Being a part of the ICF community isn’t just about flaunting a title; it’s a professional commitment and pledge. When you wear the badge of ICF Member or credentialled coach (ACC, PCC, or MCC), you pledge to be responsible—not just to your clients but to a broader circle that includes sponsors, colleagues, and the society we’re all a part of.  This is at the heart of the ICF Code of Ethics.

Joining esteemed organisations like the ICF or EMCC is more than just a marketing gimmick. It’s a vote of confidence from you to your future clients. You’re telling them, “I take this seriously, so you can trust me.”

What Does ‘Ethical’ Mean to You?

Ethics aren’t just checkboxes on a to-do list. For many, it’s the safety net that protects both coach and client. For others, it’s the moral compass guiding every interaction. How about you? If you’ve trained in an ICF-accredited coaching program, you’ve delved into the intricate details of the ICF Code of Ethics. However, ethics evolve—the code was last refreshed in September 2019. When did you last revisit it?

The Four Pillars: More Than Just Guidelines

The ICF Code includes four primary areas of responsibility: clients, practice and performance, professionalism, and societal impact. While confidentiality might be second nature to many coaches, how well do you know the other facets? Could you say with certainty that your current practice embodies these principles?  If you were to point to your coaching agreements, policies and procedures, would they cover everything encompassed within the ICF Code of Ethics?

Even in Marketing, Integrity Matters

Self-promotion can sometimes feel like navigating a minefield. You want to stand out but crossing ethical lines—even unintentionally—can tarnish your credibility. Saying you offer “proven results” isn’t just risky; it can be misleading if you don’t have the data to back it up. The ICF Code isn’t a set of shackles; it’s a guiding light even in how you present yourself.

You’re Not Alone

We all need a little help sometimes. The ICF offers a rich tapestry of resources to support you in understanding the ICF Code of Ethics and what it might mean for you and your practice, from a community of ethical practice,  FAQs, video series, research and more.  And don’t forget the invaluable Ethics CCE Course—it’s not just for renewing your credential, it’s about renewing your commitment.  It’s also available to anyone for free, whether you are an ICF member or not.

Why Not Take a Moment?

Pause. Give yourself a 10-minute window to review the ICF Code of Ethics. Conduct an audit with yourself. What’s working well, and where might you need to adjust? You owe it to yourself—and those you serve.