Ethics & Regulation

The International Coach Federation (ICF) has taken the lead in developing a definition and philosophy of coaching, as well as in establishing ethical standards among its members. Through its own Code of Ethics, Ethical Conduct Review Process, Program Complaint Process and Independent Review Board (IRB), ICF sets professional coaching standards while also giving consumers a venue to file ethics complaints about ICF Members, ICF Credential-holders or ICF-accredited training programs.

ICF's self-governance foundation comprises and depends upon the following standards and practices, supported by the efforts of the ICF Board, global representatives, and credentialed and member coaches:

  • Core Competencies that define a professional coach’s required skills and establish the foundation for the professional credentialing examination and accreditation for coach-training programs.
  • A Code of Ethics to which ICF Members and ICF-credentialed coaches pledge commitment and accountability to standards of professional conduct.
  • Professional oversight through an Independent Review Process for ICF Members and ICF-credentialed coaches, which allows the public to report concerns and to be confident of objective investigation, follow-up and disciplinary action.
  • Professional coach credentialing, entailing a stringent examination and review process through which coaches must demonstrate their skills, proficiency and documented experience in application of coaching core competencies. Credentialing includes Continuing Coaching Education requirements for periodic renewal of coaching credentials, to ensure continued professional growth and development.
  • Professional Coach Training Accreditation, by which coach-training programs submit to review and continuing oversight to demonstrate their commitment to the highest standards for curricula and alignment with defined core competencies, faculty, structure, proficiency and ethics to support excellence in the training of coaches.
  • A Code of Conduct to which ICF-accredited coach-training programs pledge commitment and accountability to standards of professional operation. 
  • A Program Complaint Process for ICF-accredited coach-training programs, which allows ICF Members, ICF Credential-holders and students currently enrolled in ICF-accredited programs to report concerns and to be confident of objective investigation, follow-up and disciplinary action. 
  • Ongoing self-regulatory oversight initiatives to track the needs and concerns of individual and organizational clients on an international basis and to demonstrate an active commitment to meaningful professional self-governance.


Contact ICF with Regulation Updates

If you are aware of possible or pending coaching regulation in your area, please contact ICF

Individual and Program Complaints

ICF handles complaints about breaches or violations of the ICF Code of Ethics by individual coaches, the integrity of accredited coach-training programs’ curricula, and breaches or violations of the ICF Program Code of Conduct by accredited coach-training programs.

Learn more about the ICF Ethical Conduct Review (ECR) Process.

Learn more about the ICF Program Complaint Process.


Ethics Questions?

Contact or 1.859.226.4245.

ICF Disclaimer of Liability

The ICF Ethics Hotline is designed and made available only for the limited purpose of assisting individuals with inquiries pertaining to the ICF Code of Ethics. ICF is not able to and will not give those who contact the ICF Ethics Hotline actionable advice or recommendations outside of whether or not an action or event may constitute a potential violation of the ICF Code of Ethics

ICF hereby disclaims any and all liability for damages, losses or injuries of any kind or nature arising out of, resulting from, or any way connected to a party’s use of or reliance upon the ICF Ethics Hotline or any communications or correspondence had with ICF staff as a result of an ethics inquiries. Furthermore, any communication or response received to an inquiry directed to the ICF Ethics Hotline is not and shall not under any circumstance constitute legal advice or a legal opinion on the part of ICF.