The Target Approach to core coaching competencies


The ICF Core Competencies are presented in a linear list and numbered 1 through 11. The trap is to then think that if you work through the list you are being effective at using the competencies. From my experience, this is not the case. In fact, far from it.

As an active ICF Assessor since 2005, I have listened to hundreds of coaching sessions of candidates applying for their MCC, PCC or ACC credential. Out of that experience, and having to learn the competencies at a deeper level, I realized how misleading the linear model was.

So I developed a model that more closely resembles how the competencies are used in practice. The Target Approach is a model that demystifies and simplifies the ICF Core Competencies. Five of the competencies are at the heart of coaching, and are “Target Competencies.” Two are “Application Competencies,” and the remaining four are what I call “Output Competencies” because they are an output or result of engaging with the target competencies.

If you engage with the Target Competencies, you will be able to apply the skills of presence, listening, questions and observations to supporting your client to design their overall coaching plan, and to establishing a focus for each coaching session that moves the client in the direction of their coaching plan.

The deeper you engage with the Target Competencies, the more opportunity you have to build trust, have the client gain new awareness, then design actions from their awareness, and determine what resources and support they need in order to follow through on their actions.

If you’re interested in being more confident in your coaching skills and raising your level of coaching mastery, you can find my audio visual product in the Store.


Carly Anderson, MCC