The  Core


Learn the skills that will help you coach change 

This training serves as the foundation for the ACC-level Coaching School course. It provides an overview of the International Coaching Federation’s (ICF) eight core coaching competencies. Students will learn about these competencies and demonstrate ways to embed them into coaching sessions.

The Core Competencies training modules involves:
  • Reading the Coaching Manual (chapter 2 is about the Core Competencies).
  • Reviewing the Coaching Terms found in the Appendix section of the Coaching Manual.
  • Watching 12 short videos found on this page.
  • Listening to the coaching demonstrations (audios)

After listening to each video, students will submit one or more brief assignments. These assignments often include submitting your  "TLQs:"
  • Takeaways - share 1-3 ways you may apply the learnings from the video to an actual coaching conversation.
  • Learnings - Share 1-3 insights or ideas that surfaced about coaching after watching the video.
  • Questions - Share 1-3 questions about what you watched related to coaching.

 After watching all 12 videos, you will write a 1-2 page reflection paper describing which 2  competencies are most critical for you to develop at this time.

Video 1  |  Welcome  to  the  Course

Meet Rev. Dr Felix, Villanueva, MCC, who is the creator and presenter of this asynchronous course. Our hope is that you'll embrace the coaching process, and find ways to use the 8 core competencies to spark growth in your clients and transformation in individuals, teams, congregations and communities. 

Key  Points  |  Suggestions  as  you  walk  through  the  course

  • Watch and listen to the videos and audios more than one time,
  • Write notes about the materials; submit your assignments promptly. Vibrant Faith's trainers will provide feedback on what is submitted.
  • If time permits, read and respond to coaching-related blogs on this site to gain insights from other students.


LESSON  1  |  Introduction  to  Coaching

Coaching is defined as ""partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspired them to maximize their personal and professional potential."  

Coaching moves people  from great to greater.  It's about the journey AND the final destination. It builds on what's present.  not just about fixing what is wrong. Coachesr view clients full and complete. Coaches draw out the clients insights, ideas, strengths, and wisdom.

Coaching leads to change resulting in concrete plans and next steps. Coaches are more like architects than archeologists. They accompany client in co-creating the future.

LESSON  2  |  Demonstrating Ethical Practice

ICF's core competencies are divided into 4 broad categories which include 1) setting the foundation,  2) co-creating the relationship, 3) communicating effectively, and 4) cultivating learning and growth.

Demonstrating ethical practice is defined as "understanding and consistently applying coaching ethics and standards of coaching" by:
  • Demonstrating personal integrity and honesty in all interactions.
  • Being sensitive to the client's identity, environment, experiences, values, and beliefs.
  • Using appropriate and respectful language.
  • Abiding by ICF's Code of Ethics and core values.
  • Maintaining confidentiality.

LESSON  3  |  Embodying a Coaching Mindset 

Competency 2 is about embodying a coaching mindset where coaches recognize that clients are responsible for their own choices. Coaches avoid "fixing" clients' problems. Clients own their outcomes and actions.

Coaches develop ongoing reflective practices. Coaches are aware of the cultural differences and nuances of their clients. They develop heightened self-awareness and trust their intuition. They develop and maintain an ability to regulate their emotions.

Coaches prepare mentally and emotionally prepare for coaching sessions. They seek help from outside sources when necessary while maintaining confidentiality.

Lesson  4  |  Coaching Agreements

Establishing and maintaining agreements is part of co-creating the coaching relationship.  Coaches explain what coach is and is not. They create written contracts with clients that establish appropriate boundaries, discuss what's included or not included in the coaching process, and clarify norms and expectations with clients.

Coaches partner with clients to clarify outcomes and define measures of success.  They follow the client's lead, recognizing that the client is always in the driver's seat.

coaches ending coaching sessions in ways that honor's the client's experience and reflect their clients' desired outcomes.

LESSON  5   | Cultivating Trust & Safety

Cultivating trust and safety involves partnering with the client to create a safe, supportive environment that allows clients to share freely in an atmosphere of mutual respect and trust.

