How we assess the 8th ICF Core Competency “Facilitates Client Growth“
This is the 8th ICF competency out of 8. It is part of the final “Cultivating Learning and Growth” category of competencies.
One of my earliest insights was realizing that a client is only coachable when seeking growth. If someone doesn’t want growth or change, they might not be the right candidate for the coaching journey. That’s why this final competency summarizes some of the essence of what coaching is about –growth.
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 “Facilitates Client Growth?”
“Partners with the client to transform learning and insight into action. Promotes client autonomy in the coaching process.” ICF International Coaching Federation
- Works with the client to integrate new awareness, insight or learning into their worldview and behaviours.
- Partners with the client to design goals, actions and accountability measures that integrate and expand new learning.
- Acknowledges and supports client autonomy in the design of goals, actions and methods of accountability.
- Supports the client in identifying potential results or learning from identified action steps.
- Invites the client to consider how to move forward, including resources, support and potential barriers.
- Partners with the client to summarize learning and insight within or between sessions.
- Celebrates the client’s progress and successes.
- Partners with the client to close the session.
This competency is often expressed through the wrapping up of the session when you’ve got that final 10 to 15 minutes of a session left to collate all the client’s insights. Here we coach to ensure that even the most aspirational, abstract insights will turn into embodied action.
#1 Works with the client to integrate new awareness, insight or learning into their worldview and behaviours. This is not our way, the coach’s, but the client’s best way.
Hence the next keyword partners.
“Partners with the client to design goals, actions and accountability measures that integrate and expand new learning.”
The emphasis is on partnering here and co-creating with the client by discovering what will work for them.
“Acknowledges and supports client autonomy in designing of goals, actions and methods of accountability.”
Our job as coaches is not to police, parent, or partner. Alliteration, yes, you can almost play a game of spot Colleen’s alliterations.
We are supporting our clients in their autonomy. They’re living their insights, making what they find real in their lives.
#4 supports the client in identifying potential results or learning from identified action steps.
Help your clients look at future scenarios and realize what they’ve learned and can continue to learn. Then explore rolling that out into the next steps inviting the client to consider how to move forward, including resources, support, and potential barriers. If there hasn’t been a discussion yet about obstacles, this should potentially be included at the final stage of a coaching session.
Here we unpack a type of contingency planning where we consider outer and inner obstacles.
“Partners with the client to summarize learning and insight within or between sessions.”
What I teach master coaches is that the session can be broadly described as steps 1, 2, and 3, contracting, solutions and actions.
Now, it’s not to say that there are no solutions found in steps one or three, there are overlaps, but it’s to remind us, especially in the early stages of developing our coaching skills, that the emphasis in the early part of a session is on finding out what the client wants from a session which we call contracting.
In step 2, we move into solutions, partnering with the client to achieve the contract. And in this final step 3, we are looking at what’s in the way, why it is in the way and how the client can move forward.
We’re also partnering with the client to connect this session to any previous sessions, perhaps. if creating a kind of continuity and context within all of their coaching.
Finally, “Partners with the client to close the session.”
There’s nothing worse than watching a beautiful movie end suddenly when the titles show up, and you ask, “is that the end?”
Because there was no real clear ending, and there’s a disappointment. Don’t let your coaching sessions fizzle like that.
So I’m going to give you a couple of techniques, reminders, and insights that will help you facilitate client growth and wrap up a session. Reflect on the original contract, what they said they wanted from the coaching session, the outcome, the evidence you created around that (how we know we are there) and the measure of success.
As always, you want to include both WHAT and WHO.
The WHO is the expansion of their sense of self, their values, their beliefs, their sense of purpose, those aha moments that stretch what I call the seeing and the being, the eye and the eye. The perception that is the eye and the I is in the identity because they’re one and the same.
When we expand somebody’s seeing, we also expand their being. When we expand their being, we also expand their seeing.
That’s an InnerLifeSkills teaching.
The WHAT is the more practical classical coaching conversation around goals, solutions and to-do lists. We look at how they’re going to move on, and we ask questions like, “How are you going to stay on track?”
We can explore accountability planning.
This can include a conversation around habits, change, research, experimentation, or anything your client decides would be a helpful way to embody and integrate what they’ve discovered in the session.
We want to examine what’s helpful and what could hinder their process. It might be really beautiful to include a discussion about post-session reflections. How will the client contemplate and reflect in a mindful way, not just the practical sides of the session, like the action steps, but also self-inquiry and personal growth?
Now, a wonderful way to wrap up a session is with acknowledgement. Acknowledgement can be used throughout the session, but what a lovely opportunity at the end of the session to acknowledge something you saw, something sincere you want to celebrate about the client.
- an attitude
- words they said that stood out for you
- an insight
- a strength
- something about their talents, skills, character
- noting their progress
Share with sincerity
So this is not about creating acknowledgement just because it sounded like a good idea or it’s on a list of things to include in your session. This is just pausing, taking a moment, thinking about all you’ve seen and heard, finding something that feels true, using your intuition and sharing that.
And then, with the last few minutes of a session, why not say to your clients, “With these last few minutes, is there anything else we need to include or cover?”
That way, you are even partnering with your client to finish the session.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this series on the ICF competencies and some skills and methods that will strengthen your coaching.
May you coach and guide and lead with wisdom and heart. The world certainly needs wisdom-led coaches.