ICF Coaching Competences

ICF Coaching CompetencesUpdated ICF competency model*November 2019

Written by: Rob - CoachLab.hu


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ICF Coaching Competences

ICF Coaching Competencies ICF Coaching Core Competencies
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ICF Coaching Competencies ICF Coaching Core Competencies
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Updated ICF competency model* November 2019

*Photo: CoachingFederation.hu & CoachhingFederation.org

The materials and ICF competences on this site are available in full and one-to-one on the ICF Hungarian chapter and the International Coaching Federation material taken from the pages of. All this with the aim of helping Coaches and Coaches to find and use it in as many places as possible to help their work!
* CoachLab.hu, as a coaching service provider, aims to disseminate the competences more widely and thus help them to be applied.
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This translation of the ICF Competencies was prepared by the ICF Hungary Chapter and published on
13 March 2020. Approved translations of this document are available on the ICF Global website at

This translation of the ICF competences was prepared by the Hungarian Section of the ICF and published on 13 March 2020.
published by. You can also find the official translations on the ICF Global website at
www.coachingfederation.org at.

The updated ICF Core Competencies were published in November 2019, the first update since the competencies were first formulated in 1998. The updated core competencies will be integrated into the curricula of ICF-accredited coach trainers from January 2021. In the second half of 2021, certification exams will be based on the revised core competences.


1. Behave ethically

Definition: understands and consistently adheres to the ethical guidelines and professional standards of coaching.
  1. Honest and forthright with clients, coaching clients (sponsors) and stakeholders.
  2. It takes into account the client's identity, environment, experiences, values and beliefs.
  3. Use appropriate and respectful language with clients, coaching clients (sponsors) and stakeholders.
  4. Comply with the ICF Code of Ethics and act in accordance with the core values set out in the ICF Code of Ethics.
  5. Under its contracts with stakeholders, it maintains confidentiality and complies with applicable laws.
  6. It maintains professional boundaries between coaching, counselling, psychotherapy and other helping professions.
  7. If necessary, refer clients to another support professional.

2. Coaching approach

Definition: develops and maintains an open, inquisitive, flexible and customer-focused approach.
  1. It recognises that its customers are responsible for their own decisions.
  2. As a coach, she is committed to continuous learning and self-development.
  3. He constantly reflects on himself and his work to improve his own coaching.
  4. Awareness and consideration of the impact of context and culture on self and others.
  5. He uses his perceptions and intuition to benefit his clients.
  6. It develops and maintains the ability to regulate your emotions.
  7. Mentally and emotionally prepared for meetings.
  8. If necessary, it will seek external help.


3. Make and keep agreements

Definition: in partnership with the client and other stakeholders, establish clear and unambiguous agreements on the coaching relationship, process, objectives and plans. It contracts for the whole process as well as for individual sessions.
  1. It clarifies what coaching is and what it is not, and outlines the steps of the process for the client and stakeholders.
  2. It agrees with the client and stakeholders what is and is not part of the coaching relationship, what the process offers and what it does not offer, and who is responsible for what.
  3. An agreement will be made regarding the guidelines and specific parameters of the coaching relationship, such as logistics, pricing, scheduling, time frames for sessions, termination, confidentiality and the involvement of others.
  4. In partnership with the client and other stakeholders, it agrees on a comprehensive coaching plan and objectives.
  5. In partnership with the client, they decide whether they can work together.
  6. In partnership with the client, they define or confirm what they want to achieve during the meeting.
  7. They work in partnership with the client to determine what the client thinks they need to do or should do to achieve what they intend to achieve during the meeting.
  8. In partnership with the client, they define and confirm what will make the coaching process or session successful for the client (specific criteria).
  9. In partnership with the client, it controls the timeframe and focus of the meeting.
  10. The coach conducts the conversation with the client in such a way that it continues to move towards the goal set by the client, unless the client indicates otherwise.
  11. In partnership with the client, they conclude the coaching relationship in a dignified way.

4. Promotes and maintains trust and security

Definition: In partnership with the client, it creates a safe and supportive space in which the client can freely express themselves. Maintains mutual respect and trust.
  1. He or she genuinely seeks to understand the client in his or her context, identity, environment, experiences, values and beliefs.
  2. It respects the client's identity, perceptions, style and language, and tailors the coaching to the client.
  3. Recognises and respects the client's unique skills, insights and work in the coaching process.
  4. Show support, empathy and care for the client.
  5. Encourage the client to express and acknowledge their feelings, perceptions, concerns, beliefs and suggestions.
  6. Open and transparent, it shows vulnerability, leading by example and building trust.

5. Consciously present

Definition: Fully aware of the client in an open, flexible, retentive and confident relationship.
  1. Stays focused, observant, empathetic and responsive to the client.
  2. Throughout the coaching process you maintain your interest/"curiosity".
  3. Manages emotions well to maintain a presence with the client.
  4. Confidently manage the client's strong emotions in the coaching process.
  5. Confidently working with non-knowledge.
  6. It creates and leaves space for silence, rest and reflection.


6. Actively listening/listening

Definition: focuses both on what the client says and does not say, to fully understand the client's communication in the context of the client's systems, and to support the client's self-expression.
  1. It takes into account the client's context, identity, environment, experiences, values and belief system to help understand what the client is communicating.
  2. Reflecting on and/or summarising the client's communication to ensure clarity and understanding.
  3. Recognises when there is something else behind the customer's communication and asks about it.
  4. It notices, acknowledges and maps the client's emotions, energy changes, non-verbal signals and other behavioural manifestations.
  5. He/she is able to perceive the client's words, tone of voice and body language in unison to understand the full meaning of what is being communicated.
  6. Recognises the client's repetitive behaviours and emotions during sessions and thus identifies themes and patterns.

7. Promotes awareness

Definition: Promotes client learning and helps the client to gain new insights. It uses tools and techniques such as effective/powerful questioning, silence, metaphors and analogies.
  1. It takes the client's experience into account to make the joint work as useful as possible.
  2. Gently provoke the client to come to insights and gain awareness.
  3. Asking questions about the client: their mindset, values, needs, wants, beliefs, etc.
  4. It asks questions that help the client to go beyond their current frame of mind.
  5. Invite the client to tell us more about what they are experiencing in the "here and now".
  6. It notices what is working in the process and works to move the client forward.
  7. It responds to the client's needs and fine-tunes the coaching process.
  8. It helps the client to identify factors that influence present and future patterns of behaviour, thinking and emotions.
  9. It invites the client to brainstorm about the way forward and to explore what they are ready and able to do.
  10. Support the client in reframing perspectives/viewpoints.
  11. He shares his observations, insights and feelings in a way that does not hold on to them, and that allows the client to learn/recognise new things.


8. Promotes/facilitates client development

Definition: In partnership with the client, it translates learning and insights into action. Takes care to develop the client's autonomy/self-determination in the coaching process.
  1. Works with the client to integrate new awareness, insights and learning into the client's worldview/worldview and behaviour.
  2. In partnership with the client, they create goals, actions and accountability/responsibility steps that integrate and extend new learning.
  3. Recognises and supports the client's autonomy in setting goals, actions and methods of accountability.
  4. It supports the client in identifying the expected results and lessons to be learnt from the steps set.
  5. He encourages his client to think about the path ahead, including resources, support and possible obstacles.
  6. In partnership with the client, summarise the insights and learning from the meetings and/or between meetings.
  7. Celebrates the client's progress and success.
  8. They close the meeting in partnership with their client.

*Photo: CoachingFederation.hu & CoachingFederation.org

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