Understanding ICF PCC Markers

The International Coaching Federation (ICF) updated ICF PCC Markers on October 21, 2020. The purpose of the update was to align them with Updated Core Competencies issued on November 14, 2019. Let’s find out more about the PCC markers and how they are used.

What are ICF PCC Markers and how are they used?

ICF PCC markers are the indicators that an assessor listens for in a recorded coaching conversation to assess the evidence as well as the extent of use of ICF Core Competencies. 

PCC markers are used to help ICF assessors determine the skill level of coaches engaged in coaching conversations at the Professional Certified Coach (PCC) level.

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Each ICF PCC marker contributes to a fair, defensible, repeatable, reliable, consistent, and valid performance evaluation process. Here are the eight ICF PCC markers that an assessor looks for in a recorded coaching conversation between a PCC candidate and their clients.

Competency 1 – Demonstrate Ethical Practice

The first ICF Coaching Competency requires coaches to practice coaching by upholding the ICF Code of Ethics and remaining consistent in the coaching role. PCC candidates must demonstrate such coaching practice to be successful. 

Competency 2 – Embody a Coaching Mindset

The second ICF Coaching Competency requires coaches to learn and develop by keeping an open, flexible, curious, and client-centric mindset. Although these elements gradually develop and cannot be traced in a single moment, a few of them must be demonstrated in a coaching conversation to pass the performance evaluation based on PCC markers. 

Competency 3 – Establish and Maintain Agreements

This competency requires a PCC candidate to demonstrate the partnership with the client to identify what the client wants to achieve in a coaching session, its importance to the client, what they should address to achieve it, and the client’s measures of success. 

Competency 4 – Cultivate Trust and Safety

PCC candidates must choose a coaching strategy that makes them acknowledge and respect the client’s work, thoughts, and unique skills. They should also show compassion, concern, and support for their clients’ feelings, suggestions, concerns, perceptions, and beliefs. It also requires coaches to partner with their clients by encouraging them to respond in any way to the coach’s approach and accept their response.

Competency 5 – Maintain Presence

This competency requires PCC candidates to act in response to what the client wants to achieve in a coaching session. It also demands coaches to remain curious to know more about their clients and allow clients to take pauses, remain silent, and reflect. 

Competency 6 – Listen Actively

PCC candidates need to carefully listen to the client and customize their questions and observations. A coach needs to explore the words used by the clients, their non-verbal clues, their perceptions about themselves or the world, and their emotions. Coaches must also allow clients to speak without any interruption and summarize whatever they communicate to ensure clarity and understanding of the clients.

Competency 7 – Evokes Awareness

Demonstrating this competency in a recorded coaching conversation means the coach must ask open-ended questions, in clear and concise language, know about the client’s current thinking, values, beliefs, and help the client to think beyond their current mindset to move the client to their desired outcome. The coach is also expected to share thoughts, feelings, intuitions, and observations with the client to support the learning and progress of the client.

Competency 8 – Facilitate Client Growth

This competency is used as a marker to gauge how a coach cultivates client growth and leads the client towards the desired outcome. The coach must encourage the client to reflect on what they are learning about themselves as well as their situations and how they will apply new learning in their life. Coaches are also required to partner with the client to develop a strategy to move forward, complete a session, and develop the best self-accountability methods for the client. Lastly, coaches are expected to celebrate the learning and progress of the client.

It is important to use PCC markers in the context of core competencies development. Using PCC markers as a checklist in a formulaic manner just for the sake of passing PCC performance evaluation is a wrong approach.

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