ICF releases Updated MCC 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 a Master Certified Coach (MCC) used to assess MCC 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.

 

ACC 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 an Associate Certified Coach (ACC) used to assess ACC 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 MCC 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 MCC, and simultaneously conducting a second assessment of the same recording using the draft behavior coaching skill statements of an MCC 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.

 

MCC 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 MCC 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 MCC credential applications received from August 1, 2022.

 

Overview

The ICF MCC Minimum Skills Requirements document is intended to assist coaches as they prepare for their MCC 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.”

 

Further, ICF outlines the Overall Behaviors for MCC-level Coaching;

“Among the hallmarks of MCC-level coaching is the fluidity and artistry with which a coach engages in a coaching conversation. This can manifest in a variety of ways. Most commonly, MCC-level coaching is demonstrated through the depth of skill in a specific coaching behavior or through the integration of multiple competencies simultaneously in a seamlessly blended manner.

The structure of the Minimum Skills Requirements for MCC-level coaching is designed to reflect the unique characteristics of masterful coaching, with behaviors identified for each of the Core Competency areas, as well as overarching behaviors and skills that reflect MCC-level coaching across the competencies. Both the overall MCC-level coaching behaviors and the competency-specific skills have been identified through research with MCC-credentialed coaches.

At the MCC level of coaching, an applicant should demonstrate trust in the client as a full partner throughout the coaching engagement, supporting the client in directing the focus and approach of the session and exploring the client’s learning in a way that supports their continued growth.

An applicant should exhibit a genuine interest and curiosity in and support for the client as a whole person—beyond the client’s situation or immediate goals—and should support the client in reflecting on their learning and discovery about themselves at a holistic level.

The applicant should also demonstrate genuine trust in and respect for the client’s choices, perceptions, insights and contributions throughout the coaching, engaging in the coaching as a supporter and active learner and encouraging the client to explore their learning and growth at a deep level.

Specifically, MCC applicants are assessed on the following general coaching behaviors as part of the performance evaluation process:

  • Coach invites the client to explore the lens through which the client is observing their current situation
  • The coach’s comments and questions come from the totality of what they have learned about who the client is and their coaching purpose
  • Coach’s invitations to the client primarily focus on exploring deeper learning or a path forward”

 

In the 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 MCC skill level
  • Non-passing behaviors for each competency at MCC 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 partners with the client to explore the topic or focus of the session at a level that is meaningful to the client
  • Coach partners with the client to keep the desired outcome as a guide to the coaching conversation in a flexible, gentle and natural manner
  • Coach notices subtle shifts in the conversation and invites the client to change direction if the client desires

 

Passing behaviors for this competency

At MCC level, the coach fully explores with the client what the client wants to work on. The coach partners with the client to thoroughly explore the importance of the topic to the client, measures of success, and any changes in the direction of the coaching conversation. Through a partnering discussion, the coach ensures that both the coach and client are clear about the agenda, the measures of success, and the issues to be discussed, and the coach attends to that agenda and those measures throughout the coaching, unless redirected by the client.

The coach regularly checks with the client throughout the session to ensure that the client’s goals for the session are being achieved and that the direction and process are supporting the client in moving toward their desired outcome.

 

Non-passing behaviors for this competency

At MCC level, if full partnership with the client is not demonstrated. Full partnership will not be demonstrated if the coach chooses the topic(s) for the client or if the coach does not coach around the topic(s) the client has chosen. The evaluation for this competency will also be negatively impacted if the coach does not explore the measures of success for each topic with the client to a degree that achieves clarity about the client’s intent or direction for the session, does not allow the client full input into the issues that should be discussed relative to the client’s stated objectives for the session, or does not check with the client about whether the client is moving toward what the client wanted from the session.

 

Competency #4. Cultivates Trust and Safety

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

  • Coach engages the client as an equal partner in a collaborative coaching process
  • Coach exhibits genuine curiosity about the client as a whole person by inviting the client to share more about themself or their identity
  • Coach provides space for the client to fully express themself, share feelings, beliefs, and perspectives, without judgment
  • Coach acknowledges the client and celebrates client progress

 

Passing behaviors for this competency

At MCC level, the coach demonstrates complete and open trust in the client and the process by engaging the client as an equal partner in the coaching, and by the coach’s willingness to be vulnerable with the client and creating a safe space for the client to be vulnerable in return.

