Coaching-misconceptions - International Coach Federation

Ross Brown, +1.859.219.3570,
Ann Jarvis, +1.859.226.4428,
Kristin Kelly, +1.859.219.3614,
ICF challenges common coaching misconceptions
LEXINGTON, Ky., USA – In recent years, coaching as portrayed on TV, spotlighted in magazines, and utilized by
celebrities has not always created an accurate perception of professional coaching, according to the International Coach
Federation (ICF). In fact, it is through these mediums that many misconceptions on coaching are emerging. The truth is
that professional coaching is a proven method of capitalizing on the potential of individuals, teams, and organizations.
“Any profession that experiences significant growth in a short amount of time will face misconceptions,” said ICF President
and Professional Certified Coach Ed Modell. “It’s unfortunate that the only experiences many have with coaching are the
parodies they see on TV or ‘quick fix’ coaching they see advertised. ICF sees it as a duty to correct these inconsistencies
by educating the public about professional coaching and the documented benefits coaching can offer.”
Common misconceptions on professional coaching include:
Coaching is not regulated therefore there are no standards for coaches to follow. The ICF established a Code of
Ethics, creating standards of professional conduct which ICF members and ICF Credential holders pledge to uphold.
Recently, in a joint initiative aimed at self-regulation, the ICF and EMCC (European Mentoring and Coaching Council)
have filed with the European Union a common code of conduct as the benchmark for the coaching and mentoring
Coaches do not need training. The ICF established core competencies that define the required skill set of a professional
coach and establish the foundation for the professional credentialing examination and accreditation for coach training
programs. ICF Credentials identify coaches who have met established standards of knowledge, skills, as well as practice.
Coaching is like therapy or consulting. Professional coaching is a distinct service which focuses on an individual’s life
as it relates to goal-setting, outcome creation, and personal change management. Unlike a therapist, a coach does not
focus on relieving past psychological pain or treating cognitive or emotional disorders. Trained coaches are taught when
to refer their clients for therapeutic help. Unlike a consultant, a coach does not provide clients answers or solutions based
on expertise or knowledge in a certain area. Trained coaches seek to elicit solutions and strategies from their client; they
believe the client is naturally creative and resourceful.
Coaching is not proven to produce a return on investment (ROI). Coaching generates solid ROI for clients. According
to the 2009 ICF Global Coaching Client Study, the median ROI reported by companies who participated in the study and
were able to provide calculations was seven times their initial investment in coaching. Almost 96 percent of Client Study
participants indicated that they would repeat the coaching experience given the same circumstances that led them to
Coaching is for people who do not have their lives in order. A coach is for anyone who is ready to make real changes
in their careers or lives. Coaching is helpful to all types of people, from corporate executives to stay-at-home moms.
Organizations such as IBM, NASA, and the BBC have implemented award-winning coaching programs that provide
documented evidence of how coaching creates extraordinary results for their businesses and employees alike.
Consumers have no protection in a coaching partnership. All coaches who are members of the ICF or who hold an
ICF Credential subscribe to the ICF Code of Ethics and are subject to an Ethical Conduct Review Process. This process
includes a set of procedures that provide for review, investigation, and response to alleged unethical practices or behavior
deviating from the established ICF Code of Ethics.
The International Coach Federation is the leading global organization for coaches, with over 16,000 members in more
than 100 countries and over 7,400 credentialed coaches worldwide. ICF is dedicated to advancing the coaching
profession by setting high ethical standards, providing independent certification, and building a worldwide network of
credentialed coaches. Coaching is a distinct service and differs greatly from therapy, consulting, mentoring, or training.
ICF defines coaching as partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to
maximize their personal and professional potential. For more information, please visit our website at