The International Coaching Federation has Core Competencies for coaches. The competencies are organized into interconnected categories that build on each other. Within the definitions, descriptions, and measures of these competencies, it is clear that coaches are called upon and expected to work with both the Being and the Doing of the client.
The ICF’s PCC Markers define the specific behaviors to demonstrate the competencies. When a coach applies for a credential with the International Coaching Federation, they are required to submit one recording if applying for the ACC credential, or two recordings if applying for the PCC or MCC credentials. These recordings are then assessed and passing is based on the coach displaying the behaviors defined by the markers. Some of the markers specifically call out the Being and the Doing while others imply it.
The first category of competency is the Foundation with two competencies, Demonstrates Ethical Practice and Embodies a Coaching Mindset. For Ethics competency, the evaluation of the coach recording is a simple pass or fail. If a coach steps into a role other than coaching, such as advising or therapy, it is a fail. For the Coaching Mindset competency, the coach is called on to acknowledge that clients are responsible for their own choices.
The second category is Co-creating the Relationship with the competencies of Establishes and Maintains Agreements, Cultivates Trust and Safety, plus Maintains Presence. The agreement includes the coach’s responsibility to ask the client what they want to accomplish during each session, the significance of it to them, and how they will measure success. Evaluation of the coach recording for Cultivates Trust includes whether the coach acknowledges and supports the client and encourages them fully expressing themselves. For Maintains Presence the coach is to respond to the whole person and what they want to accomplish by noticing their energy and empowering them to formulate their own learning.
The third category is Communication with the competencies of Listen Actively and Evokes Awareness. The listening markers include who the client is and their situation, their use of language, emotions, voice, behaviors, perceptions, and holding the silence so the client can think. The coach is expected to ask about the emotions, tone, behaviors, and perceptions – both the Being and the Doing. Demonstrating the Evokes Awareness markers means the coach asks the client about thinking, beliefs, values, wants, and moves the client beyond their current thinking towards their desired outcome. The coach uses the client’s language to ask open questions in a way that supports the client reflecting and learning. The coach shares observations and intuitions around what the client is saying, doing, experiencing, or thinking as a tool to support client learning and progress. The coach has zero attachment to what they share, so the client reflects freely.
The fourth category is Cultivating Client Growth with the competency of Facilitates Client Growth. The competency specifically calls on the coach to invite the client to reflect on what they are learning about both their situation and about themselves – the Being and the Doing. The PCC markers call on the coach to check in on progress during the session toward client outcomes, actions to continue their progress, how the client wants to manage accountability, and whether the client is ready to close the session. The coach is to acknowledge the client.