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Ethics

ICF has taken the lead in developing a definition and philosophy of coaching and establishing ethical standards among its members. Through its own Code of Ethics, Ethical Conduct Review Process, Program Complaint Process and Independent Review Board (IRB), ICF sets professional coaching standards while also giving consumers a venue to file ethics complaints about ICF Members, ICF Credential-holders or ICF-accredited training programs.

 

Individual and Program Complaints

ICF handles complaints about breaches or violations of the ICF Code of Ethics by individual coaches, the integrity of accredited coach-training programs’ curricula, and breaches or violations of the ICF Program Code of Conduct by accredited coach-training programs.

  • Complaints Regarding Individual Coach Practitioners

    ICF’s Ethical Conduct Review (ECR) process provides a forum where individuals can bring complaints about alleged breaches of the ICF Code of Ethics by ICF Members and ICF Credential-holders. The ECR process provides for review, investigation and response to alleged unethical practices or behavior deviating from the established ICF Code. It is intended to serve as a “model of excellence” for the fair review of complaints concerning the ethical conduct of ICF Members and ICF Credential-holders and be responsive to complaints concerning experiences believed to be breaches of the Code by ICF Members and ICF Credential-holders.

    If you have an ethical complaint against an ICF Member or ICF Credential-holder, we invite you to download and review an information packet and sample form before completing the online complaint form.

    Download a complaint information packet (PDF).

    Download Sample ECR Form (PDF).

    Following review of this packet, to submit a complaint, please use the online ECR form.

  • Complaints Regarding Training Programs

    ICF-accredited coach training programs are obliged to follow a stringent Code of Conduct. To ensure the integrity of ICF–accredited programs and protect consumers of coach training, ICF has a Program Complaint Process. Through this process, ICF reviews, investigates and responds to alleged breaches/violations of the ICF Code of Conduct for training programs, as well as to concerns regarding the integrity of an accredited program’s curriculum.

    Complaints ICF does not handle include:

    • Workplace disputes, outside of the ICF Code of Conduct
    • Business to business intellectual property that has not been litigated
    • Issues based on dissatisfaction with a company or provider’s price
    • Contractual business agreements, outside of the ICF Code of Conduct

    Complaints against accredited programs may only be lodged by ICF Members, ICF Credential-holders or individuals currently or previously affiliated with an ICF-accredited coach-training program (complainant must be able to provide proof of relationship).

    Complaints against individual ICF Members or ICF Credential-holders can be filed through ICF’s Ethical Conduct Review (ECR) Process.

    Download Complaint Information Packet (PDF).

    Download Sample Program Complaint form (PDF).

  • Independent Review Board (IRB)

    The Independent Review Board (IRB) oversees ICF’s Ethical Conduct Review (ECR) process. ICF is committed to providing a forum where individuals can bring complaints about alleged breaches of the Code of Ethics by ICF Members and Credential-holders. ICF adopted a policy and set of procedures that provide for review of, investigation of and response to alleged unethical practices or behavior deviating from the Code of Ethics. IRB members undertake this process in accordance with the ECR process. For more information on the IRB or ECR process, please view the section below for Ethical Conduct Review process. Selection for this team is a competitive process including an application and verbal interview.

    2018 Independent Review Board Members

    Chair: Sue McMahon, PCC (USA)
    Vice Chair of Development: Sam Magill, MCC (USA)
    Vice Chair of Operations: Scott Howard, PCC (USA)

    Members:
    Jürgen Bache, (Germany)
    Thomas Chen, PCC (Malaysia)
    José Manuel Estrada, PCC (Argentina)
    Michael J. Marx, PCC (USA)
    Frances Penafort, PCC (Malaysia)
    Gürkan Sarıoğlu, PCC (Turkey)
    Janine Schindler, MCC (USA)
    Lily Seto, PCC (Canada)
    Sandra Stewart, PCC (USA)
    Kathy Taberner, PCC (Canada)

Annual Ethical Conduct and Compliance Report

ICF’s Ethical Conduct Review process, Program Complaint process and trademark management activities all help promote the integrity of the coaching profession and the ICF brand. Each year, ICF publishes a report providing an overview of these activities during the prior fiscal year.

Ethics Resources

  • Ethics Assistance

    If you have questions regarding the ICF Code of Ethics, contact the ICF Ethics Hotline at ethics@coachfederation.org or 1.859.226.4245.

    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.

  • Code of Ethics Overview

    Ethics are guided moral principles underlying how coaches behave congruent with ICF’s core values of integrity, excellence, collaboration and respect.

  • Code of Ethics FAQ

    To help coaches better understand and apply the ICF Code of Ethics, the 2015 ICF Ethics and Standards Committee compiled a list of frequently asked ethics questions and responses to them.

  • Complimentary Ethics CCE Course

    ICF’s complimentary online ethics course is designed to fulfill the Continuing Coach Education requirement in Ethics for ICF Credential renewal.

  • Ethics Community of Practice

    ICF’s Ethics Community of Practice (CP) is a virtual group of coaches who share best practices, emerging trends, tools and tips in the area of coaching ethics.

    The CP delivers professional development opportunities through a variety of different outputs, including webinar presentations from subject-matter experts and facilitated discussion sessions.

  • Chapter Leader Ethical Guidelines

    ICF has created guidelines to assist our Chapter Leaders in the performance of their duties. Our exposure to successful models has allowed us the opportunity to outline areas for success that have proven to be the bedrock for successful Chapter Leader interactions. While different approaches and standards of behavior may exist across the global community, some basic expectations are universal as an ICF coach and leader.

Ethics Questions?

Contact ethics@coachfederation.org 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.

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