Note-taking and Coaching Competencies
By Cathy Liska
As a surface level consideration, having the notes from coaching sessions sets the coach up to effectively apply the competencies during coaching sessions. A challenge for each of you is to re-read the ICF 11 Core Competencies information you studied in your coach training with the thought in mind of whether taking notes impacts your ability to demonstrate that competency or sub-competency.
For example, ICF Competency 5. Active Listening, sub-competency 4. Summarizes, paraphrases, reiterates, mirrors back what client has said to ensure clarity and understanding.
For this competency, while some are able to remember and summarize back to the client what was said, for most too much information gets lost without notes.
For ICF Competency 11. Managing Progress and Accountability, sub-competency 4. Effectively prepares, organizes and reviews with client information obtained during sessions.
Preparing, organizing, and review seem to indicate the coach has notes.
Taking notes as a coach means you have a list of actions to hold a client accountable to in follow-up sessions. Taking notes means you are able to stay on track with client objectives and also adjust as appropriate for the client. Sharing the notes means the client knows you heard them plus they have their list of action steps.
For ICF Competency 9. Designing Actions, sub-competency 8. Helps the client “Do It Now” during the coaching session, providing immediate support. Notes document brainstorming and often include lists or files that are created during the coaching session.
Coaching certification provides the opportunity to develop the competencies, review exactly what each means, and also to discuss the application. Mentor Coaching is an opportunity to dig into how each competency and sub-competency are demonstrated when coaching.
As a coach, reviewing the competencies regularly and reflecting on the implications in terms of what you do and how you do it is smart.