Ethical standards are an integral aspect of an ICF coaching credential and coaching ethics are taken very seriously. Ethics reinforce trust and the credibility of the profession, as well as provide a foundation for building powerful relationships with our clients and our colleagues.
At the Global level, ICF maintains, updates and manages the Code of Ethics, Ethical Conduct Review Process, Program Complaint Process and Independent Review Board (IRB), thereby setting professional coaching standards while also giving consumers a venue to file ethics complaints about ICF Members, ICF Credential-holders or ICF-accredited training programs. All information on ethics at ICF is published at: https://coachfederation.org/icf-ethics.
At the ICF NYC chapter operations level, the Code of Ethics informs our chapter governance, policies and procedures, and how we deliver on our portfolio of activities.
- For the Chapter's Board of Directors, this means adhering to the Chapter Leader Ethical Guidelines, including adhering to our by-laws, ensuring no conflicts of interest between our roles serving the chapter and our personal professional business interests including being clear at which times we are representing the Chapter and not ourselves, safeguarding members' privacy and information, protecting the brand, and operating in full transparency.
- For our programming, we require all presenters to sign standard agreements, to avoid sales and marketing campaigns (beyond sharing contact information with interested parties), and to be clear about their interests.
- For our pro bono programs, coach volunteers agree to serve in a capacity under the ICF brand, as opposed to their individual business brand and not to promote their individual interests.
- When pursuing partnerships or relationships with organizations, we assess alignment of values and mission, and take a holistic view towards understanding any potential conflicts of interest between members' business interests, undermining the coaching market and business opportunities, and other potential impacts from any endeavor, whether positive or negative.
At the ICF NYC member level, the Code of Ethics informs how we represent ourselves and interact with one other in building a strong, supportive community. This includes:
- Accurately stating your professional qualifications and coaching credentials. For example, not claiming to have an ICF credential unless you have passed the ACC, PCC or MCC exam.
- Adhering to our community guidelines. Networking and building a professional bench of colleagues and potential referrals is an objective of most coaches and something we encourage. Doing it respectfully and in the appropriate form is important. Our virtual groups (LinkedIn, Facebook, WhatsApp and others) are places to share information, make requests, encourage each other, and contribute to the community. They are not places to advertise your services or events. Instead, our Community Calendar is provided as the platform to share events and opportunities with the membership.
- Respecting one another's intellectual property. Our membership is incredibly generous, sharing knowledge and time with the community, contributing to learning events and more. It is important that at all times, we as coaches cite information as appropriate and only use others' materials with the appropriate permissions.
- Disclosing business interests and affiliations. Many of us work for or collaborate with the growing number of companies, platforms, certification vendors, and others in the coaching industry. When recommending tools or resources to colleagues, it is important that any relationships you may have with a specific vendor be disclosed. It's perfectly acceptable (and appreciated!) to recommend a book you read or tool you used that you really like. But, it's not acceptable to have an active role in selling, referring or creating offerings in the marketplace that you are recommending without stating your business relationship and personal interest.
We appreciate how active and committed our membership is, and continue to work in service to building a thriving, dynamic community built on transparency, trust and respect. Should you have any questions on ICF Ethics, whether at the Global or Chapter level, please reach out to a member of the Board of Directors.