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.
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 CCEUs. As soon as the ICF Global Ethics Committee makes the update available we will update this link here.