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The ICF Code of Ethics is Your Fundamental Coaching Tool: Are you up to date?

One of the most fundamental tools available to coaches is the ICF Code of Ethics.  The ICF, through a collaborative process, has developed the Code of Ethical Standards to help elicit the best in each and every coach.  Understanding and applying the Code of Ethics to your coaching practice will elevate your professionalism and translate into enabling deep trust between you and your clients.

The importance of ethical standards and practice has led the ICF to undergo a process of regular revision to ensure the ICF Code of Ethics continues to support coaches in being their best, while establishing trust across our stakeholders.

The most recent update went into effect January 1, 2020.  This article provides some highlights and links to where coaches can find the complete Code of Ethics and the associated resources.

The Update Process:

The revised Code is the embodiment of many hours of work, incredible dedication and a tremendous attention to detail. The ICF Code of Ethics is reviewed every three years. The most recent update began in 2018 and involved a large Code Review Team with individuals from 16 countries.  The ICF Board of Directors approved the revised Code and it went into effect January 1, 2020.

The Changes:

While there continues to be 28 standards, the language has been clarified in many of them and the standards have been regrouped into four new categories:

Section I: Responsibility to Clients

Section II: Responsibility to Practice and Performance

Section III: Responsibility to Professionalism

Section IV: Responsibility to Society

On first reading the updated Ethical Standards may seem similar to the previous, however, there are changes throughout and it is important for coaches to read through all the standards to ensure we are in compliance and being our best in our profession.  Therefore, I am not going to outline the changes I found in my comparison, but invite my colleagues to visit the updated Code of Ethics and re-familiarize yourselves with these important tools of our profession.

The Supporting Resources:

I am delighted to see that the ICF has provided more resources to support coaches in interpreting the Ethical Standards, understanding the complaints process, and accessing a community of practice.  These resources all support coaches in putting our Ethical Standards into practice in our daily interactions, marketing and coaching.

1. Understanding how to Interpret Each Ethical Standard:

This link to the Interpretive Statements is very useful as it provides an expanded explanation of how to interpret each of the ethical standards: https://coachfederation.org/interpretive-statements  

2. Ethics Water Cooler Conversations:

Join in the one-hour Zoom conversations which take place the second Wednesday of each month (English) at 11am Eastern/8am Western (Canada and US).

Register here for upcoming Water Cooler Conversations.

3. ICF Ethics CCE Course:

This is useful for coaches renewing or applying for their ICF Credential, but also useful as a refresher.  The ICF Global Ethics Community of Practice will update the video to align with the updated 2020 Code of Ethics. In the meantime, this link is still useful for CCEUsAs soon as the ICF Global Ethics Committee makes the update available we will update this link here. 

Conversations on Ethics in Our Profession Webinar Series

The Conversations on Ethics webinar series continues and it is not too late to participate.

Session 3 of this 6 part series is coming up on May 2, 2019 and even if you missed the first two sessions, you can still participate, but will have to listen to Session 1’s recording first.

ICF – Vancouver Island Chapter members Lily Seto, May Prefontaine and Janet Sheppard kicked off this series in January of this year with the intention of helping coaches deepen their understanding of the nuances of how ethics come into play in our profession and day-to-day interactions with our clients.

The purpose of the series is to support coaches’ development of ethical awareness (maturity), and to introduce and engage the powerful tools of reflective practice. The experience will be facilitated through exposure to the theoretical framework of ethical maturity, and the learning will emerge from coaches’ participation in rich, stimulating, and respectful conversations in each of the webinars.

This series is designed to be accessible to a range of coaches, credentials, and experience levels. Each session offers 1 Core Competency CCEU.  Please consider participating in as many webinars as work for your schedule!


To Register for Session 3 Click Here


SAVE THE DATES!

