In the ICF Comparison Table, the only competency that is not directly evaluated during an oral exam for credentialing is Ethics and Standards. At the same time, information detailing how an applicant for the credential will fail is provided.
The application of this competency speaks to the very essence of coaching and how it is often misunderstood. Specifically, if an applicant coach is telling it is consulting not coaching. If the conversation is focused on the past it is a therapeutic mode not coaching. In both cases, because they are not coaching they will fail ICF credentialing.
The document goes on to say that when each of the other competencies are evaluated, if the applicant coach is giving advice or indicating a particular answer is what the client should do, then the other competencies are not present either. Bottom line: If an applicant coach is telling or focused on the past, a credential at any level will be denied.
When beginning coach training, some understand the differences and for others it is a new awareness. For most, when actually coaching, this is more challenging than thought. It takes more time, patience, and skill to have a client discover their own answers. Many go into coaching because they want to help and they think that helping means giving answers. In fact, giving the answers often holds the client back from their own discoveries, and denies them the ownership of the answer.
Ethics in coaching means truly understanding the role of the coach and serving in that capacity. This in turn means that instead of focusing on the past or giving answers, the coach focuses on the future and empowers the client to discover their own answers.