About ICF Global

Professional Coach Thomas Leonard started ICF in 1995 as a nonprofit organization for fellow coaches to support each other and grow the profession. Three years later, buoyed by 70 dedicated volunteers and growing interest, ICF began its quest to raise the profile of professional coaching.

ICF created Core Competencies and built a Code of Ethics, setting the standard in the coaching field. An Ethical Conduct Review Process and Independent Review Board (IRB) were established, allowing consumers to file breach-of-ethics complaints.

ICF also defined curriculum standards (accreditation), to ensure consistency in coach training, and developed an ICF Credentialing system, requiring renewal every three years.

By 2000, membership was growing around the world by 130 members a month and now exceeds 20,000. ICF continues to focus on professional standards while positioning the organization more strategically. ICF’s goal is to keep growing membership and maintain a solid direction, presence and professional voice for coaches.

Based out of Lexington, Kentucky, ICF also operates Regional Service Centres in Asia-Pacific, Europe, Latin America and North America, leading the global advancement of the coaching profession.

The International Coach Federation operates according to an annually revised comprehensive Strategic Plan that sets priorities for the upcoming year. The Association is focused on reaching goals that members have identified as important and is committed to activity that achieves those goals and produces the best value for members. Learn more about the full Strategic Plan.

Core Values

We are committed to reliability, openness, acceptance and congruence and consider all parts of the ICF Community mutually accountable to uphold the following values:

  1. Integrity: We uphold the highest standards both for the coaching profession and our organization.
  2. Excellence: We set and demonstrate standards of excellence for professional coaching quality, qualification and competence
  3. Collaboration: We value the social connection and community building that occurs through collaborative partnership and co-created achievement.
  4. Respect: We are inclusive and value the diversity and richness of our global stakeholders.  We put people first, without compromising standards, policies and quality.