Individual Eventbrite invitations will be posted for the following dates/times:

Session 4: July 9, 2019, 9:00-10:00 am Pacific Time (changed)

Session 5: September 9, 2019, 12:00-1:00 pm Pacific Time

Session 6: November 12, 2019, 6:30-7:30 pm Pacific Time

More About Your Facilitators

Lily Seto, MA, PCC, ESIA, Certified Mentor Coach and Diploma in Coaching Supervision, is Past President of the ICF Vancouver Island Chapter. Her practice includes individual and group coaching, mentor coaching and coaching supervision, and facilitation. She is a member of the Global Independent Review Board (IRB investigates global complaints against coaches) and often explores ethics with her coaching supervision clients. She also teaches Intercultural Competence and Global Coaching as an Associate Faculty member with Royal Roads University in the Advance Coaching Certificate Program. Connect with Lily

Mary Prefontaine, CPCC, Co-Founder of Brew + Past Events Director of the Vancouver Island Chapter of the ICF. Mary specializes in leader development of individuals + teams. She is a trained associate of the Ethical Lens Inventory and encourages her clients + fellow coaches to stay alert to the conscious and unconscious biases we each hold when it comes to ethical dilemmas we face in our lives.

Dr. Janet Sheppard, CEC, ACC, Past Director of Community Relations, Mid/Up Island for the Vancouver Island Chapter of the ICF. Janet comes to her practice in coaching from a thirty year career in counselling. After retiring, Janet turned to coaching as a way to continue her passion for lifelong learning, while contributing to the learning, growth and change of her clients.  Website: www.janetsheppardcoaching.com

Announcing: Cross Canada Coaching Series

Mark your calendars! The Cross Canada pilot project, created by ICF chapters Vancouver Island, Calgary, Edmonton, Toronto and Quebec is ready to take flight.

ICF Vancouver Island members will have exclusive free access to five webinars offered across Canada during the Fall of 2018 and Winter 2019.

The presenters are outstanding ICF credentialed coaches. These experts will deepen your learning and understanding of select ICF Core Competencies during these interactive and engaging webinars.

Please visit our events calendar page for further information.

Kindness in Your Coaching: The Art of Being in Service for Your Clients

February is the ICF-VI Coaches Chapter’s Kindness Month, arising out of the ICW 2012 Theme, ‘Heart of Coaching’ and due to February being heart month. As your Chapter prepares for our day of kindness this February, we found ourselves asking the question:

What is it to bring kindness into the practice of coaching?

At the heart of this question is the concept of coming from a place of service for our clients. Being kind to your clients can mean a number of things relating to how you self-manage and support yourself in maintaining your attitude of service.

How do you support clients to be kind to themselves when you hear them beating themselves up?

Being kind doesn’t mean letting them off the hook, it means holding them as fully capable to make the changes they desire.

As we (the authors) were discussing this blog’s theme we had a quick discussion on how keeping our coaching skills sharp can add to our ability to elevate our client’s experience with kindness. None of us wish to admit our skills may get a bit loose now and then, but it is certainly something to continually draw our awareness back to in service of being truly masterful coaches for our clients.

What could this look like?

Professional development – Ensuring you are keeping your craft fine-tuned and that you are challenging yourself to stretch as a professional coach.

Accountability – This could mean two things. It refers to really holding your clients accountable to their goals, their vision, their values. It also means holding yourself accountable to really being with your client and challenging yourself to have all your skills, all the core competencies, at work in your coaching.

Curiosity – Do you listen to what is being said and what is not being said and support your client in exploring their story, the judgments, distinctions, assumptions, etc., that they may be making? Do you dig in and help your client dig down into the underlying motivations or beliefs your client may be holding onto and do you do this without judgment?

Championing – How you encourage exploration of new behaviours and actions that forward your client’s learning.

Acknowledging – Who they are being, who they are becoming, pointing out their magnificence as they are stretching towards their fullest potential.

Ethics – There are so many small and big ways to let this slip. Here are a few examples:

  • The coach who encourages a client to sign up for coach training…at the same program that coach is an affiliate of and receives a kick-back from.
  • Coaching multiple members of the same work team.
  • Continuing to coach a client you have lost interest in.
  • Telling your client what to do.
  • Advertising yourself as an ICF credentialed coach when you have let your membership lapse.

When was the last time you read the ICF Code of Ethics?

These are just a few of the ways we can be of service to our clients.

  • What does being of service to your clients mean to you?
  • What have you noticed when you bring these to your attention and into your practice of coaching?
  • What do you notice when you don’t; when your skills get a little loose?

Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love.

~Lao Tzu

This resource article was co-written by the VI-Coaches communications committee.

**Please credit VI Coaches with any use of or excerpt from this article in any form.