Ethics are often assumed to be in place both as a personal framework and as an expected thing with professionals. Remember that even ethical individuals are unaware of what they don’t know.
For example: Does the coach use a company email address for the client? The company owns that email so it is not confidential. An improperly trained coach has not even considered this point. A properly trained coach knows to discuss with the client how they will exchange notes and information.
Training for professionals on ethics is often a requirement; with coaching because it is an uncontrolled profession, this may or may not occur. Additionally, all training is not equal and some programs lack the appropriate focus on ethics. Currently there are many that call themselves a coach with little to no training. Ask yourself, is it okay to offer professional services without specific training in that profession? This means for those hiring a coach, requiring membership in the ICF makes sense and this is increasingly the norm.
As a coach, ensure you are trained and when you offer professional coaching services do so as a member of the ICF so that you are acknowledging your accountability to ethics.
As a coach provide clients with access to the Code of Ethics, your ICF membership status, and invite their questions.
As a client, ask your coach about their ethics and their ICF membership.