The ICF Code of Ethics is an important tool for coaches and for their clients. As a coach, the Code of Ethics provides guidelines that are helpful when starting a coaching business. A new coach has the opportunity through their coach training to read and discuss the ICF Code of Ethics. There is value in an ICF-approved coach training wherein coaches explore some of the unconsidered dilemmas that arise with their trainer and classmates. When offering coaching services, the Code of Ethics is foundational to establishing trust with the client. When something does come up, the Code of Ethics is a reference tool for how to handle it.
As an example, imagine a situation where the employer is paying a coach to work with an employee. If the employer asks the coach for detailed information, the coach simply refers to the Code of Ethics where the confidentiality is addressed; specifically, a coach must have the employee’s agreement before releasing information.
For a coaching client, the Code of Ethics is a source of information about the parameters of coaching and confidentiality. In a worst-case situation, if a coach is a member of the ICF, the client has a place to go if they want to lodge a complaint against a coach. For clients, knowing that the Code of Ethics a coach follows specifically addresses protecting confidentiality is essential to their comfort level in a coaching relationship.
The Code of Ethics teaches, guides, and is a source of oversight for coaching relationships.