The Definition of Coaching Competency According to The ICF

To understand the definition of coaching competency, it will make sense to define what the term “competency” means especially for those who are unfamiliar with it. Competency is the ability to do something successfully or efficiently, and the Cambridge dictionary goes further to define is an essential skill that is needed to do a job. Now that we know what competency means, let us go ahead, see what coaching competency is about.

The Definition of Coaching Competency According to The ICF

What is Coaching?

The International Coach Federation known to be the gold standard in coaching defines coaching as partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential. According to the ICF, coaches honor the client as the expert in his or her life. The coach works and believes every client is creative, resourceful, and whole. And so standing on this foundation, the coach’s responsibility is to:

1. Discover, clarify and align with what the client wants to achieve.
2. Encourage client self-discovery.
3. Elicit client-generated solutions and strategies.
4. Hold the client responsible and accountable.
This process helps clients dramatically improve their outlook on work and life while enhancing their leadership skills and unlocking their potential.

What is The Definition of Coaching Competency?

When you talk about coaching competency within the coaching field, many will immediately turn to the international coach federation’s description of core competencies. The ICF recognizes eleven core coaching competencies, which are divided into the following four categories and uses these sets of skills to define how their coaches should interact with clients. These competencies are used as the foundation for the ICF credentialing process. Other coaching credentialing organizations have adopted similar core competencies.

Types of Competencies

To further understand what the term “competencies” is all about, I would like to highlight the five types of competencies commonly mentioned within an organizational setting.

  • Organizational competencies: The mission, vision, values, culture and core competencies of the organization that sets the tone and context in which the work of the organization is carried out (e.g., customer-driven, risk-taking and cutting edge).How we treat, the patient is part of the patient’s treatment.
  • Core competencies: This has to do with technical expertise unique to an organization, i.e., core competencies differentiate an organization from its competition (e.g., the technologies, strategies or processes of the organization that promote competitive advantage in the marketplace). An organizational core competency represents an organization’s strategic strength. I guess one can say in a nutshell that the definition of coaching competency has to do with the technical expertise aligned with the strategies used in that business to promote growth.
  • Behavioral competencies: Individual performance competencies are more specific than organizational competencies and capabilities. As such, they must be defined in a measurable behavioral context to validate the applicability and the degree of expertise.
  • Functional competencies: Functional competencies are job-specific competencies that drive proven high-performance, quality results for a given position. They are often technical or operational in nature (e.g., “backing up a database” is a functional competency).
  • Management competencies: These competencies identify the specific attributes and capabilities that illustrate an individual’s management potential. Unlike leadership characteristics, management characteristics can be learned and developed with the proper training and resources. Competencies in this category should demonstrate appropriate behaviors for management to be effective.

The technical expertise and methodologies utilized by coaching organizations like the ICF are created to help make their coaches extremely competent in their interactions with clients and enable them to experience progressive growth as coaching professionals.

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Peggy Adegoke
Life Coach
Writer, Coaches Training Blog community

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