ICF releases Updated ACC Minimum Skills Requirements for Performance Evaluations

This article refers to the information published by ICF (Credentials and Standards) June 2022 about behavioral and coaching skill requirements of an Associate Certified Coach (ACC) used to assess ACC credential applications received from August 1, 2022.

The intention of this article is to examine this information released by the ICF, for the purpose of supporting growth-minded coaches, mentor coaches and those interested in understanding the background, and behavior and coaching skills ICF measures for an ACC coaching credential.

Skill level is demonstrated in a coaching session recording submitted by an Applicant with their credential application. ICF calls these recordings Performance Evaluations

I claim no ownership over the ICF published information, rather I’m seeking to provide clarity and “discussion” about the contents of the ICF published information.

 

MCC and PCC Minimum Skills Requirements

A second article I’ve written at this same time, refers to the latest information published by the ICF (Credentials and Standards) about behavioral and coaching skill requirements of a Master Certified Coach (MCC) used to assess MCC credential applications received from August 1, 2022.

The Updated PCC Markers were released September 2020 by ICF to align with the Updated Core Competencies. This article will not discuss those Markers.

 

Background

The International Coaching Federation (ICF) has released on their website, the Updated ACC Minimum Skills Requirements to align with the Updated Core Competencies released in 2019. In between 2019 and 2022 has been an extensive research phase, followed by drafting of behavioral and coaching skill statements from that research.

ICF then tested those draft statements by asking ICF Portfolio Assessors to evaluate coaching recordings (called Performance Evaluations by ICF) submitted by Applicants using both the current assessing criteria for ACC, and simultaneously conducting a second assessment of the same recording using the draft behavior coaching skill statements of an ACC coach. A total of 300 such simultaneous evaluations were completed, the results analyzed, with a final set of behavioral and coaching skill statements produced.

As an active and continuous ICF Assessor since 2005 I had the honor of participating as one (of many) ICF Assessors who reviewed recordings simultaneously using current and draft criteria.

 

ACC Minimum Skills Requirements including “extracted” Behavior and Skill Statements

Again, you can find the information published on the ICF website here

Here’s a PDF document provided by ICF of the same information

Bonus Document!
I’ve prepared a separate document called ACC Behavior and Skill Statements from ICF where I’ve extracted the behavior and skill statements from the ICF information to make it easy to know what the behaviors and skills are and what is being used for all ACC credential applications received from August 1, 2022.

 

Overview

The ICF ACC Minimum Skills Requirements document is intended to assist coaches as they prepare for their ACC credential performance evaluation to understand the behavioral and coaching skill requirements. As well as inform mentor coaches, supervisors, and coaching education providers on how to prepare coaches for their credential application. Or for growth mindset coaches who want to be the best coach they can be at this skill level.

Here’s the first paragraph from the ICF document;

“ICF believes that it has an obligation to support its member coaches in the growth of their skill set. Every Master Certified Coach (MCC) started as a beginner. They progressed through an intermediate level of skill, and became masterful, where the hallmark is deep evidence of the coach’s role as learner about the client. ICF’s three levels of Credentials reflect the continuum of growth and learning along the coaching journey.”

In this ICF document the following is outlined;

  • The definition and sub-points for each of the 8 Updated Core Competencies
  • Key Skills Evaluated for each competency (which is not credential specific)
  • Passing behaviors at minimum standard of skill for each competency at ACC skill level
  • Non-passing behaviors for each competency at ACC skill level

 

Competency #1: Demonstrates Ethical Practice

There are no specific behavioral or skill statements outlined for this competency. However the coach applicant can fail an entire performance evaluation if they violate the ICF Code of Ethics https://coachingfederation.org/ethics/code-of-ethics

Passing behaviors include coach consistently staying in the mindset/role of coach, which is demonstrated by engaging in inquiry and exploration (as per Competencies #3 – #8) from client present focus to client future focus.

Non-passing behaviors include if coach focuses primarily on client emotional past (therapeutic) or telling the client what to do or how to do it (consulting).

Resource!
If you signed up for the monthly Coaching Brief newsletter, you received an article I wrote on “Ethics Traps for Coaches” which outlines some common issues coaches miss. The sign up form is right column of my blog page

 

Competency #2: Embodies a Coaching Mindset

There are no specific behavioral or skill statements outlined for this competency. However the mindset of the coach will be demonstrated through Competencies #3 – #8.

There are no specific behaviors/skills for this Competency. Coaching Mindset is demonstrated through the application of behavior/skills in competencies #3 – #8. And more specifically assessed in the updated ICF Credentialing written exam completed as part of the credential application.

 

Competency #3: Establishes and Maintains Agreements

Behaviors measured for this competency as part of the performance evaluation process:

  • Coach and client reach an agreement on what the client wants to accomplish in the session
  • Coach invites the client to identify their desired coaching outcome
  • Coach attends to the agenda set by the client throughout the session, unless the client indicates otherwise
  • Coach shows curiosity about the client and how the client relates to what they want to accomplish

 

Passing behaviors for this competency

At ACC level, the coach invites the client to identify what the client wants to accomplish in the session and the coach attends to that agenda throughout the coaching, unless the client indicates otherwise.

