A Guide to ICF Core Competencies Rating Levels

If you are planning to be International Coach Federation (ICF) certified, there are eleven ICF core competencies rating levels you must know. These core competencies were developed by the ICF so coaches would have greater understanding about the skills and approaches needed in the coaching profession.

A Guide to ICF Core Competencies Rating Levels

ICF Core Competencies Rating Levels

Being aware of each ICF core competencies rating level will allow coaches to understand what is required for each competency at each level of credentialing – Associate Certified Coach, Professional Certified Coach or Master Certified Coach. Here are the eleven ICF core competencies rating levels:

  1. Ethics and Standards
    If a coach gives advice exclusively based on past experiences, lacks clarity in ICF-defined coaching skills or his advice is biased towards telling a client how and what to do, then a credential would be denied at all levels.
  2. Establishing a Coaching Agreement
    A coach must be able to understand the requirements of a coaching interaction and reach an agreement with the new client about the coaching process and relationship.
    For example, rules of engagement must be established. This is followed by creating an agreement for a coaching session and putting the details about the coaching session in the agreement.
  3. Building Trust and Intimacy
    A coach must have the ability to create a supportive and safe environment for his client. This will allow mutual respect, care, and trust between the coach and the client.
    Once a strong partnership foundation with the client is established, an honest and open relationship is essential to hold the client in unconditional positive regard.
  4. Coaching Presence
    It is important for a coach to have the ability to focus and create a spontaneous relationship with his client.
    Among other core personality traits that a coach must exhibit are confidence, flexibility, having a sense of humor and being present with the client at all times.
  5. Active Listening
    The ability to listen to the client with full attention to understand the meaning and context of the client’s desires is important. Always encourage the client to express himself.
    Active listening particularly includes understanding the essence of your client’s communication – his words, body language, and tone – and helping him bring clarity to his communication.
  6. Powerful Questioning
    A coach must be able to ask questions that allow him to get the required information from his client to maximize the benefits of the coaching session.
    The coach must be able to ask clear and direct questions which can lead to new insights and can help the client to move forward. Asking open-ended “What” and “How” questions will be more beneficial.
  7. Direct Communication
    Direct communication is effective in coaching by using the language which can have the biggest impact on the client.
    Be clear, open and articulate in observations, questions, and feedback. Notice language styles to engage better with the client and study his behavior more effectively.
  8. Creating Awareness
    The coach must be able to evaluate various sources of information to make effective interpretations that can help the client gain awareness and achieve effective results.
  9. Designing Effective Actions
    The coach should have the ability to create opportunities for ongoing learning in different life situations even after learning.
    Work with the client to design particular activities which can help him to continue exploring even after his coaching session.
  10. Planning and Goal Setting
    A coach must be able to develop an effective plan with the client. Partner with the client to develop goals that are specific, measurable, attractive, realistic and have target dates. This is important to have effective results.
  11. Managing Accountability and Progress
    A coach must have the ability to steer the client towards what’s important and leave the responsibility with the client to take action.
    Staying focused on what is important for the client and what he wants to achieve throughout the coaching session is important.

Source: ICF Core Competencies & Comparison Table, https://coachfederation.org/core-competencies

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Jeannie Cotter
Writer, Coaches Training Blog community

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