ICF Core Competency: Co-creating the Relationship – Coaching Presence

The second point under Co-Creating the Relationship is Coaching Presence.

4. Coaching Presence – Ability to be fully conscious and create spontaneous relationship with the client, employing a style that is open, flexible and confident.

  1. Is present and flexible during the coaching process, dancing in the moment.
  2. Accesses own intuition and trusts one’s inner knowing—”goes with the gut.”
  3. Is open to not knowing and takes risks.
  4. Sees many ways to work with the client and chooses in the moment what is most effective.
  5. Uses humor effectively to create lightness and energy.
  6. Confidently shifts perspectives and experiments with new possibilities for own action.
  7. Demonstrates confidence in working with strong emotions and can self-manage and not be overpowered or enmeshed by client’s emotions.

Retrieved from ICF Core Coaching Competencies.

I like to think of coaching presence as similar to “mind like water” and “mind like the moon”  in Karate or martial arts.

The first metaphor of “mind like water” (“mizo no kokoro” or “mushin“) refers to “quieting one’s mind to the point that it resembles a still pond of water without a single ripple or wave of distracting mental activity. In this state, the surface of the water reflects a clear and perfectly undistorted image of the surroundings, like a mirror.”

The second metaphor of “mind like the moon” (“tsuki no kokoro” or “zanshin“) “describes an acute state of non-analytical alertness or global awareness wherein the mind observes every detail, just as the moon shines on everything
without prejudice or preference, and remains unaffected by what it illuminates.”

The metaphor of “dancing in the moment” for coaching presence is spot on.

Retrieved from Mushin and Zanshin.

Click here to see the 11 ICF Core Coaching Competencies in this blog.

ICF Core Competency: Co-creating the Relationship – Establishing Trust and Intimacy with the Client

The second category of ICF core competencies is Co-Creating the Relationship and the first point under it is Establishing Trust and Intimacy with the Client.

3. Establishing Trust and Intimacy with the Client—Ability to create a safe, supportive environment that produces ongoing mutual respect and trust.

  1. Shows genuine concern for the client’s welfare and future.
  2. Continuously demonstrates personal integrity, honesty and sincerity.
  3. Establishes clear agreements and keeps promises.
  4. Demonstrates respect for client’s perceptions, learning style, personal being.
  5. Provides ongoing support for and champions new behaviors and actions, including those involving risk taking and fear of failure.
  6. Asks permission to coach client in sensitive, new areas.

Retrieved from ICF Core Coaching Competencies.

Establishing trust and intimacy is always a challenge, especially during the initial coaching sessions. How do you show a genuine concern for your client?  You can begin with being fully present, that is, giving 100% of your attention to the person in front of you and listening openly and actively to what she is saying and what she may not be saying.

You must also show respect to the uniqueness of the person and not make any judgments about who she is, her challenges or issues, expressed perceptions and thoughts, her behavior and so on. Accepting the person for who she is helps create trust.

You must strive to communicate clearly and make sure agreements are clear. Do what you say you will do and say what you do. In case something appears not to be clear, make an effort to re-clarify. Support your client in her efforts to try out new behaviors and ways of doing things.

When you feel you must give honest feedback that may hurt, weigh how ready she is to receive this and work with it constructively. It helps to ask permission to coach in sensitive areas.

Click here to see the 11 ICF Core Coaching Competencies in this blog.

ICF Core Competency: Setting the Foundation – Establishing the Coaching Agreement

The second point under Setting the Foundation is Establishing a Coaching Agreement

2. Establishing the Coaching Agreement—Ability to understand what is required in the specific coaching interaction and to come to agreement with the prospective and new client about the coaching process and relationship.

  1. Understands and effectively discusses with the client the guidelines and specific parameters of the coaching relationship (e.g., logistics, fees, scheduling, inclusion of others if appropriate).
  2. Reaches agreement about what is appropriate in the relationship and what is not, what is and is not being offered, and about the client’s and coach’s responsibilities.
  3. Determines whether there is an effective match between his/her coaching method and the needs of the prospective client.

Retrieved from ICF Core Coaching Competencies.

Establishing a clear coaching agreement at the beginning of a coaching relationship is very critical so that coach and client know what to expect and what’s included vs. what’s excluded.  Ground rules for sessions are set down.

When there is a three-way relationship, that is, one involving a sponsor, client, and coach, then clarifying the agreement becomes even more important to avoid issues. The sponsor is typically the superior of the client that engages or sponsors the coaching program for the client.  The client is the person being coached or is the “coachee.”  The coach must ensure that both the sponsor and client know the ground rules on confidentiality and agree with them.  That is, what if any matters discussed by the client with the coach will be shared with the sponsor.

From experience, it helps to have the client initiate and have periodic conversations/updates with her superior so that the accountability for deciding what to share and how remains with the client.

To see examples of coaching agreements, visit these links below. You can find more examples by googling the keywords “coaching agreement.”

Coaching Agreement Example 1
Coaching Agreement Example 2
Coaching Agreement Example 3
Coaching Agreement Example 4

Click here to see the 11 ICF Core Coaching Competencies in this blog.

ICF Core Competency: Setting the Foundation – Meeting Ethical Guidelines and Professional Standards

The first category of ICF Core Competencies is Setting the Foundation and the first point under it is Meeting Ethical Guidelines and Professional Standards.

