PCC Markers - International Coaching Federation
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PCC MARKERS

Assessment markers are the indicators that an assessor is trained to listen for to determine which ICF Core Competencies are evident in a recorded coaching conversation and to what extent. The following markers are behaviors that represent demonstration of the Core Competencies in a coaching conversation at the Professional Certified Coach (PCC) level. These markers support a performance evaluation process that is fair, consistent, valid, reliable, repeatable and defensible.

The PCC Markers may also support coaches, coach trainers and mentor coaches in identifying areas for growth and skill development in coaching at the PCC level; however, they should always be used in the context of Core Competency development. The PCC Markers should not be used as a checklist in a formulaic manner for passing the PCC performance evaluation.

The updated ICF Core Competencies model was released in November 2019, marking its first update since their creation in 1998. The updated Core Competencies will be integrated in ICF-accredited Coach Training Programs curricula beginning in January 2021. Subsequently, in October 2020, ICF released updated PCC Markers that align with these updated Core Competencies. The updated PCC Markers will go into effect for Credentialing performance evaluation purposes in late 2021 / early 2022. Until that time, the current PCC Markers will continue to be used.

Below, you will find both the current and updated PCC Markers, as well as their respective translations. The updated markers have been streamlined from 47 markers to 37. You can also visit the ICF Core Competencies page for more information.

As you explore the competencies and associated markers, please keep in mind the above implementation timelines for 2021.

Current and Updated PCC Markers

  • Current Markers

    Competency 1: Meeting Ethical Guidelines and Professional Standards

    Familiarity with the ICF Code of Ethics and its application is required for all levels of coaching. Successful PCC candidates will demonstrate coaching that is aligned with the ICF Code of Ethics and will remain consistent in the role of the coach.

    Competency 2: Creating the Coaching Agreement

    2.1: Coach helps the client identify, or reconfirm, what s/he wants to accomplish in the session.
    2.2: Coach helps the client to define or reconfirm measures of success for what s/he wants to accomplish in the session.
    2.3: Coach explores what is important or meaningful to the client about what s/he wants to accomplish in the session.
    2.4: 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.
    2.5: Coach continues conversation in direction of client’s desired outcome unless client indicates otherwise.

    Competency 3: Creating Trust and Intimacy

    3.1: Coach acknowledges and respects the client’s work in the coaching process.
    3.2: Coach expresses support for the client.
    3.3: Coach encourages and allows the client to fully express him/herself.

    Competency 4: Coaching Presence

    4.1: Coach acts in response to both the whole person of the client and what the client wants to accomplish in the session.
    4.2: Coach is observant, empathetic, and responsive.
    4.3: Coach notices and explores energy shifts in the client.
    4.4: Coach exhibits curiosity with the intent to learn more.
    4.5: Coach partners with the client by supporting the client to choose what happens in the session.
    4.6: Coach partners with the client by inviting the client to respond in any way to the coach’s contributions and accepts the client’s response.
    4.7: Coach partners with the client by playing back the client’s expressed possibilities for the client to choose from.
    4.8: Coach partners with the client by encouraging the client to formulate his or her own learning.

    Competency 5: Active Listening

    5.1: Coach’s questions and observations are customized by using what the coach has learned about who the client is and the client’s situation.
    5.2: Coach inquires about or explores the client’s use of language.
    5.3: Coach inquires about or explores the client’s emotions.
    5.4: Coach inquires about or explores the client’s tone of voice, pace of speech or inflection as appropriate.
    5.5: Coach inquires about or explores the client’s behaviors.
    5.6: Coach inquires about or explores how the client perceives his/her world.
    5.7: Coach is quiet and gives client time to think.

    Competency 6: Powerful Questioning

    6.1: Coach asks questions about the client; his/her way of thinking, assumptions, beliefs, values, needs, wants, etc.
    6.2: Coach’s questions help the client explore beyond his/her current thinking to new or expanded ways of thinking about himself/herself.
    6.3: Coach’s questions help the client explore beyond his/her current thinking to new or expanded ways of thinking about his/her situation.
    6.4: Coach’s questions help the client explore beyond current thinking towards the outcome s/he desires.
    6.5: Coach asks clear, direct, primarily open-ended questions, one at a time, at a pace that allows for thinking and reflection by the client.
    6.6: Coach’s questions use the client’s language and elements of the client’s learning style and frame of reference.
    6.7: Coach’s questions are not leading, i.e. do not contain a conclusion or direction.

    Competency 7: Direct Communication

    7.1: Coach shares observations, intuitions, comments, thoughts and feelings to serve the client’s learning or forward movement.
    7.2: Coach shares observations, intuitions, comments, thoughts and feelings without any attachment to them being right.
    7.3: Coach uses the client’s language or language that reflects the client’s way of speaking.
    7.4: Coach’s language is generally clear and concise.
    7.5: The coach allows the client to do most of the talking.
    7.6: Coach allows the client to complete speaking without interrupting unless there is a stated coaching purpose to do so.

    Competency 8: Creating Awareness

    8.1: Coach invites client to state and/or explore his/her learning in the session about her/his situation (the what).
    8.2: Coach invites client to state and/or explore his/her learning in the session about her-/himself (the who).
    8.3: Coach shares what s/he is noticing about the client and /or the client’s situation, and seeks the client’s input or exploration.
    8.4: Coach invites client to consider how s/he will use new learning from the coaching.
    8.5: Coach’s questions, intuitions and observations have the potential to create new learning for the client. 