The MCC level coach demonstrates a complete confidence in self, the coaching process, the client as a whole, and a genuine curiosity about and respect for the client’s perceptions, learning style, and personal being. The client is treated as an equal partner in the relationship with a full invitation to participate in the development and creation of the coaching process and their own new learning and behaviors.

 

Non-passing behaviors for this competency

At MCC level, if the coach does not treat the client as a full partner, choosing not only the agenda but also participating in the creation of the coaching process itself. Lack of full partnership will be demonstrated if the coach exhibits an interest in the coach’s view of the situation rather than the client’s view, does not seek information from the client about the client’s thinking, does not seek information about the client’s goals, or the coach demonstrates a lack of interest in or disrespect toward the client as a whole.

In addition, the evaluation will be negatively impacted if the coach does not invite the client to share their thinking on an equal level with the coach or if the coach chooses the direction and approach without significant input from the client. Any indication that the coach is teaching rather than coaching will also result in a score below the MCC level for this competency area.

 

Competency #5: Maintains Presence

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

  • Coach responds to the client in a manner that keeps the conversation flowing with the client leading the way
  • Coach remains curious and attentive to the client, exploring what the client needs throughout the session
  • Coach engages in the coaching conversation with ease and fluidity
  • Coach leverages silence to support the client and the client’s growth

 

Passing behaviors for this competency

At MCC level, the coach is fully partnering with the client in the coaching dialogue and is a connected observer to the client, holding both objective and emotional perspectives simultaneously. The connection is to the whole of the client, who the client is, what the client wants, how the client learns and creates, and how the client leads the coaching conversation. The coach evidences a genuine curiosity in the client.

As with Cultivates Trust and Safety, the coach is in a complete partnership with the client where the client is an equal or greater contributor to the conversation and direction of the coaching than the coach. At the MCC level, the conversation between coach and client is equal and easy, even in uncomfortable moments.

 

Non-passing behaviors for this competency

At MCC 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 MCC performance evaluation if the coach if the coach does not treat the client as a full partner, choosing not only the agenda but also participating in the creation of the coaching process itself. Such lack of full partnership is demonstrated if the coach exhibits interest in the coach’s view of the situation rather than the client’s view, does not seek information from the client about the client’s thinking, does not seek information about the client’s goals, or if the coach’s attention seems to be on the coach’s own performance or demonstration of knowledge.

In addition, the evaluation will be negatively impacted if the coach does not invite the client to share their thinking on an equal level with the coach.

 

Competency #6: Listens Actively

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

  • Coach responds to client with an invitation into a deeper exploration of client thinking and behaviors
  • Coach’s responses to the client demonstrates an understanding of the client’s emotions, energy, or learning and growth, in alignment with the client’s agenda
  • Coach reflects what the client communicates in relation to the context of the whole person

 

Passing behaviors for this competency

At MCC level, the coach listens as a learner and demonstrates an ability to listen at the logical and emotional level at the same time. Responses from the coach evidence learning about the client at multiple levels. The coach’s responses evidence that the coach is hearing the client’s intuitive abilities, the client’s energy, when the client speaks of important things, when new growth is occurring for the client, how that growth is related to the client’s stated objectives and agenda, and when the client is finding, creating, and using a more powerful sense of self.

The coach is also able to hear the client’s current thinking and growth and relate it to the future the client is trying to create. An MCC level coach hears the totality of the client’s greatness and gifts as well as limiting beliefs and patterns. The coach’s listening is cumulative from session to session and throughout each individual session.

 

Non-passing behaviors for this competency

At MCC level, if the coach does not demonstrate listening that is based on the whole client and an ability to hear the client’s thinking, learning, and feeling at multiple levels. The coach will not receive a passing grade at this level if the listening is filtered only through the coach’s methods of thinking, learning, and creating and does not actively hear and use as a significant coaching tool, the client’s methods of thinking, learning, and creating.

The score for this competency will also be negatively impacted if nuances of the client’s language are not reflected in the coach’s responses, or if the coach does not respond to what the client communicates, the coach’s response is not related to what the client is trying to achieve, or the coach’s listening is primarily focused on the client’s problems or weaknesses.