Coaches seek to understand their clients' context. They see situations through the client's eyes. They show respect for their clients' identity, perceptions, style, and language.  Coaches respect their clients' unique talents, and insights while showing support, empathy, and concern for the the people they coach.

Coaches acknowledge and support their clients' feelings, perceptions, concerns, and beliefs. They demonstrate openness and transparency as they build trust with their clients.

LESSON  6   |  Maintaining Presence

Maintaining presence which is defined as "being fully conscience and present with the client, employing a style that is open, flexible, grounded, and confident.

Coaches demonstrate this competency by: 
  • Being open, observant, empathetic, and responsive to the client.
  • Demonstrating curiosity when coaching.
  • Being present and managing their emotions as they also manage a client's strong emotions.

Coaches often work in settings of not knowing and strive to creates space for silence and reflection.

LESSON  7  |  Active  Listening 

Active listening is defined as focusing on what the client is and is not saying to fully understand what is being communicated in the context of client systems and to support client self-expression.

Coaches consider the client's context, identity, environment, experiences, values, and beliefs to enhance understanding of what the client is communicating. They reflect on what the client communicates and may summarize to ensure clarity and understanding.  Coaches notice, acknowledge, and explore their clients' emotions, energy shifts, non-verbal cues or other behaviors.

Coaches seek to integrate their clients' words, tone of voice, and body language to determine the full meaning of what is being communicated. They notice shifts in their clients' behaviors and emotions across sessions to discern themes, and patterns.

LESSON  8  |  Evoking New Awareness

Evoking awareness is defined as "facilitating client learning and awareness by using tools and techniques such as powerful questioning, silence, metaphor or analogy.
This competency is demonstrated by:
  • Considering the client's experience when deciding what might be most useful.
  • Challenging the client as a way to evoke awareness or insight.
  • Asking questions about the client, such as their way of thinking, values, needs, wants, and beliefs.
  • Asking questions that help the client explore beyond current thinking.
  • Inviting the client to share more about their experience in the moment.
  • Noticing what is working to enhance client progress.
  • Adjusting the coaching approach in response to the client's needs.
  • Helping the client identify factors that influence current and future patterns of behavior, thinking, or emotion.
  • Inviting the client to generate ideas about how they can move forward and what they are willing and able to do.
  • Supporting the client in reframing perspectives.
  • Sharing observations, insights and feelings without attachment.

LESSON 9  |  Facilitating Learning and Growth

Facilitating client growth which is defined as "partnering with the client to transform learning and insight into action, along with promoting client autonomy in the coaching process.
This competency is demonstrated by:
  • Helping the client "land the plane" and have a plan of action.
  • Working with the client to integrate new awareness, insight or learning into their world view and behaviors.
  • Partners with the client to develop goals, actions, and accountability measures that integrate and expand new learning.  
  • Assists the client in identifying accountability partners.
  • 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 clients to summarize learning and insight within or between sessions.
  • Celebrates the clients progress and successes.
  • Partners with the client to close the session.

LESSON 10  |  Powerful  Questioning  Approaches

Powerful questioning is a coach’s most important skill for provoking creative thinking and meaningful responses from the coaching client. This lesson provides a deeper look at creating powerful questions that help the client develop new awareness and prompt them into action.
  • Ask short (8 words or less), open-ended questions.
  • Allow for silence following the questions to allow reflection time.
  • Avoid introducing or explaining your questions.
  • Ask questions that address a client's assumptions, attitudes, actions, and approaches.
  • Ask questions that serve the client's desired outcomes for the session.

LESSON  11  |  Cultivating  Trust  &  Safety

LESSON 12  |  The  Coaching  Agreements

LESSON  13  |  Getting  Started  as  a  Coach


Which core competencies are you most comfortable with or skilled at?

Which competency is one that you need to be more mindful of?

What gets in the way of being an effective coach?

What coaching concept was most important for you?

What will you do differently as a result of watching the videos?