ICF Releases Statement Condemning Racism and Systemic Inequality - International Coaching Federation
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ICF Releases Statement Condemning Racism and Systemic Inequality

On June 1, 2020, the International Coaching Federation released the following statement from CEO Magdalena Nowicka Mook and ICF Professional Coaches Global Board Chair Sara Smith, MCC:

Ahmaud Arbery. George Floyd. Tony McDade. Breonna Taylor.

We have heard their names, read their stories, and mourned their early and senseless deaths. Our disbelief and sadness have prompted us to consider changes we must make in our own lives, actions and attitudes in order to dismantle inequality, be better allies, and drive meaningful and lasting change.

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.

As coaches, we consider our clients’ context, identity, environment, experiences, values and beliefs as we partner with them in unlocking their potential. However, we cannot help our clients reach their greatest potential unless we also work against entrenched conditions that limit it.

The continued perpetuation of systemic inequality is at odds with our shared values and vision as ICF. As coaches, we know that change often begins in moments of discomfort. Change begins with tough conversations. Change begins when we open ourselves to feedback about where we are getting it wrong and to guidance on what we can do to get it right. We must act.

In the days, weeks and months ahead, we are committed to an open dialogue that can open the door for our Association and our industry to move us closer toward the creation of a thriving society.

As One ICF, we stand together. We stand for greater diversity and inclusion. We stand against racism. We stand against violence. We stand for respect, dignity and integrity.

It is our sincere hope that you will join us as partners on this journey.

Magdalena Nowicka Mook, CEO, ICF

Sara Smith, MCC, 2020 ICF Professional Coaches Global Board Chair

Comments (30)

  1. Sackeena says:

    Thank you!

  2. Well said Sara and Magdalena!

  3. I stand with you!

  4. Pat Rothenberger says:

    Thank you for not hesitating in making this statement. Well put!

  5. Hilary oliver says:

    Thank you for this and i am certainly standing for this.

  6. libby.dishner@crescostrategy.com says:

    I stand with you as One ICF and will do whatever is required to partner on this journey.

  7. Joanne Schlosser says:

    I stand with you and want to help eliminate injustice and inequality so that every man, woman and child can feel safe walking, running or driving in their own communities and elsewhere, where they can get the medical care and other necessities they need without fear or discrimination.

  8. Thanks Magda and Sarah! Very well put statement.

  9. Felicia L Byrd says:

    Thank you for your courage to take a stand. Well stated.

  10. becca reed says:

    Thank you for speaking out!

    • Kim Moore says:

      Proud to be in a profession that takes this stand and is acting in alignment with our values.

      Thank you Magda, Sara, Rajat and the rest of our board for your overt position. We are ready and acting at the local level.


  11. damian@g-c-group.com says:

    Thanks for your statement. It is great to know where ICF stands and also inviting members to consider how we are champions for the changes needed to make this world a better place. Damian

  12. info@bethbuelow.com says:

    Thank you for taking a stand and making it clear that we as coaches will not tolerate racism, injustice, or inequity in our communities or world.

    We are all interconnected and interdependent. When one person is harmed, we are all harmed.

    Let’s respond with compassion, inclusiveness, and healing.

  13. Thank you for writing what we all feel. I am so proud to be part of an organisation that stands by it’s moral values and is not afraid to speak out.

  14. Dumi says:

    Great message ICF team. We stand with you from out here in South Africa, and with all human beings obstructed form being who they can fully be. Let us promote the spirit of Ubuntu – humaneness, which means: “I am because we are”. One of our tasks is to co-create spaces where we can ALL unleash the gifts that we came here to share. Thank you for this Magda, Sara, Rajat, and the broader ICF family.

  15. I stand with this message and I am committed to doing whatever I can to help create a new way forward. It is long past time for things to change on a MASSIVE scale.

  16. Brian Duggan says:

    Thank you – will this be on Social Media … Twitter, LinkedIn?

  17. Thank you for making this statement. From an ICF hiring, staffing, and promotion policy perspective, how do we set the standard? How will we reflect these sentiments in our values, credentialing, and training?

