An insider’s guide to the “Coaching Mindset” competency
This is the 2nd ICF competency out of 8. It is part B of the “Foundation” category of competencies.
Let’s unpack this specific competency, “Embodies a Coaching Mindset,” and explore a couple of skills and methods that will help you with this competency and strengthen all 8.
What’s in this guide (Across 9 articles):
- The 5 Guiding principles used to assess your coaching
- ICF Core Competency 1 Demonstrates Ethical Practice
- ICF Core Competency 2 Embodies a Coaching Mindset
- ICF Core Competency 3 Establishes and Maintains Agreements
- ICF Core Competency 4 Cultivates Trust and Safety
- ICF Core Competency 5 Maintains Presence
- ICF Core Competency 6 Listens Actively
- ICF Core Competency 7 Evokes Awareness
- ICF Core Competency 8 Facilitates Client Growth
What’s the definition of “Embodies a Coaching Mindset.”
“Develops and maintains a mindset that is open, curious, flexible and client-centered.” ICF International Coaching Federation
- Acknowledges that clients are responsible for their own choices.
- Engages in ongoing learning and development as a coach.
- Develops an ongoing reflective practice to enhance one’s coaching.
- Remains aware of and open to the influence of context and culture on self and others.
- Uses awareness of self and one’s intuition to benefit clients.
- Develops and maintains the ability to regulate one’s emotions.
- Mentally and emotionally prepares for sessions.
- Seeks help from outside sources when necessary.
You can see this is part of the Coaching Mindset.
Now, once again, these early competencies are mostly implied. In other words, all these competencies are a part of what it means to be a coach. They’re not easy to prove in a coaching session. So, for example, if somebody is assessing your coaching and you submit a recording for a performance evaluation, the assessor is not necessarily going to be able to find evidence in the recording that you are engaged in ongoing learning and development as a coach; it’s implied.
All 8 of these qualifiers are implied.
As we progress to the other coaching competencies from the ICF, you’ll see it will shift into competencies that you need to prove and demonstrate through what, how, and when you are saying something in a coaching session.
Nevertheless, some skills and methods will help you with this competency.
Here are my recommended skills and methods to not only help you with this competency.
To bring a coaching mindset into how you coach throughout the session, we should understand an overlapping competency Coaching Presence.
You may have heard of Coach Presence or Coach Position. This is about putting your coaching hat on and taking off other hats like a friend, mentor and manager.
We all have many roles to play in life.
I am a mom, a daughter, a wife, a business owner, and a leader. I’m also an author and speaker. I try to be a good friend, but when chatting with a friend, I’ve got my friend hat on. I don’t think my friends would appreciate it if I suddenly took a coaching tone –it would just sound odd, right?
Coach position is when we are intentionally choosing, “I am coaching,”
There’s still warmth, there’s still care, there’s still empathy, but we’re in a professional role now. One way I emphasise guiding our master coaches when we train InnerLifeSkills Master Coaches is to remember to be equal to.
Coach Position for your Coaching Mindset.
What does that mean? Think of a bridge.
You’re inviting your client to meet you on the bridge of understanding, to partner with them to co-create a coaching session and coaching journey.
If the bridge were between a high and a low point, it would be a slide.
Slides can create a collision. Whereas bridges create collaboration, connection, communication, and comprehension.
Okay, I’ll stop with the alliteration.
It’s sometimes enough just to set your intention.
We can say: “When I’m coaching, I’m equal to. I’m not positioning myself as the expert to advise because right now, I’m coaching. Neither am I shrinking into a minus, making myself smaller. I’m stepping in with dignity and respect for my skills. As a coach, I’m holding a safe space for my clients and building an equal to bridge.”
That mindset is going to support your work. It’s also going to enhance the way you listen, speak, and ask questions and strengthen all of the other Coaching Competencies.
ABCs for your Coaching Mindset
The second method I can’t do without in my life, a favourite among my master coaches, is an InnerLifeSkills Intuition Coaching method that I call your ABCs.
A stands for attention, B body, C centre and stay.
This is a form of somatic coaching. The word soma means of the body.
Our coaching can stay very surface, cerebral and analytical, which can still provide value. But something about including the somatic intuitive felt-sense of what is happening in the coaching session immediately deepens the session.
And it also helps you to remain in Coach Position, which will help you to keep a coaching mindset. ABCs is a way of quickly centering. It’s a way of tuning out of the torture chamber mind that might be thinking, “I hope I’m coaching well. What if my client doesn’t like what I’m saying? What question am I gonna ask next?”
Do you know that noisy sports commentator that’s endlessly chattering?
ABCs is about intentionally opening to intuitive wisdom (not trying to switch off the mind because we know it gets louder). The more you resist it, the more it persists.
Instead, we are dropping attention into the body, which is as simple as taking a few breaths, intentionally noticing the centre of gravity in your body, feeling your feet feel connected with your shoes or the ground, and you do your ABCs.
Then you listen from that, you speak from that.
ABCs can help you remain in coach position, maintain a coaching mindset, remain equal to and invite deep intuitive listening into your coaching.
P=R+C is a Power Formula for a Coaching Mindset.
To understand our role as coaches, it’s helpful to remember the InnerLifeSkills Power Formula. To empower someone, you need only increase their awareness of their choices and have the ability to respond to those choices effectively with confidence and capability
Response + Ability is a reframe of the word responsibility.
Power equals response-ability plus choice.
We empower by increasing someone’s ability to respond with confidence and capability to the choices in front of them. We empower by expanding those choices.
With Coach Position, the InnerLifeSkills ABCs and Power Formula, you can remain in the coaching mindset that changes lives.