Coaching Core Competencies

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The following seven core Coaching Competency Categories were developed to promote an understanding of the skills and approaches that the IAPC&M has determined as being desirable in a competent Coach.

The competencies listed under each heading are essential for any competent Coach to demonstrate and form the basis of the criteria used in the IAPC&M’s accreditation process.

Competency Number 1
Presenting a Professional Image in each session.

  1. Understands and adheres to the Standards and Ethics as set out by the IAPC&M including Client Care, Personal Professional Conduct, and Professional Relationships.
  2. Understands and demonstrates the Key Values exhibited by an IAPC&M Coach.
  3. Explores with the Client what their agenda for the session is, and coaches to the Client’s agenda, not the Coach’s own agenda.
  4. Determines if there is an effective match between his/her coaching ability and the needs of the Client.
  5. Reflecting on the Client’s needs for each session, in the moment chooses the most effective approach.
  6. Uses a range of tools and techniques to support the Client; increases their awareness and/or assists them in achieving their desired results.
  7. Clearly explains the purposes of techniques and/or exercises.
  8. Moves back and forth between where the Client is now and where the Client wishes to go.
  9. Demonstrates and maintains confidence throughout the Coaching session.
  10. Is open as a Coach to not knowing and taking risks.
  11. Demonstrates respect and adapts to the Client’s learning style, ideas, actions, perceptions, beliefs and fears.
  12. Manages the Coaching Process so that the session ends on a positive note.
  13. Manages the time well in the session, ensuring that a positive outcome for the session is achieved.
  14. Ensures that the Client remains independent of the Coach and does not become dependent or reliant on the Coach.
  15. Establishes clear agreements and ensures the fulfilment of these.

Competency Number 2
Creating a safe environment for the Coaching Relationship

  1. Creates an environment in which both the Coach and Client build trust and respect for the coaching relationship.
  2. Shows genuine concern for the Client’s well-being and future.
  3. Responds to a Client’s emotions with empathy, without personally becoming involved.
  4. Shows respect for the Client by not judging their thoughts, words and actions.
  5. Removes any judgements of the Client when they surface in order to be completely objective and compassionate throughout the coaching process.
  6. Holds only positive thoughts, words and actions of the Client during the entire relationship.
  7. During the session the Coach remains neutral, showing neither approval nor disapproval of the Client’s thoughts, words and actions; is comfortable sharing views when necessary or when requested by the client.
  8. Uses neutrality to establish trust and prevents the Client from trying to please the Coach or avoid their disapproval.
  9. Creates and environment which enables the Client to freely explore, unhindered by the ideas and thoughts of the Coach.
  10. Creates a positive enjoyable experience for the Client.
  11. Has no agenda for the Client and is not attached to the outcomes.
  12. Treats the Client as an equal partner in the Coaching journey.
  13. Allows the Client to choose their own pace of accomplishment.

Competency Number 3
Questioning Skills

  1. Primarily uses open questions; avoids using leading, multiple or confusing questions; clearly recognises and uses closed questions when appropriate.
  2. Does not ask questions for the benefit of the Coach rather than the Client.
  3. Uses powerful and incisive questions that challenge or promote clarity, discovery or learning.
  4. Is unafraid to and skilfully asks questions which may be uncomfortable for the Client and those which address ‘the elephant in the room’.
  5. Asks questions that demonstrate active listening and an understanding of the Client’s perspective, beliefs, personal strengths, and abilities.
  6. Ask questions that are able to be clearly understood and that move the Client forward towards their goals.
  7. Uses questioning techniques that respectfully keep the Client focused on the challenge or goal for each session.
  8. Provides an inquisitive environment, which transcends the Client’s fears, roadblocks, unconstructive feelings and behavioural patterns related to the challenge or goal.
  9. Asks questions which allow the Client to self-discover options and innovative solutions through exploration of multiple facets of the challenge or goal.
  10. Asks questions which allow the Client to uncover the unknown in order to increase awareness.

