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.

What is You Leadership Point of View?

Do you know what your leadership point of view is, and can you articulate and share it with the people you work with in ways that help bring out their best?

The Leadership Point of View Process (LPoV) was developed by Ken Blanchard and Madeleine Blanchard after reading Noel Tichy’s book, The Leadership Engine. The LPoV is your credo and tool for communicating with others what they need to know about you as a leader, and how they can work effectively with you.

To find your LPoV, Ken and Madeleine Blanchard suggest that you start by asking yourself these questions. Write down your answers and reflect on them. Remember, the LPoV is a a self-discovery process. It takes time. For some, it may even last a lifetime.

* Who are the leaders who are inspiring to you?
* What qualities do they have? What did they do that you found inspiring?
* Can you do these things? Do you possess these qualities? If not, can you develop them? If not, what will you do about it?
* What do you expect of yourself and others?
* What can others expect of you?
* How will you share this information with others?

You may use the process on your own or you may work with your coach. Leadership is a journey and leadership coaching can contribute to your development.

You can read more about the LPoV leadership coaching process in the article “Coaching Tools for the Leadership Journey” by Ken Blanchard, Madeleine Homan Blanchard, and Linda Miller

Seven Essentials of Encouraging the Heart

What is leadership and how do we help leaders in their continuing journey of development? There are many ideas, models, approaches and tools. One of the powerful ideas is the Seven Essentials of Encouraging the Heart from Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner which they wrote about in their book The Leadership Challenge and developed further in their follow-up book Encouraging the Heart. They assert that leadership is a relationship, and having a connection with one’s team and each team member is critical to being a successful leader.

The root word “cor” means heart. in Spanish, “corazon” means heart. Encouraging the Heart is about the principles and practices that support our basic human need to be appreciated for who we are and what we do. It’s about how leaders can apply specific principles and concrete practices. Leaders are made and not born, and anyone can become a more effective leader by working on their leadership practices and behaviors. The seven essentials give leaders specific actions and behaviors to apply day-to-day.

The Seven Essentials of Encouraging the Heart:
1. Set Clear Standards
2. Expect the Best
3. Pay Attention
4. Personalize Recognition
5. Tell the Story
6. Celebrate Together
7. Set the Example

In Encouraging the Heart workshops I have facilitated, I’ve realized that many managers and leaders really do not usually show appreciation nor give recognition to what their teams, especially individual staff, have accomplished and contributed to achieving the standards. Most are very task and results oriented and quickly move on to the next task without any acknowledgments given. The authors use the word standards to mean goals, expectations, or objectives as well as values or principles. Standards refer to standards of excellence, and must be aspirational to bring out the best in everyone.

Some reasons given by managers and leaders for not giving credit where credit is due include, “…they’re just doing their job…,” “…we may be seen as playing favorites…,” and ” …they may think we are not sincere…. The fear of being vulnerable and misinterpreted seem to be deep seated. Whatever, the reasons one may have, the workshop enables participants to refelct on their most memorable recognition received and given, do a self assessment of their current practices against the Encourgement Index, and then create an action plan for building up the use of the seven essentials. Participants focus on areas for improvement as well as enhancing their strengths.

At the end of the day, at the heart of effective leadership is genuinely caring for people and consistenly applying tested leadership principles and practices.

Relationship Mapping Tool, A Coaching Tool for the Leadership Journey

Most of us begin our careers as technical or functional specialists who are individual contributors. When we get promoted to a team leader or supervisory role, and then later on to a managerial and executive role, we must transition from specialists who are individual contributors to leaders who contribute primarily through the work of others. The higher we move up the organization, the greater our dependence on the help and goodwill of others to get work done and accomplish organizational goals.

The leap from specialist to leadership can be a tough challenge for many as it requires learning how to get things done through others. Skills in planning, organizing, coordinating, controlling, as well as communication skills, interpersonal skills, motivating skills, networking skills, to name a few, become more critical to success than the technical or functional skills through which we built our earlier success.

Leadership is a journey and leadership coaching can help the budding and perhaps struggling new leader or leader in a new role. One leadership coaching tool is Relationship Mapping developed by Scott Blanchard and Madeleine Homan discussed in the article “Coaching Tools for the Leadership Journey” by Ken Blanchard, Madeleine Homan Blanchard, and Linda Miller. The Relationship Mapping Tool and process involves these five steps:

1. Identify your key goals and milestones

Define clearly what must be accomplished and how these will be measured.

2. Create a relationship map for each goal

For each goal, identify the key persons/stakeholders who will be affected by efforts to achieve the goal and achieving the goal.

3. Analyze the key persons/stakeholders in your relationship map

Answer these questions for each key person/stakeholder:

* What are their main goals and objectives?
* How will it serve them for me to succeed–or fail?
* What is needed from them?
* How can they help–or hurt–the project?
* What is the person’s thinking style?
What will be needed to most effectively communicate with and influence him or her?
* What attitudes does the person have about me?
Is there respect, credibility and trust?
* How do I feel about the person?
Is there any judgment or bad history to complicate things?

4. Identify who are more/most important to the success of the goal or project

5. Create an action plan for each critical stakeholder

Create a mini action plan for deepening you relationship with each critical stakeholder. Actions can include going to the person and asking for advice, calling or emailing the person to get an opinion on something, spending more time with them to get to know them better, getting their inputs about the goal or project over or coffee or lunch, and other interactions that can help deepen the relationship.

Pay attention to how they see things, understand their point of view, what they focus on, what is their approach, and so on.

In another post, we will look at a similar tool focusing on stakeholder analysis for communications planning.

Situational Leadership and Executive Coaching, Part 2

As I mentioned in Part 1 of the post, one interesting discovery I had is that Situational Leadership is also applicable to Executive Coaching.

