behave this way.

  11. Ayako Kunii says:

    I fully agree to this statement. Will behave this way.

  12. supremevens.coachdevie@gmail.com says:

    Il est important de savoir que l’inégalité des chances ou les inégalités systémiques sont malheureusement un facteur encore très présent un peu partout dans le monde du coaching, un peu sans surprise au Canada, et même Montréal qui est ma Ville domiciliaire n’y est pas vraiment exclue. Ce qui me pousse à particulièrement apprécier les efforts de ICF mondial face à cette réalité désagréable, injuste, malhonnête, voire dégradante. Je me sens déjà très soulagé et épaulé par les initiatives et actions de ICF en ce sens.

  13. While I appreciate and applaud ICF’s creation of a statement and agree with the sentiments expressed, I’m very disappointed with the substance of the statement.

    If a DEI statement doesn’t challenge its audience or provoke at least a smidge of discomfort, it’s little more than platitudes.

    There’s a huge missed opportunity here. This statement is too ICF-centric. It doesn’t say anything about why this work is important (generally and/or in the coaching profession) and what it’s setting out to address. It doesn’t rise above the feel-good nature of too many DEI initiatives and statements. There was an opportunity here to put a stake in the ground and issue a clear call to action to everyone who has a vested interest in the potential of coaching. For instance, coaches can collaborate with others to facilitate the examination of systems of oppression, healing, reconciliation, and difficult conversations.

    I recognize that a single statement isn’t going to capture the enormity of the work to be done. It’s challenging (if not impossible) to create a statement that will please everyone. My disappointment with this one is that it doesn’t even seem to acknowledge the scope, let alone compel me to take action. Framing DEI challenges as “systemic *problems* in *their* communities” minimizes the issue and allows us to distance ourselves from the reality of systemic oppression that we all either benefit or suffer from.

    In case anyone is interested, the best example of a DEI statement from an association that I’ve seen is from the League of American Orchestras: https://americanorchestras.org/a-new-statement-on-racial-discrimination-august-2020/ While the orchestra industry has a longer history and more entrenched cultural norms, coaching shares a general perception of being a service offered by and for the privileged, and because of that, there’s overlap in our contexts.

    ICF Michigan’s 2021 theme is “Belonging,” and we’re in regular conversation about what that means and how we can cultivate a reality of belonging for everyone. It’s part of our work to do. It will be imperfect and incomplete, but we’re excited to try.

    My hope is that as conversations continue within the membership and coaching stakeholders, ICF’s statement might evolve to be a powerful mandate for our profession to step up, speak out, and take courageous action. We’re not going to save the world, but we can ask ourselves, “what’s our work to do?” and be bold in that slice of work.

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