Competency Number 4
Effective Communication

  1. Demonstrates effective listening, questioning and clarifying skills; notices the difference between what is said and what is left unsaid.
  2. Uses honest, direct, easy-to-understand language that enables the Client to move towards the agreed outcomes.
  3. Uses courteous communication which is friendly, open, confident and flexible; no hidden agenda or passive-aggressive tones.
  4. Adapts communication/language style to reflect the Client’s needs and outcomes.
  5. Adapts communication/language style in recognition of the Client’s personality preferences.
  6. Uses the Client’s language to create broad and meaningful conversations.
  7. Provides relevant feedback and information to support the Client’s needs and outcomes.
  8. Communicates clearly, confidently and credibly with the Client.
  9. Encourages Client’s to share their views; takes time to understand and consider these views.
  10. Manages emotions in an intelligent manner, which does not impact on the Client in a negative way.
  11. Is comfortable in exploring emotions with the Client in a non-threatening manner.
  12. Uses intuition to engage Client’s to consider what is not being said.
  13. Recognises and effectively manages transference, counter-transference and/or projection.
  14. Allows the communication between Coach and Client to flow; does not interrupt, lead, suggest or make assumptions.
  15. Demonstrates the use of effective body language (where appropriate).

Competency Number 5
Listening Skills

  1. Actively listens; focuses completely on what the Client is saying as well as listening for what is not being said.
  2. Demonstrates the use of silence allowing the Client space to think and to finish what they are saying; does not interrupt the Client.
  3. Pays attention to the Client’s words, tone of voice, and body language (where possible).
  4. Accurately summarises, paraphrases and/or mirrors back what the Client has said to ensure clarity and understanding.
  5. Acknowledges the Client’s concerns, goals, values, and beliefs as their perception of the world.
  6. Understands and accurate evaluates information, and reflects back interpretations that help the Client to gain awareness.

Competency Number 6
Facilitating Growth

  1. Helps the Client to discover their beliefs, personal strengths, and abilities.
  2. Enables the Client to increases their self-awareness in areas such as their own perceptions; reality and assumption; and their interpretation of events.
  3. Helps the Client to discover where there are interrelated factors that affect their actions and their behaviours.
  4. Challenges the Client to stimulate clarification, gain understanding, provoke new ideas, and improve their performance.
  5. Invites the Client to acknowledge and recognise their own successes and realisations/learning’s.
  6. Encourages the Client to generate options and solutions for themselves.
  7. Encourages the Client to explore the wider context, impact and implications of their desired outcomes.
  8. Helps Client to explore their approach to change and works effectively with the Client to identify and overcome any resistance to change.
  9. Facilitates growth in the Clients areas of thinking (cognitive), feeling (emotional) and doing (behavioural), as appropriate.
  10. When appropriate or if necessary the Coach may ask the Client if they require additional input from the Coach.
  11. Invites informed experimentation from the Client to develop powerful actions and leverage.
  12. Encourages the Client to stretch and challenge themselves to a level that is appropriate for them at any given point of time.
  13. Invites the Client to use their strengths and internal and external resources to achieve their desired goals.

Competency Number 7
Planning and Accountability

  1. Supports and challenges during the planning stage by encouraging the Client to ‘do it now’.
  2. Provides the Client with the opportunity to plan without interference from the Coach.
  3. Where appropriate, reminds the Client about major insights, patterns, solutions and ideas that were generated throughout the session.
  4. Where appropriate, helps the Client to create and implement a plan with results that are specific, measurable, attainable, and time-framed; and adjust this where necessary.
  5. Encourages a Client’s self-discipline, responsibility and accountability for what they say they are going to do.
  6. Keeps the Client focused and on track by reviewing progress, holding attention on the goals for the session and the desired outcome, as well as agreed-upon courses of action.
  7. When appropriate, asks the Client to articulate what results they have noticed and/or to state how far they have come with the completion of their plan.
  8. Encourages the Client to stay focused on previously generated goals and their commitment to those goals.
  9. In order to ensure forward movement, works with the Client to address and overcome any obstacles that are in the way of previously set goals and plans.
  10. Positively challenges the Client when he/she did not take agreed-upon actions.
  11. Acknowledges the Client’s successes and their realisations/learning.

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