  18. Ruth says:

    I appreciate what you have said and can see that many organisations are making similar statements. I am curious to see and be involved in taking positive action to breakdown barriers and broaden perspectives and understanding and how we can do this more directly through coaching. In other words some action needs to come from these statements

  19. Thank you for this and I am certainly standing for this.

  20. Teri McGraw says:

    Within the core of each being is love and peace. In our role as coaches we see and focus on the core of each being. We each blossom and experience the true value of coaching.

  21. I stand with the membership and leadership of ICF. I want to be a member of the ACTION Committee assigned to develop plans to ensure coach training organizations begin to open themselves to feedback about where they are getting it wrong and not addressing the ills of racism and injustice. I offer my service and commitment to working with ICF leadership to move the organization forward in the area of diversity and inclusion; particularly the concerns of Black male coaches.

  22. mgordon@shaboominc.com says:

    This is a good beginning, and we have a lot of work to do.

    ACTO (Association of Coach Training Organizations) has made exploring what a real commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging in coaching and coach training might really mean. We devoted two entire conferences to that theme and have made a commitment to integrating it into every aspect of the organization’s work. We have formulated an ACTO Stand for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Belonging as follows:

    “ACTO is committed to creating diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging in the coaching profession through calling forth, honoring and inviting the uniqueness of all individuals and diverse life experiences.

    “In support of this stand, we acknowledge and are committed to eliminating the negative impact of personal and systemic bias, privilege and oppression, which may be conscious or unconscious, intentional or unintentional, overt or subtle.

    “As coach trainers, we are tasked with creating the future of the coaching profession. We commit to providing dialogue, learning and resources and to cultivating personal and organizational responsibility in alignment with this stand, at ACTO, for each of our students, members and member organizations.”

    As an ICF member since 1996 and an ACTO member for about 10 years (first through coach training orgs and now as an individual member), I wholeheartedly endorse this stand. I look forward to seeing ICF address systemic racism–which is related to but not the same as cultural competency–with the same rigor, resources, and commitment that we have brought to credentialing and accreditation.

    I encourage all coaches and coach trainers to consider deeply how our profession, however unwittingly, has enshrined the cultural norms of white supremacy. A good way to enter into that question is to download and study White Supremacy Culture by Tema Okun (building on work by the late Kenneth Jones). For example, in what ways are individualism, fear of open conflict, and a sense of urgency based into our competencies? https://www.dismantlingracism.org/uploads/4/3/5/7/43579015/okun_-_white_sup_culture.pdf

    There is also an excellent Google doc, Scaffolded Anti-racist Resources, organized by stages of white identity development. You can use this with yourselves, your mentees, and your clients to identify appropriate learning tools.

    Without concerted effort, coaching will unwittingly perpetuate the very things that ICF is taking a stand against in this statement. We have incredible breadth and depth in our ranks. We have hearts, minds, bodies, and souls that we are committed to using for the highest good. But most of us are working from and in systems that are inherently racist, and all our good intentions can cause incalculable damage if we do not challenge and support each other to make radical structural changes.

    I know we can do this.

    Will we?

  23. Jonathan says:

    Hello, it’s been a month since this statement was released.

    When can we expect an update or roadmap of the actions that the ICF will be taking?

    I’m looking forward to hearing about tangible practices and procedures that will be put in place.

  24. Yesim Engin says:

    Well said, thanks for proving one more time that why we coaches, need to be united under ICF umbrella…

  25. Jeremy Wirtz says:

    Thank God there are people and coaches who are against the violence. The BLM and ANTIFA have terrorized entire cities with the burning of cars and destroying businesses. We as coaches have the ability to end all of the violence, not just the police violence. ICF, do you have classes specifically for police and first responders? As a disabled veteran, do you offer any courses that will help other veteran through this time of America being attacked? I have heard so many good things about your company. Thank you!!!

  26. I appreciate ICF taking this stand and establishing a Task Force. As a coach who has been passionate about this issue for decades, I look forward to updates and how you will involve ICF members and stakeholders including possibly open member forums to contribute to and influence potential organizational changes.
    As others have mentioned, we are looking for action coming from the statements issued two and four months ago.
    Please let me know how I may be of service.

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