The Importance of Assessment Markers in Determining ICF Core Competencies

Acknowledged globally as the gold standard in coaching, ICF has its own set of assessment methods to determine if ICF Core Competencies are witnessed during recorded coaching sessions. Known as PCC Markers, this assessment helps in identifying the extent to which the competencies are seen. Professionals are assessed on the basis of these markers when seeking credentials as PCC (Professional Certified Coach). This is a performance evaluation tool that is used to assess/evaluate. Here is a brief overview of the different assessment shown through competencies that are typically searched for by applicants in PCC Markers PDF format.

Coaching agreement – Also known as Competency 2, Coaching agreement helps in identifying the participant’s objective in the session. This also helps the coach to assist the participant in working out various levels of success that can be used to assess the results of the session. Coaches also use this to understand the priority of the participants and the need for making changes.

Bonding and contribution – Covered under two competencies, namely 3 and 4, this covers aspects such as the acknowledgment of the client by the coach, the support structure that will be offered during the coaching, and the encouragement shown towards the participant to be vocal and expressive.  It is also here that the presence of the coach becomes more important as the contribution is key to the success of the coaching. The coach begins to respond to the requirements of the participant while supporting the participant’s desire to be a part of the learning curve. The bonding and contribution improve at this stage and is an important stage where the participant is invited to respond to the contributions of the coach and is also a foundation that permits the participant to work on an individual learning curve.

Listening to the participant – At Competency 5 the gentle probing by the coach helps in the forming of a picture about the participant and the language ability. Here the participant’s emotions are understood better, through various markers such as the tone of the participant, the speed of discussions and the various changes that are seen.  The coach also probes about the emotions of the participant, and his/her perceptions, in addition to permitting the participant to pause and reflect.

Ascertaining information through questions – Also known as competency 6, this is the stage where the coach begins to go into the values of the participant and the various qualities that determine the thinking process and the requirements of the participant. The participant is gently encouraged into considering other options of thinking and values in an effort to look beyond the fixed ideas about self and the present situations or circumstances that the participant finds oneself in. This is also used as a stage to encourage the participant to move out of the fixed level of thoughts to work towards achieving the desired outcome. This is achieved by throwing questions that are open-ended and direct, at a gentle pace that permits a measured thinking. Questions are typically asked one at a time and are paced with the observed speed of the client, the language and the response. None of the questions are designed to offer suggestions in the question. In other words, the questions will never involve framing in such a manner so as to suggest a particular or recommended direction and outcome.

Communicating directly – In competency 7; the coach shares inputs that are designed to help the participant move towards his or her objective. This involves sharing of comments and observations without any suggestions that they are the right. They are shared as observations which can be taken as desired by the client and is usually communicated in a manner that is aligned with the comfort levels of the participant in terms of language and manner of speaking. This is typically shared in a language that is clear, with the participant getting to express himself or herself without any interruptions.

Creating awareness – Competency 8 deals with the expressions of the participants regarding the session and the learning experience. The participant gets to share more details about the learning achieved in the session and more about the self. The participant is also encouraged by the coach to share his/her intent about applying the learning experience.

Actions, planning, setting goals and managing progress – The three competencies, viz., 9, 10 and 11 are more about the handling of the goals and managing them. The participant is asked to assess the progress during the session and is also encouraged to share intentions of using the session learning curve to work towards achieving the desired results. The participant gets assistance from the coach in devising a system of self-evaluation and accountability following which the session comes to a close where the progress of the participant is recorded.

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