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Assess your coaching impact

It's important that coaches continually refine their coaching approaches and practices in their pursuit of being a masterful coach.  Listed below are indicator suggesting ways that coaches can demonstrate their proficiency in each of the 8 ICF core competencies. Review this list regularly. Make note of this competencies you excel in and which ones need further attention. Take time after a coaching session you've led and evaluate your performance based on these indicators.

1 | Demonstrates Ethical Presence
  • Demonstrates personal integrity and honesty in interactions with clients, sponsors and relevant stakeholder.
  • Is sensitive to clients' identity, environment, experiences, values and beliefs.
  • Abides by the ICF Code of Ethics and upholds the Core Values.
  • Uses language appropriate and respectful to clients, sponsors and relevant stakeholders.
  • Maintains the distinctions between coaching, consulting, psychotherapy and other support professions.
  • Maintains the distinctions between coaching, consulting, psychotherapy and other support professions.
  • Refers clients to other support professionals, as appropriate agreements and pertinent laws.

2 | Embodies a Coaching Mindset 
  • Acknowledges that clients are responsible for their own choices.
  • Engages in ongoing learning and development as a coach.
  • Develops an ongoing reflective practice to enhance one's coaching.
  • Uses awareness of self and one's intuition to benefit clients.
  • Develops and maintains the ability to regulate one's emotions.
  • Mentally and emotionally prepares for sessions.
  • Seeks help from outside sources when necessary.

3 | Establishes and Maintains Agreements
  • Explains what coaching is and is not and describes the process to the client and relevant stakeholders.
  • Reaches agreement about what is and is not appropriate in the relationship, what is and is not being offered, and the responsibilities of the client and relevant stakeholders.
  • Reaches agreement about the guidelines and specific parameters of the coaching relationship such as logistics, fees, scheduling, duration, termination, confidentiality and inclusion of others.
  • Partners with the client and relevant stakeholders to establish an overall coaching plan and goals.
  • Partners with the client to determine client-coach compatibility.
  • Partners with the client to identify or reconfirm what they want to accomplish in the session.
  • Partners with the client to define what the client believes they need to address or resolve to achieve what they want to accomplish in the session.
  • Partners with the client to define or reconfirm measures of success for what the client wants to accomplish in the coaching engagement or individual session.
  • Partners with the client to manage the time and focus of the session.
  • Continues coaching in the direction of the client's desired outcome unless the client indicates otherwise.
  • Partners with the client to end the coaching relationship in a way that honors the experience.

4 | Cultivates Trust and Safety
  • Seeks to understand the client within their context which may include their identity, environment, experiences, values and beliefs.
  • Demonstrates respect for the client’s identity, perceptions, style and language and adapts one's coaching to the client.
  • Acknowledges and respects the client's unique talents, insights and work in the coaching process.
  • Shows support, empathy and concern for the client.
  • Acknowledges and supports the client’s expression of feelings, perceptions, concerns, beliefs and suggestions.
  • Demonstrates openness and transparency as a way to display vulnerability and build trust with the client.

5 |  Maintains Presence
  • Remains focused, observant, empathetic and responsive to the client. 
  • Demonstrates curiosity during the coaching process.
  • Manages one's emotions to stay present with the client.
  • Demonstrates confidence in working with strong client emotions during the coaching process.
  • Is comfortable working in a space of not knowing.
  • Creates or allows space for silence, pause or reflection.

6 | Listens Actively
  • Considers the client’s context, identity, environment, experiences, values and beliefs to enhance understanding of what the client is communicating.
  • Reflects or summarizes what the client communicated to ensure clarity and understanding.
  • Recognizes and inquires when there is more to what the client is communicating.
  • Notices, acknowledges and explores the client's emotions, energy shifts, non- verbal cues or other behaviors.
  • Integrates the client's words, tone of voice and body language to determine the full meaning of what is being communicated.
  • Notices trends in the client's behaviors and emotions across sessions to discern themes and patterns.

7 | Evokes Awareness
  • Considers client experience when deciding what might be most useful. 
  • Challenges the client as a way to evoke awareness or insight.
  • Asks questions that help the client explore beyond current thinking. Invites the client to share more about their experience in the moment. 
  • Notices what is working to enhance client progress.
  • Adjusts the coaching approach in response to the client's needs.
  • Supports the client in reframing perspectives.  
  • Asks questions about the client, such as their way of thinking, values, needs, wants and beliefs.          
  • Helps the client identify factors that influence current and future patterns of behavior, thinking or emotion.
  • Invites the client to generate ideas about how they can move forward and what they are willing or able to do.
  • Shares observations, insights and feelings, without attachment, that have the potential to create new learning for the client.

8 | Facilitates Client Growth
  • Works with the client to integrate new awareness, insight or learning into their worldview and behaviors.
  • Partners with the client to design goals, actions and accountability measures that integrate and expand new learning.
  • Acknowledges and supports client autonomy in the design of goals, actions and methods of accountability.
  • Supports the client in identifying potential results or learning from identified action steps.
  • Invites the client to consider how to move forward, including resources, support and potential barriers.
  • Partners with the client to summarize learning and insight within or between sessions.
  • Celebrates the client's progress and successes. 
  • Partners with the client to close the session.