A. Setting the Foundation

1. Meeting Ethical Guidelines and Professional Standards—Understanding of coaching ethics and standards and ability to apply them appropriately in all coaching situations.

  1. Understands and exhibits in own behaviors the ICF Standards of Conduct.
  2. Understands and follows all ICF Ethical Guidelines.
  3. Clearly communicates the distinctions between coaching, consulting, psychotherapy and other support professions.
  4. Refers client to another support professional as needed, knowing when this is needed and the available resources.

A professional coaching relationship exists when there is a business agreement or contract that defines the responsibilities of the coach and the client.

One advantage of engaging ICF professional coaches is that they agree to practice the ICF Professional Core Competencies and pledge accountability to the ICF Code of Ethics. They also aspire to conduct themselves in a manner that reflects positively upon the coaching profession; are respectful of different approaches to coaching; and recognize that they are also bound by applicable laws and regulations.

Click here to see the 11 ICF Core Coaching Competencies in this blog.

Retrieved from ICF Core Coaching Competencies and read more at ICF Code of Ethics.

What are the ICF Core Coaching Competencies?

The International Coach Federation (ICF) defines coaching as partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential.

The ICF has defined 11 core coaching competencies for professional coaches to master and demonstrate in their coaching with clients.  Coaches who aspire to be members of ICF and get their ICF credentials first need to take coaching training that is aligned with these core competencies, then continue to strengthen their actual application and mastery of these competencies, and then pass the ICF credentialing process.

So, what are these 11 core competencies?  The core competencies are grouped into four clusters. All competencies are critical for any competent coach to demonstrate.

A. Setting the Foundation
1. Meeting Ethical Guidelines and Professional Standards
2. Establishing the Coaching Agreement

B. Co-creating the Relationship
3. Establishing Trust and Intimacy with the Client
4. Coaching Presence

C. Communicating Effectively
5. Active Listening
6. Powerful Questioning
7. Direct Communication

D. Facilitating Learning and Results
8. Creating Awareness
9. Designing Actions
10. Planning and Goal Setting
11. Managing Progress and Accountability

More about each core competency to follow in the succeeding posts.

Source:  Retrieved from the ICF Individual Credentialing Core Competencies.

From Consulting to Coaching: How is Coaching Different from Consulting

Having been a management consultant for many years, one of the questions that intrigued me was how is coaching really different from consulting and how can I be a better coach given my consulting background. I had the mistaken notion that being a management consultant all these years automatically made me a good professional coach. One of the things I learned is that the mindset and approach is different.

Coaching involves working with clients or “coachees” to help them maximize their personal and professional potential. While this can mean a lot of things, however, the focus of coaching is the coachee, that is, helping her to clarify her developmental goals, determine alternative courses of action, moving forward to achieve her goals, and holding her accountable for these.

While there are various niches of coaching, such as executive coaching, team coaching, life coaching, performance coaching, business coaching, and more, the essence is that it is the coachee who is ultimately responsible developing greater self awareness, gaining insights about herself and what may be keeping her from moving forward, for assessing the choices available to her, and for deciding and taking a course of action. The coachee works on and with herself with the coach as a facilitator, not as an adviser, mentor or consultant. Personal change and growth happens from the inside out.

Consulting involves working with organizations to analyze business problems or challenges and providing advice and solutions, including helping the client to implement these. Consultants are typically engaged because they are domain or subject matter experts in a particular industry, a particular business line, a functional or process or other specialization. They are expected to address the business challenges with implementable and working solutions that enable the client to achieve the desired business outcomes.

From my coaching experience, I’ve learned that I am not there to “fix” the coachee, as the coachee does not need or want fixing. I am not there to do something to the coachee, but rather I must have strong coaching presence so that the coachee and I take our evolving journey together. I go with flow while also influencing the conversation to achieve the coachee’s desired goals and outcomes.

From my consulting experience, the consultant was always expected to analyze and solve the problem, or to analyze the new business requirements, draw up the action plan to get from point A to point B, help organize and run the project implementation teams, and actually implement the change. Thus, in other words, the consultant is expected to “make things happen,” “make things work,” and “get things done” while working with her client counterparts.

Definitions of Interest

There are many definitions of coaching and management consulting, nevertheless, these selected ones help to clarify these two professions.

Coaching: “Coaching is partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential. It is an ongoing professional relationship that helps people produce extraordinary results in their lives, careers, businesses, or organizations.”

– The International Coaching Federation (ICF) is recognized worldwide as the credentialing organization for professional coaches. http://www.coachfederation.org/

Management Consulting: “Management consulting indicates both the industry of, and the practice of, helping organizations improve their performance, primarily through the analysis of existing business problems and development of plans for improvement. A management consultant is a professional who, for a fee, provides independent and objective advice to the management of client organizations to define and achieve their goals through improved utilization of resources. He or she may do this by diagnosing problems and/or opportunities, recommending solutions, and helping implement improvement.”

– The Institute of Certified Management Consultants of the Philippines (ICMCP) is an institute affiliated with The International Council of Management Consulting Institutes (ICMCI). The ICMCS is an international membership organisation and a network of the management advisory and consultancy associations and institutes worldwide, who have a common purpose and shared values and goals. http://www.cmcphilippines.org/ http://www.icmci.org/home