Non-passing behaviors for this competency

At ACC level, if the coach chooses the topic for the client or if the coach does not coach around the topic the client has chosen.

 

Competency #4. Cultivates Trust and Safety

Behaviors measured for this competency as part of the performance evaluation process:

  • Coach acknowledges client insights and learning in the moment
  • Coach explores the client’s expression of feelings, perceptions, concerns, beliefs, or suggestions
  • Coach expresses support and concern for the client, which may focus on the client’s context, problem or situation, rather than the client holistically

 

Passing behaviors for this competency

At ACC level, the coach shows genuine concern, support and respect for the client and is attuned to client’s beliefs, perceptions, learning style, and personal being at a basic level.

Non-passing behaviors for this competency

At ACC level, if the coach demonstrates significant interest in the coach’s own view of the situation rather than the client’s view of the situation; if the coach does not seek information from the client about the client’s thinking around the situation, if the coach is unsupportive or disrespectful to the client; or if the coach’s attention seems to be on their own performance or demonstration of knowledge about the topic rather than on the client.

 

Competency #5: Maintains Presence

Behaviors measured for this competency as part of the performance evaluation process:

  • Coach is curious throughout the session
  • Coach acknowledges situations that the client presents
  • Coach allows the client to direct the conversation at least some of the time

 

Passing behaviors for this competency

At ACC level, the coach demonstrates curiosity about the client and the client’s agenda and is responsive to the information the client offers throughout the session.

Non-passing behaviors for this competency

At ACC level, the ICF notes that Cultivates Trust and Safety and Maintains Presence are quite related competencies. Therefore, a coach will not receive a passing score for Maintains Presence on the ACC performance evaluation if the coach demonstrates significant interest in the coach’s own view of the situation rather than exploring the client’s view of the situation, does not seek information from the client about the client’s thinking around the situation or is unresponsive to that information, the coach consistently directs the conversation, or the attention seems to be on the coach’s own performance or demonstration of knowledge about the topic.

 

Competency #6: Listens Actively

Behaviors measured for this competency as part of the performance evaluation process:

  • Coach uses summarizing or paraphrasing to make sure they understood the client correctly
  • Coach makes observations that support the client in creating new associations
  • Coach co-creates a shared vision with the client

 

Passing behaviors for this competency

At ACC level, the coach listens to what the client communicates in relation to the client’s agenda, responds to what the client offers to ensure clarity of understanding, and integrates what the client has communicated to support the client in achieving their agenda. The coach’s behaviors in this competency may include listening to what the client has communicated verbally, as well as what the client may communicate in other ways, such as tone of voice, energy or emotional shifts, or body language.

Non-passing behaviors for this competency

At ACC level, if the coach does not demonstrate listening that is focused on and responding to what the client communicates or the coach’s responses are not related to what the client is trying to achieve. The coach will not receive a passing grade on the ACC performance evaluation if the coach appears to be listening for the place where the coach can demonstrate their knowledge about the topic or tell the client what to do about the topic.

 

Competency #7: Evokes Awareness

Behaviors measured for this competency as part of the performance evaluation process:

  • Coach inquires about or explores the client’s ideas, beliefs, thinking, emotions, and behaviors in relation to the desired outcome
  • Coach supports the client in viewing the situation from new or different perspectives
  • Coach acknowledges the client’s new awareness, learning, and movement toward the desired outcome

 

Passing behaviors for this competency

At ACC level, the coach uses inquiry, exploration, silence and other techniques to support the client in achieving new or deeper learning and awareness.

Non-passing behaviors for this competency

At ACC level, if the coach focuses consistently on instructing the client or sharing the coach’s own knowledge, ideas or beliefs; if the majority of the coach’s questions are leading or contain pre-determined answers by the coach; or if the coach’s questions and explorations attend to an agenda or issues not set by the client, but set by the coach.

 

Competency #8: Facilitates Client Growth

Behaviors measured for this competency as part of the performance evaluation process:

  • Coach asks questions to support the client in translating awareness into action
  • Coach partners with the client to create or confirm specific action plans
  • Coach supports the client to close the session

 

Passing behaviors for this competency

At ACC level, the coach supports the client in exploring how to apply the client’s learning and awareness to post-session actions that are related to the client’s stated agenda and have the potential to move the client forward in their thinking, learning, or growth. At this level, the coach may also suggest resources to assist the client in achieving their goals so long as the resources are not forced on the client.

Non-passing behaviors for this competency

At ACC level, if the coach insists the client carry out specific actions prescribed by the coach, the coach suggests actions or steps to the client that do not have a clear relationship to the client’s stated agenda, the coach does not invite the client to identify or explore how the client’s learning can be applied to future actions or activities that support the client’s agenda,  or if the coach does not support the client to close the session.

Prepared by Carly Anderson, MCC

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