As you review this list, what are 3 indicators of coaching proficiency that you feel are most important for you to pay closer attention to right now? What strategies will you use to demonstrate the indicators more frequently?

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6 Comments


Saeed - March 3rd, 2021 at 3:45pm

I've bookmarked this page - there's a lot of info that I can definitely see coming back to.



Of note now for me is the "Reaches agreement about the guidelines and specific parameters of the coaching relationship such as logistics, fees, scheduling, duration, termination, confidentiality and inclusion of others" bullet found in the "3) Establishes and Maintains Agreement" section.



I'm feeling like we should have an couple more practice sessions on their initial consultation meeting. I can see how this meeting can arguably on of the most important as it sets up guidelines and explanations.



I'm also thinking it might be helpful to create my own "information/consultation" packet that I can send topple who are considering utilizing my services. Might be helpful to craft my agreement docs, explainers, and even a welcome primer video so that I can send the appropriate info to a potential client as we prepare to meet.

Jessie Bazan - March 4th, 2021 at 2:08pm

I agree, Saeed - this is a valuable post!



My strengths lie in cultivating trust and safety, as well as listening actively. These are skills I have developed over my years working in pastoral ministry. Active listening is also a skill that a few friends have affirmed in me.



I still need to work on the second competency, which involves trusting that the client is in charge of their own life and responsible for their actions. I tend to be a problem-solver ... but slowly I am learning that is often not what people need or want! They want someone to listen compassionately and help them stay on track to achieving their goals.

Kate - March 5th, 2021 at 7:52am

I have to say that I find lists like this overwhelming - but I know they can be helpful.



A couple of my strengths are cultivating safety and trust and active listening. Like Jessie, these are things that I already do as part of my ministry and they easily translate into coaching.



There is plenty to work on - but here are three things I picked out and my strategies.



Invite the client to generator ideas about how they can move forward.

My strategy for this is to work at being aware of what I include in questions that I pose. If I can back out specifics that I think of, then it opens the question up for their input and ownership. For example instead of saying something like – “Could you ask Jane to help you?” say “Who could you ask to help you?”



Demonstrates curiosity during the coaching process.

For me, this is really about staying present to what the client is saying (or not saying) and sticking with them. One way for me to do this better is to work on trusting the coaching process and my ability to work the coaching process. If I’m anxious about what will happen in the session, I’m more likely to try to steer it then to stay curious and see where it goes.



Acknowledges clients are responsible for their own choices.

This is difficult for me because it my internal belief system tells me that I’m not serving a client well if they don’t feel inspired/motivated enough from our time together to take action. My strategy for dealing with this is to engage in reflection following coaching sessions so that I can heighten my awareness of this belief and how it affects my coaching such that I’m able to notice when it’s affecting me and decide to change my frame.





Mike Marsh - March 5th, 2021 at 8:10pm

Three indicators of coaching proficiency that I feel are most important for me to pay closer attention to right now are:

1) Maintaining the distinctions between coaching, consulting, psychotherapy, and other support professions;

2) Acknowledging that clients are responsible for their own choices; and

3) Challenging the client as a way to evoke awareness or insight.



I can easily, quickly, and comfortably fall into the role of mentor and teacher, especially when the client is asking for this. I am sometimes too quick to provide suggestions or answers instead of letting the client do that work.



Some strategies for dealing with this are:

1) Trusting the process and adhering to the five questions of the session agreement;

2) Spend more time asking questions than making statements; and

3) Reminding myself that I am responsible to the client but not for the client.

William Mills - March 9th, 2021 at 10:04am

After going through the ongoing agreement I realize that I need to pay attention to the following areas.



1. Evoke Awareness

I will need to pay greater attention to the limiting beliefs and ideas of my client. It is easy to get "stuck" in narrow or dead end thinking. I will have to be more aware of this



2. Embodying Coaching Mindset

I need to be more self aware of my own emotions, attitudes, and feelings, also my energy levels. I know for example that I am much better in the morning hours between 8-1pm and less so in the afternoons and evenings. I cannot be a good coach if I am physically or mentally tired. Knowing this I would coach clients earlier in the day rather than later when I can be fresh, alert, and more excited.



3. Maintain Presence

I can see myself slipping into the "fixer" role quickly since I have a lot of experience in parish life I quickly think I "know it all" so I need to have a posture of "not knowing" which requires a lot of humility. I'm working on it

Carl Horton - April 25th, 2021 at 11:19am

For me, these are the 3 that I need to focus on: 5. Maintains Presence, 6. Listens Actively, 7. Evokes Awareness. I am, by nature, easily distracted and tend to multi task. So I need to work on focus, remaining attentive, allowing silence, listening well and asking powerful questions so that I can evoke awareness. To accomplish this, I'm taking notes as a coach, intentionally allowing more silence, and honing my skill at developing and succinctly framing powerful questions.

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