Whether you want to be a business coach, complete life coaching certification, earn executive coach certification, or add career coach certification, the value of coach training is developing the 11 Core Competencies as published by the ICF. When a program is an ICF-approved coach training, it must cover at least one of these Core Competencies. At the Center for Coaching Certification, all 11 are covered. This article is a preview of some of the concepts.
Two of the Core Competencies are focused on the coaching relationship: establishing trust and intimacy and coaching presence. Because coaching is client-focused, it is the responsibility of the coach to understand their client – how they think, feel, and prioritize. There are a multitude of tools to assist coaches understand their clients. There are also a multitude of challenges.
For example, there are many personality assessment tools. Some argue the coaching should use these and others argue that these assessment tools are for mental health professionals or HR professionals or consultants. Either way, the challenge for the coach is that in reality, an assessment gives you insight to the client at the time of the assessment. Whether it was taken just after time at home, at work, or out with friends influences the outcome.
Because a coach is called upon to understand the client, and to be present in the moment, recognizing how the client thinks, feels, and prioritizes in the moment provides tremendous value and benefit. In this way, rather than relying on a fixed assessment, the coach focuses on the individual in the moment. It is possible to identify who the client is in the moment and then adjust to the client. Adjusting to the client requires that the coach be aware of their own personality and how that influences their thinking and feeling. Then the coach focuses on the client for awareness of how the client is thinking and feeling, and adjusts accordingly. At the Center for Coaching Certification, the ICF-approved coach training provides a tool for identifying personalities quickly during a conversation.
As an added benefit of learning this technique in coach training, with this insight the coach is equipped to further expand the thinking of the client by exploring outside the client’s area of focus and beyond the initial considerations.
One of the Core Competencies is in the area of Communication: listening.
Coaches are called upon to challenge themselves and recognize that this is a skill to work on continuously. The reality is that most of us give ourselves more credit in terms of these skills than is perhaps accurate, so when we recognize there is room to enhance our skills we are on our way.
There are many barriers to listening including distractions, competing priorities, interest or belief, and simply being rested. There are different listening styles including:
Biographical wherein we relate everything to our own experiences and thus miss much of what is being said.
Responding which means we are busy formulating a response instead of listening.
Analyzing either the speaker or what they are saying missing most of what is said.
Listening effectively requires intention. When the listener rephrases and reflects, the speaker knows they are heard and understood and the listener is improving their own skills. A coach listens with intention.
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