The coach will not receive a passing grade on the MCC 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 partners with the client to explore the client’s stories, metaphors and imagery that support growth and learning
  • Coach stimulates new client insights with minimal, precise questions
  • Coach asks questions that challenge the client to explore more deeply or to go beyond current thinking and feeling
  • Coach shares with fluidity insights, observations, or questions, from the client’s words and actions to foster awareness

 

Passing behaviors for this competency

At MCC level, the coach’s invitation to the exploration of important issues precedes and is significantly greater than the invitation to a solution. At an MCC level, the coach’s way of being is consistently curious; the coach is willing to not know and allow the exploration to evolve based on the client’s thinking, learning, and creating.

The coach asks mostly, if not always, direct, evocative questions that are fully responsive to the client in the moment, to the client’s agenda and stated objectives, and that require significant thought by the client or take the client to a new place of thinking. The coach makes frequent and full use of the client’s language and learning style to craft questions, insights, or observations that provide a space for a client to use and expand their own style of thinking, learning, and creating, and to discover their power, gifts, and strengths.

The coach provides sufficient space and encouragement to allow the client to integrate and use new awareness to identify patterns of thinking or behavior, resolve current challenges, achieve current goals, and think how the new awareness may be used in the future.

 

Non-passing behaviors for this competency

At MCC level, if the coach does not demonstrate an ability to use questions, insights, silence or other techniques that encourage the client to deepen their thinking in a larger, more reflective space related to the client or the client’s agenda. The evaluation will be negatively impacted if the coach frequently asks questions that keep the client in the past or in present detail of a situation rather than in forward thinking, or if the coach drives the client toward solutions without fully exploring issues that may be important to gaining complete solution or accomplishment for the client.

The evaluation will also be negatively impacted if the dialogue does not provide sufficient space for the client’s full participation in creating awareness; if the coach’s communication reflects an agenda or directing of any kind by the coach; if the coach does not evidence frequent use of the client’s language, learning, thinking, and creating styles; or if the coach does not often create an easy place for the client to engage in deeper thinking, learning, and discovery.

The coach will not receive a passing score for this competency area if the coach’s communication limits the thinking and learning direction for the client without specific interaction with, discussion of, and assent by the client to the limitation.

 

Competency #8: Facilitates Client Growth

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

  • Coach checks in with client and their progress, learnings, and insights in natural and spontaneous ways throughout the session
  • Coaches invites the client to sense and reflect on what they are learning about themselves
  • Coach cultivates an environment for the client to intentionally apply their own learning

 

Passing behaviors for this competency

At MCC level, the coach fully partners with the client to explore the client’s learning about their situation and themselves, and ways to apply new awareness to support the client’s agenda, desired goals, and future growth. The coach partners with the client throughout the session to explore the client’s progress and learning and supports the client in reflecting on what the client is discovering about themselves.

The MCC coach demonstrates trust in the client to develop actions and accountability structures that are reflective of the client’s agenda and broader learning or accomplishment that the client wants to obtain, integrate the client’s strengths as well as the best of the client’s learning and creating methodologies.

 

Non-passing behaviors for this competency

At MCC level, if the coach does not invite full client participation or does not encourage client leadership in planning strategies, actions and methods of accountability or if the coach dominates in any way the actions or applications of learning that are created. The evaluation will also be negatively impacted if the coach does not invite or partner with the client to explore what the client is learning about themself and possible applications of that learning, or if applications of learning do not reflect a clear potential for forward movement by the client related to the client’s agenda, desired outcomes, or to some other learning that the client has defined for as necessary for their growth.

The evaluation will also be negatively impacted if designed plans and goals and/or discussion designed actions involves only physical activity with no attention to the thinking, learning, being, and creativity structures of the client.

Prepared by Carly Anderson, MCC

 

Are you ready to upgrade your coaching skills, and prepare for your next ICF credential?

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I’m a long term (since 2005), experienced and active MCC Assessor. I’ve been trained by the ICF to assess using the PCC Markers. Since 2005, I regularly assess for ICF MCC, PCC and ACC credentials, and was one of 15 coaches on the core global team involved in the 2020 update of the PCC Markers to align with the ICF Updated Core Competency Model. I keep up-to-date with the latest ACC, PCC and MCC credentialing criteria and do my best to communicate such to all my mentoring clients in a simple manner.

One of the unique offerings for my clients is access to an extensive, exclusive library of MCC, PCC and ACC coaching session recordings, many of which have passed the ICF credential exam process. These are an incredibly valuable self-learning tool, and will accelerate your understanding of competency distinctions at each skill level.

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