ICF Revised Code of Ethics 2015

This past month ICF released a revised Code of Ethics. It’s more personable than the previous code and tries to frame the “rules” in such a way the coach can know what to do, rather than what not to do. The revised code reflects a trend in the industry to be proactive in one’s approach to ethical practice. For instance the revised code emphasizes that serving our clients includes the necessity of occasionally having to refer the client to another professional.

Coaching is quickly becoming an important option on the list of services which a person can call upon. When coaching is being considered, the person wants to move forward. Coaching helps the client create awareness and create responsibility. However, there is a possibility that the client is stuck due to some past struggle. There might be chemical dependency or even mental illness present. The client needs help. The coach is responsible to help that client get needed help. Yet at the same time the coach is not necessarily responsible to deliver that service.

CCNI and ICF both encourage the coach to use the coaching conversation to help the client explore what is best. In the spirit of brainstorming, the coach might also mention a few resources to put on the client’s list. Hopefully the list will include mostly resources which are familiar and comfortable to the client. Even though the client might not continue with the coach – and might ultimately switch to another professional – the coach is encouraged to follow up with the client in a few weeks or months to “see how the client is doing.”

Regardless of whether you are an ICF member, you may wish to take a look at the revised ICF code. Let me know what you think of it. I’d enjoy hearing your thoughts.