“Executive coaching requires exceptional leadership and questioning skills to be effective. At no point is leadership more important than in assisting clients in defining their performance issues and identifying the underlying causes.”

This is how Paul Hershey and Roger Chevalier began their article on Situational Leadership and Executive Coaching, and it made me stop and think, again, about how asking powerful questions can make a difference in the coachee’s self awareness and create that “aha” moment. The first time I heard about asking powerful questions, I wasn’t sure what that really meant. But as our coaching class did the exercises on coming up with what we thought were powerful questions and discussed which were and weren’t, then I began to understand.

They added an Executive Coaching Guide to Situational Leadership to show how it provides a structure to guide executive coaches in working with their clients. The principle is the same in that executive coaches must adjust their leadership styles to their client’s readiness to perform a given task. Readiness refers to ability and willingness.

As a performance aid, the Executive Coaching Guide provides a process and a two-phased framework for interviewing, counseling and coaching situations. The first phase focuses on asessing a client’s readiness in dealing with each of his issues, performance or otherwise, and choosing an appropriate leadership style. Assessing readiness helps the coach choose the appropriate leadership style to work with his client. The coach asks open-ended questions to assess how the client sees the overall situation and gain insight on the his issues. The readiness level for each issue may vary.

The second phase focuses on selecting the appropriate leadership style to intervene in a manner that has the best probabilty of a positive outcome for the client. The coach matches his coaching leadership style, choosing from the following:

  • R1 – Client is unable and unwilling or not confident
  • S1 Prescribe – 1. Presents alternative courses of action. 2. Identify the best course of action. 3. Inform, describe, instruct, and direct.
  • R2 – Client is Unable but willing or confident
  • S2 – Develop – 1. Discuss ways to improve performance. 2. Reach agreement on best course of action. 3. Guide, persuade, explain, and train.
  • R3 – Client is able but unwilling or not confident
  • S3 – Reinforce – 1. Reinforce the process used and the progress made. 2. Reinforce self-worth and self esteem. 3. Encourage, support, motivate, and empower.
  • R4 – Client is able and willing or confident
  • S4 – Follow-up – 1. Document session in clien’t record. 2. Follow through on all commitmenets. 3. Monitor progress and prepare for next session.

Leading with questions in one of the most critical skills of executive coaches in working with clients to analyze performance gaps and causes, to set a reasonable and achieveable goal, to process options and decide on a course of action that moves the client forward.

The Executive Coaching Guide is published in Coaching for Leadership, Writings on Leadership from the World’s Greatest Coaches, Edited by Marshall Goldsmith, Laurence S. Lyons, and Sarah Mc. Arthur.

Situational Leadership and Executive Coaching, Part 1

In some of the continuing executive education classes I’ve taught where we did the Leader Effectiveness and Adaptability Description (L.E.A.D.) self-assessment questionnaire exercise developed by Paul Hershey and Kenneth Blanchard, I found out that many managers and executives are not familiar with the concept of Situational Leadership.

For those who did the exercise for the first time, it was definitely an eye opener for them to discover that their preferred or default leadership style may not always be the most appropriate in all situations. There is no one size that fits all in terms of leadership styles. It was also an eye opener that there is a model that one can use to assess the readiness of one’s team and team members and then adapt one’s leadership style.

In a nutshell, the Hersey-Blanchard Situational Leadership Theory states that instead of using just one style, successful leaders must change their leadership styles based on the task maturity of the team they are leading, and the realtionship and support the team needs to get the work done.

As tasks vary in complexity while the team’s ability to do the task also varies, managers can give more or less attention to the task vs. the realtionship and support to the team.

According to Hersey and Blanchard, there are four main leadership styles:

  • Telling (S1) – Leaders tell their people exactly what to do, and how to do it.
  • Selling (S2) – Leaders still provide information and direction, but there’s more communication with followers. Leaders “sell” their message to get the team on board.
  • Participating (S3) – Leaders focus more on the relationship and less on direction. The leader works with the team, and shares decision-making responsibilities.
  • Delegating (S4) – Leaders pass most of the responsibility onto the follower or group. The leaders still monitor progress, but they’re less involved in decisions.

Leadership Styles S1 and S2 focus on getting the task done, while Styles S3 and S4 focus on developing the team members’ abilities to work independently.

One interesting discovery I had is that Situational Leadership is also applicable to Executive Coaching. Read more about this in Part 2.

Which is Right for You, Executive Coach or Career Counselor?

One question you may have is what is the difference between an executive coach and a career counselor.  I came across an interesting and similarly titled article which sought to help leaders assess which one is right for them.

The article gave the context that organizational leaders today face many tough challenges such as economic uncertainty, faster technology, globalization. We can add more such as unrelenting competition, talent shortage and workforce mobility, to name a few.

To be successful, leaders must develop not only new skills but also broader and alternative perspectives. The question is, how does a leader go about identifying and developing these?  The answer is, and you guessed right, through working with an executive coach or career counselor.

While both help their clients assess and develop their professional capabilities, these are some distinctions between executive coaches and career counselors, and understanding what kind of transition you are making can hekp you make the right choice.

If you are making a career change or are considering one, a career counselor may be more helpful to you in identifying and exploring your career options. Career counselors would have more information about job and career opportunities in various industries.  They can also do assessments of your interests and skills.

If you are working to develop your full potential, which is a never ending journey, an executive coach is the better choice.  Executive coaches help you in ascertaining and focusing on your priority development goals and in moving forward to achieve these.

In a nutshell, if you are making a career change, seek a career counselor, and if you need support in moving foward to develop your full potential, seek an executive coach.