ICF and 3P: the time has come

Here’s my “impossible project” for Michael Neill’s Creating the Impossible 2018 program.

In the next 90 days I will make the Three Principles the explicit foundation for coaching in the International Coach Federation (ICF) tradition. It will be obvious that this has been accomplished when the Principles are incorporated into International Coach Federation (ICF) Core Coaching Competencies and standards for accredited coach training programs.


The International Coach Federation (ICF) is the most widely recognized and respected global professional organization for the coaching industry. The ethics, values, and knowledge encoded in ICF policies and standards have been invaluable in my own professional development. As a trainer and mentor of coaches, I’ve seen that coaches who can demonstrate the ICF Core Coaching Competencies are more effective by far than those who cannot.

Seven years ago I encountered the teachings of Sydney Banks, now popularly known as the Three Principles. Almost immediately I saw the Principles as the “source code” for coaching. Syd shared profound realizations about the nature of human experience and the truth of our connectedness and access to wisdom and insight moment to moment. These realizations are the principles that ground the values and standards ICF has developed.

Here’s one example of the impact that understanding the Principles has on coaching. The opening paragraph of the ICF definition of coaching states:

ICF defines coaching as partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential, which is particularly important in today’s uncertain and complex environment. Coaches honor the client as the expert in his or her life and work and believe every client is creative, resourceful and whole.

According to ICF, coaches “believe every client is creative, resourceful and whole.” According to the Three Principles, this is a truth of human nature, not a belief or framework.The shift from adhering to a belief about client creativity, resourcefulness, and wholeness to seeing it as an actuality has profound implications for how coaches work.

Dr. Judith Sedgeman points eloquently to how understanding the Three Principles transforms our understanding of human potential in this post, The Infinity of Possibility. Without a 3P understanding, professional coaching remains a game played on a finite board. Coaches already understand the notion of limiting beliefs, but too often miss the fact that those beliefs are made up. What is made up does not need to be deconstructed; it can be seen through.

If you are a coach and interested in knowing more about the Three Principles, or a Three Principles practitioner interested in learning from the rich base of skills encoded in the ICF Core Coaching Competencies, let’s talk!


  1. Cindy Reinhardt

    You touched that place in me that knows the power of coaching when it is grounded in spiritual principles – irregardless of what spiritual tradition. This video rekindles something that I can’t – in this moment – quite define, and it adds to the mix as I consider my ‘what’s next?’

    I drifted away from the ICF b/c it seems to embrace coaching of a different sort and shy away from its intersection with Truth. Yea for YOU bringing the two together! (I attempted to find your video on FB to post a comment there, but wasn’t successful).

    Thanks for your deep thought and making this connection!

    • Molly

      Thank you, Cindy. And I’ll post this thing on FB, too. I appreciate the nudge. ♥

  2. Greg Clowminzer

    I love your clarity and passion for integrating the ICF and the 3Ps.

    • Molly

      Much appreciated, Greg!

  3. Julia Rinne

    Molly, Your intense desire & passion to bring two of the things that feed your soul together for the benefit of an organization that will then touch many, many lives shines throughout your video. You Go!

    • Molly

      Thank you, Julia. 💕

  4. Tivo

    Hey Molly. Is there a particular place to follow how your totally possible impossible project is moving forward? Will you provide a full report back at the end of the 90 days and what you learned and explored?

    • Molly

      Thank you for asking, Tivo. I will post videos and written reflections about progress here on my blog: http://www.shaboominc.com/blog including reflections and learning at the end of the 90 days, which is up April 21. It is likely that it will be a week or two after that before I digest and write up the results.


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