Leader Ethical Guidelines

ICF-MD Chapter Leader Ethical Guidelines is a demonstration of our commitment to high ethical standards. These guidelines recognize that an organization is defined by the people who work and volunteer for it, and as such, must demonstrate their ongoing commitment to the core values of integrity, honesty, fairness, openness, respect, and responsibility.

ICF-MD Chapter Leaders are defined as any coach acting in an elected or appointed, voluntary role as a member of the ICF-MD Board of Directors, ICF-MD Committees or leaders of Communities of Practice.

  1. It is imperative that all ICF-MD Chapter Leaders conduct themselves in accordance with the ICF Code of Ethics, Vision and Core Values (See Appendix 1). These principles are the very foundation of ICF and the integrity we bring to the coaching industry. It is important that ICF-MD Chapter Leaders familiarize themselves with each of these documents and conduct active conversations with other ICF Chapter Leaders and members around these topics.

    Therefore, as an ICF-MD Chapter Leader I will conduct myself in accordance with the ICF Code of Ethics, Vision and Core Values.

  2. It can be challenging to accurately determine instances of conflicts of interest. Perception plays a role in successful chapter relations, so chapter leaders must consider how a potential decision may be perceived by chapter members and members of the public. As a leader, your actions don’t just impact your reputation: They have the potential to shape the public’s perception of your chapter, of ICF, and of the coaching industry.

    Therefore, as an ICF-MD Chapter Leader I will be mindful of potential conflicts of interest in my local chapter and actively advocate against the perception of such.

  3. Ongoing conversations in ethics allow members latitude for continued ethical maturity, which is imperative for successful coaching relationships. Some chapters have encouraged visibility of good coaching ethics with mini-ethics moments (during meetings) and annual discussions regarding ethics.

    Therefore, as an ICF-MD Chapter Leader I will encourage ongoing ethics conversations within our chapters to promote ethical maturity and support members in their professional growth.

  1. Chapter bylaws and polices are the cornerstone of successful chapter interactions. It is imperative that these bylaws be relied upon as a framework in all ICF-MD Chapter Leader activities. Bylaws ensure due process is adhered to when challenging situations arise. They also serve as a set of guidelines and/or policies so the ethos of the chapter is consistent and all member relations are productive and meaningful. The current set of ICF-MD bylaws can be found in Appendix 2.

    Therefore, as an ICF-MD Chapter Leader I will become familiar with, and adhere to, my chapter’s bylaws and other chapter and ICF Global policy documents.

  2. As role models, ambassadors of ICF, and representatives of the coaching industry, ICF-MD Chapter Leaders should look for ways that their chapter can align with and support the vision, mission and values and strategic plan of the ICF to allow continuity in the pursuit of the global advancement of the coaching profession. The current ICF Strategic Plan can be found in Appendix 3. It is also advisable that the chapter have a clear protocol for identifying the chapter’s spokesperson in any given situation.

    Therefore, as an ICF Chapter Leader I will seek to align chapter activities with the current ICF Strategic Plan.

  3. Due to the volunteer nature of chapter leadership positions, an established protocol for leadership transition is encouraged; this ensures an amicable transfer of responsibilities. The specifics should be outlined and clearly conveyed so all parties are privy to the process, ensuring no miscommunications. Further, upon leaving office, it is vitally important that the outgoing leader works with the incoming leader to ease the transition by explaining ongoing efforts, procedures, etc.

    Therefore, as an ICF-MD Chapter Leader I will ensure an amicable transfer of responsibilities when my tenure has concluded.

  4. As a role model, an ICF-MD Chapter Leader must establish clearly defined and appropriate boundaries between personal and ICF-related business. It is imperative not to place one's personal or business interests above that of ICF or the chapter (or even appear to do so) because it could be perceived as a conflict of interest. This undermines the legitimacy of the local chapter and ICF as an organization, and leads to a diminished trust in the chapter’s leadership and in the coaching industry.

    Therefore, as an ICF-MD Chapter Leader I will be mindful of my personal or business interests in relation to that of ICF or ICF-MD while in a leadership capacity.

  5. ICF Chapters consistently rate transparency as a top priority and an integral facet of successful interactions. Consequently, transparency should be incorporated into chapter decision models to promote effective internal and external chapter relationships.

