Recently I became part of the latest cohort to be trained in the new International Coach Federation's PCC Markers. Many have criticized the new markers for various reasons (including myself)... why fix something thats not broken? But the more I have learned about and applied the markers, the more impressed I have become. Going through the training has allowed me to realize how I can better serve my clients by incorporating the spirit of the markers.
What I see moving forward with the markers training is two distinct advantages:
First - By using the markers, coaches will undoubtably become better in their work with clients. Lets look at the Competency 2 Markers: Creating the Coaching Agreement.
1. Coach helps the client identify, or reconfirm, what s/he wants to accomplish in the session.
2. Coach helps the client to define or reconfirm measures of success for what s/he wants to accomplish in the session.
These first two markers serve as vital reminders to the coach of who is in charge of the session and the importance of coach and client partnering to get the most from the session. Where are we going with this and how will we know when we've arrived? These simple questions provide a GPS for the forthcoming exploration and help illustrate progress and ultimately the session results.
3. Coach explores what is important or meaningful to the client about what s/he wants to accomplish in the session.
By the coach exploring this question, the client can express both to themselves and the coach the foundational motivation behind the session's agenda. This can also help the client gain even more focus on their intended outcome.
4. Coach helps the client define what the client believes he/she needs to address or resolve in order to achieve what s/he wants to accomplish in the session.
There are obstacles and challenges to every goal or objective. This marker aids in bringing these to light early on so that momentum can build and remain steady. Once a client knows the way forward we want to know what we may need to manage or clear along the way.
5. Coach continues conversation in direction of client’s desired outcome unless client indicates otherwise.
The importance of this marker is that it reminds me as the coach - who is really in charge of the session. Coaches must always defer to the agenda and intent of the client. It's their session, it's their circumstance, we are just honored to be the coach and help them reach objectives. As such, our questions, comments and observations should remain faithful to those stated objectives unless the client shifts directions.
As we can see from the above comments the coach will certainly enhance their contribution to the client by operating within the markers.
Second - Those seeking a credential from the ICF now have much clearer guidelines within which to practice their coaching and thereby attain their PCC. By no means am I suggesting to use the markers as a checklist or roadmap to coaching a client, but it can be used as a series of reminders of how one can better engage with their client and thus help the client maximize results. A practice that I recommend for all coaches - record your sessions with clients, and go back and listen to them with a copy of the markers at hand. This self-grading will help you find areas to improve on and note others where you are showing competence.
Scott Howard is a professional executive coach and leadership coach focusing on human empowerment and maximizing potential.