Code of Ethics

Rook Tree Business Solutions are signed up to the International Coach Federation (ICF), the leading global organisation dedicated to advancing the coaching profession by setting high standards, providing independent certification and building a worldwide network of credentialed coaches. The ICF has more than 18,000 professional personal and business coaches representing more than 100 countries. Its purpose is to advance the art, science and practice of professional coaching.

Rook Tree have signed up to the ICF’s Code of Ethics, underlining our commitment to responsible and accredited coaching of the highest quality. Our clients have the peace of mind that they are benefiting from best practice and the latest thinking in coaching and business support. The Code is shown below.

The wording of the Code of Ethics is owned by the International Coach Federation. For more information on the code of ethics and regulation visit their website

Part One: Definition of Coaching

Section 1: Definitions

  • Coaching is partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires  them to maximize their personal and professional potential.
  • A professional coaching relationship exists when coaching includes a business agreement or contract that defines the responsibilities of each party.
  • An ICF Professional Coach also agrees to practice the ICF Professional Core Competencies and pledges accountability to the ICF Code of Ethics. In order to clarify roles in the coaching relationship, it is often necessary to distinguish between the client and the sponsor. In most cases, the client and sponsor are the same person and therefore jointly referred to as the client. For purposes of identification, however, the International Coach Federation defines these roles as follows:
  • The “client” is the person(s) being coached.
  • The “sponsor” is the entity (including its representatives) paying for and/or arranging for coaching services to be provided. In all cases, coaching engagement contracts or agreements should clearly establish the rights, roles, and responsibilities for both the client and sponsor if they are not the same persons.

Part Two: The ICF Standards of Ethical Conduct

ICF Professional Coaches aspire to conduct themselves in a manner that reflects positively upon the coaching profession; are respectful of different approaches to coaching; and recognize that they are also bound by applicable laws and regulations.

Section 1: Professional Conduct

As a coach:

  1. I will not knowingly make any public statement that is untrue or misleading about what I offer as a coach, or make false claims in any written documents relating to the coaching profession or my credentials or the ICF.
  2. I will accurately identify my coaching qualifications, expertise, experience, certifications and ICF Credentials.
  3. I will recognize and honour the efforts and contributions of others and not misrepresent them as my own. I
    understand that violating this standard may leave me subject to legal remedy by a third party.
  4. I will, at all times, strive to recognize personal issues that may impair, conflict, or interfere with my coaching
    performance or my professional coaching relationships. Whenever the facts and circumstances necessitate, I
    will promptly seek professional assistance and determine the action to be taken, including whether it is
    appropriate to suspend or terminate my coaching relationship(s).
  5. I will conduct myself in accordance with the ICF Code of Ethics in all coach training, coach mentoring, and
    coach supervisory activities.
  6. I will conduct and report research with competence, honesty, and within recognised scientific standards and
    applicable subject guidelines. My research will be carried out with the necessary consent and approval of those
    involved, and with an approach that will protect participants from any potential harm. All research efforts will be
    performed in a manner that complies with all the applicable laws of the country in which the research is
  7. I will maintain, store, and dispose of any records created during my coaching business in a manner that
    promotes confidentiality, security, and privacy, and complies with any applicable laws and agreements.
  8. I will use ICF member contact information (e-mail addresses, telephone numbers, etc.) only in the manner
    and to the extent authorised by the ICF.

Section 2: Conflicts of Interest

As a coach:

  1. I will seek to avoid conflicts of interest and potential conflicts of interest and openly disclose any such conflicts. I will offer to remove myself when such a conflict arises.
  2. I will disclose to my client and his or her sponsor all anticipated compensation from third parties that I may pay or receive for referrals of that client.
  3. I will only barter for services, goods or other non-monetary remuneration when it will not impair the coaching relationship.
  4. I will not knowingly take any personal, professional, or monetary advantage or benefit of the coach-client relationship, except by a form of compensation as agreed in the agreement or contract.

Section 3: Professional Conduct with Clients

As a coach:

  1. I will not knowingly mislead or make false claims about what my client or sponsor will receive from the
  2. coaching process or from me as the coach.
  3. I will not give my prospective clients or sponsors information or advice I know or believe to be misleading or
  4. false.
  5. I will have clear agreements or contracts with my clients and sponsor(s). I will honour all agreements or
  6. contracts made in the context of professional coaching relationships.
  7. I will carefully explain and strive to ensure that, prior to or at the initial meeting, my coaching client and
  8. sponsor(s) understand the nature of coaching, the nature and limits of confidentiality, financial arrangements,
  9. and any other terms of the coaching agreement or contract.
  10. I will be responsible for setting clear, appropriate, and culturally sensitive boundaries that govern any
  11. physical contact I may have with my clients or sponsors.
  12. I will not become sexually intimate with any of my current clients or sponsors.
  13. I will respect the client’s right to terminate the coaching relationship at any point during the process, subject
  14. to the provisions of the agreement or contract. I will be alert to indications that the client is no longer benefiting
  15. from our coaching relationship.
  16. I will encourage the client or sponsor to make a change if I believe the client or sponsor would be better
  17. served by another coach or by another resource.
  18. I will suggest my client seek the services of other professionals when deemed necessary or appropriate.

Section 4: Confidentiality/Privacy

As a coach:

  1. I will maintain the strictest levels of confidentiality with all client and sponsor information. I will have a clear agreement or contract before releasing information to another person, unless required by law.
  2. I will have a clear agreement upon how coaching information will be exchanged among coach, client, and sponsor.
  3. When acting as a trainer of student coaches, I will clarify confidentiality policies with the students.
  4. I will have associated coaches and other persons whom I manage in service of my clients and their sponsors in a paid or volunteer capacity make clear agreements or contracts to adhere to the ICF Code of Ethics Part 2, Section 4: Confidentiality/Privacy standards and the entire ICF Code of Ethics to the extent applicable.

Part Three: The ICF Pledge of Ethics

As an ICF Professional Coach, I acknowledge and agree to honour my ethical and legal obligations to my coaching clients and sponsors, colleagues, and to the public at large. I pledge to comply with the ICF Code of Ethics, and to practice these standards with those whom I coach.

If I breach this Pledge of Ethics or any part of the ICF Code of Ethics, I agree that the ICF in its sole discretion may hold me accountable for so doing. I further agree that my accountability to the ICF for any breach may include sanctions, such as loss of my ICF membership and/or my ICF Credentials. Read more