    Therefore, as an ICF-MD Chapter Leader I will be mindful of and encourage the incorporation of measures that promote transparency in our chapter activities.

  6. When nominating potential leadership candidates, the chapter shall establish the required competencies for the position (e.g., strong moral compass, business acumen, financial literacy, etc.) and ensure that candidates meet these competencies. This is integral to the realization of a high-performing chapter and ensures a successful term and continuity during transitions.

    Therefore, as an ICF-MD Chapter Leader I will be mindful of the required competencies for leadership roles when assisting in the selection of the most qualified candidate.

  7. When working with a third party, vendor or anyone providing services to the chapter, it’s important to make it clear that the relationship is with the chapter and the board of directors as a whole and not with any one individual or leader. This will allow for a smoother transition between the parties and will allow for an equitable resolution if disagreement arises.

    Therefore, as an ICF-MD Chapter Leader, I will ensure that outside parties working with the chapter understand that they are contracted by the chapter and the board of directors and not any one person.

  1. The chapter will establish ethical marketing strategies and procedures. Establishing protocols to convey impartiality when it comes to third-party advertisements is a crucial element in the success of chapter public relations. An example would be requiring clear and legible disclaimers on all relevant communications (paid promotional material) which provides the members context in which to gauge the relevance of a chapter communication (i.e., a disclaimer on the all of the chapter’s paid advertisements, such as, ”This is a paid promotion and does not represent ICF’s endorsement of a particular training program.”)

    Therefore, as an ICF-MD Chapter Leader I will not use my ICF-MD Chapter Leadership role to endorse any specific programs or activities, regardless of ICF accreditation or approval.

  2. Creating appropriate channels in which to advertise (i.e., gain revenue) is another aspect to consider when communicating with the chapter membership. Again, establishing protocols to convey impartiality when it comes to advertisements is a crucial element in the success of chapter public relations. For example, paid advertisement communications should originate from a shared chapter email (e.g., [email protected]), as opposed to a personal business or leadership email address (e.g., [email protected]) to ensure efficient communications to members without perceived impropriety.

    Therefore, as an ICF-MD Chapter Leader I will not use my role to imply ICF support for a specific program, tool or approach.

  3. In ICF-MD, the chapter website, social media and other communication methods are the means of outreach to members and the public face of the chapter. With that in mind, it is crucial that the board establish protocols and designate a framework for access for and administration by the appropriate person(s) to any communication outlet.

    Therefore, as an ICF-MD Chapter Leader I will encourage communication policies that facilitate access as outlined in a framework determined by the board, to ensure no conflicts of interest arise.

  4. The chapter promotes culturally competent guidelines that regulate communications sent by chapter leadership. Parameters may include items such as priority level, frequency and length of messaging sent and minimum professional standards accepted for publication. This sets a high level of integrity and ensures chapter communications are professional and not burdensome to members.

    Therefore, as an ICF-MD Chapter Leader I will take these factors into consideration when crafting or reviewing chapter communications.

  5. Establishing preventive measures that promote data protection can be a useful precaution considering current trends throughout the world. Successful measures include having a spam policy in place, compartmentalization (information security), and maintaining open lines of communication with individuals who have access to the member lists, financial documents, etc.

    Therefore, as an ICF-MD Chapter Leader I will be aware of our members’ and stakeholders’ privacy and not violate policies regarding data privacy set by ICF and my chapter bylaws.

Chapter Dispute Resolution Process:

ICF is committed to providing a recommended protocol for all chapters through which members can bring alleged breaches of these Guidelines to the chapter’s attention and resolve them internally in an amicable manner. In partnering with Chapter Leaders, ICF has established a set of recommended procedures that provide for review, investigation and resolution of alleged violations or behavior deviating from the established Guidelines. This process is intended to serve as a “model of excellence” for the fair review of complaints regarding internal chapter governance and leadership disputes.

A copy of this protocol can be found in Appendix 4.

Chapter Leader Ethic Ombudsperson:

ICF MD is also concerned that there should be a neutral person to consult in the event of confusion over one of these Ethical Guidelines by any Board or Committee member. It has therefore established the position of an Ethics Ombudsperson who will serve as an informal resource with an impartial and neutral voice to help in the interpretation of these guidelines.

The current Ethics Ombuds person for ICF-MD is Ed Modell, PCC. He can be contacted via email: [email protected].