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Coaching Certification Develops Coaching Competency

by Katekelly

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Through ICF-approved coach training, those who want to be a business coach, complete life coaching certification, earn executive coach certification or career coach certification develop the Core Competencies as published by the ICF. At the Center for Coaching Certification, all 11 Core Competencies are covered. This article discusses previews coach training for developing specific skills.


A coach is client focused. How a client learns information, whether by seeing, hearing, or doing, influences the approach for a coach when communicating and asking questions. A coach starts by identifying which learning style a client is using, then asks questions with words that work for the client. For example, when a client is learning visually, then the coach asks them what they 'see' or to 'paint a picture' of what they want to accomplish. For an auditory question, the coach asks the client for 'key words' to describe it. A client that learns by doing processes based on what they feel, so a coach will ask how it 'feels' to achieve the results.


In addition to supporting the communication process in coaching, recognizing learning styles is also a tool to create awareness – one of the competencies. Specifically, when exploring options, after asking questions in the client's preferred learning style, the coach then moves to questions using words for the other learning styles and expands the thinking of the client. As a bonus, when a coach asks the client to describe their ideal outcome in terms of what they see, hear, and feel then the description is fuller. This means it is real and achievable to the client and they are motivated to follow through.


Because of how much information we all process every day, we delete detail or generalize situations to manage the flow. When a client is generalizing, specific words let the coach know and then they ask more questions. If detail is left out, words point to this and a coach probes further. For example, if a client says, "Typically…" the coach knows this is a generalization and asks about different possibilities. If a client says, "It doesn't work" the coach recognizes that detail on the reasons is missing and probes further to discover how it could work.


Language also indicates focus. When a client focuses on what they don't want, the coach will ask them about what they do want. If a client says, "I don't want to work in a chaotic office" the coach realizes that the goal remains undefined. The coach then asks the client what office environment they do want.


When motivated externally, the client's language lets the coach know. For example, "I am going to do this because I don't want to get in to an argument" tells the coach the client does not own their action plan. The coach will explore what it means to the client personally to get the result.


If a client is waiting on others or circumstance before taking action, their language includes such phrases as "after they do this" or "when that happens". The coach then explores what actions the client does control now to support the desired outcome.


With the insight provided through language, the exploration and strategizing in coaching is richer and supports positive outcomes.



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