    Competency 9, 10 and 11: Designing Actions, Planning and Goal Setting, and Managing Progress and Accountability

    9.1: Coach invites or allows client to explore progress towards what s/he want to accomplish in the session.
    9.2: Coach assists the client to design what actions/thinking client will do after the session in order for the client to continue moving toward the client’s desired outcomes.
    9.3: Coach invites or allows client to consider her/his path forward, including, as appropriate, support mechanisms, resources and potential barriers.
    9.4: Coach assists the client to design the best methods of accountability for her/himself.
    9.5: Coach partners with the client to close the session.
    9.6: Coach notices and reflects client’s progress.

  • Updated Markers

    Competency 1: Demonstrates Ethical Practice

    Familiarity with the ICF Code of Ethics and its application is required for all levels of coaching. Successful PCC candidates will demonstrate coaching that is aligned with the ICF Code of Ethics and will remain consistent in the role of a coach.

    Competency 2: Embodies a Coaching Mindset

    Embodying a coaching mindset – a mindset that is open, curious, flexible and client-centered – is a process that requires ongoing learning and development, establishing a reflective practice and preparing for sessions. These elements take place over the course of a coach’s professional journey and cannot be fully captured in a single moment in time. However, certain elements of this Competency may be demonstrated within a coaching conversation. These particular behaviors are articulated and assessed through the following PCC Markers: 4.1, 4.3, 4.4, 5.1, 5.2, 5.3, 5.4, 6.1, 6.5, 7.1 and 7.5.

    As with other Competency areas, a minimum number of these markers will need to be demonstrated to pass the PCC performance evaluation. All elements of this Competency will also be evaluated in the written assessment for ICF Credentials (Coach Knowledge Assessment).

    Competency 3: Establishes and Maintains Agreements

    3.1: Coach partners with the client to identify or reconfirm what the client wants to accomplish in this session.
    3.2: Coach partners with the client to define or reconfirm measure(s) of success for what the client wants to accomplish in this session.
    3.3: Coach inquires about or explores what is important or meaningful to the client about what they want to accomplish in this session.
    3.4: Coach partners with the client to define what the client believes they need to address to achieve what they want to accomplish in this session.

    Competency 4: Cultivates Trust and Safety

    4.1: Coach acknowledges and respects the client’s unique talents, insights and work in the coaching process.
    4.2: Coach shows support, empathy or concern for the client.
    4.3: Coach acknowledges and supports the client’s expression of feelings, perceptions, concerns, beliefs or suggestions.
    4.4: Coach partners with the client by inviting the client to respond in any way to the coach’s contributions and accepts the client’s response.

    Competency 5: Maintains Presence

    5.1: Coach acts in response to the whole person of the client (the who).
    5.2: Coach acts in response to what the client wants to accomplish throughout this session (the what).
    5.3: Coach partners with the client by supporting the client to choose what happens in this session.
    5.4: Coach demonstrates curiosity to learn more about the client.
    5.5: Coach allows for silence, pause or reflection.

    Competency 6: Listens Actively

    6.1: Coach’s questions and observations are customized by using what the coach has learned about who the client is or the client’s situation.
    6.2: Coach inquires about or explores the words the client uses.
    6.3: Coach inquires about or explores the client’s emotions.
    6.4: Coach explores the client’s energy shifts, nonverbal cues or other behaviors.
    6.5: Coach inquires about or explores how the client currently perceives themself or their world.
    6.6: Coach allows the client to complete speaking without interrupting unless there is a stated coaching purpose to do so.
    6.7: Coach succinctly reflects or summarizes what the client communicated to ensure the client’s clarity and understanding.

    Competency 7: Evokes Awareness

    7.1: Coach asks questions about the client, such as their current way of thinking, feeling, values, needs, wants, beliefs or behavior.
    7.2: Coach asks questions to help the client explore beyond the client’s current thinking or feeling to new or expanded ways of thinking or feeling about themself (the who).
    7.3: Coach asks questions to help the client explore beyond the client’s current thinking or feeling to new or expanded ways of thinking or feeling about their situation (the what).
    7.4: Coach asks questions to help the client explore beyond current thinking, feeling or behaving toward the outcome the client desires.
    7.5: Coach shares—with no attachment—observations, intuitions, comments, thoughts or feelings, and invites the client’s exploration through verbal or tonal invitation.
    7.6: Coach asks clear, direct, primarily open-ended questions, one at a time, at a pace that allows for thinking, feeling or reflection by the client.
    7.7: Coach uses language that is generally clear and concise.
    7.8: Coach allows the client to do most of the talking.

    Competency 8: Facilitates Client Growth

    8.1: Coach invites or allows the client to explore progress toward what the client wanted to accomplish in this session.
    8.2: Coach invites the client to state or explore the client’s learning in this session about themself (the who).
    8.3: Coach invites the client to state or explore the client’s learning in this session about their situation (the what).
    8.4: Coach invites the client to consider how they will use new learning from this coaching session.
    8.5: Coach partners with the client to design post-session thinking, reflection or action.
    8.6: Coach partners with the client to consider how to move forward, including resources, support or potential barriers.
    8.7: Coach partners with the client to design the best methods of accountability for themself.
    8.8: Coach celebrates the client’s progress and learning.
    8.9: Coach partners with the client on how they want to complete this session.

Translations of Current PCC Markers

Translations of Updated PCC Markers

  • Arabic

    Download the Arabic translation of the updated PCC Markers below.

  • Danish

    This translation was produced by ICF Denmark. It is available for download from the chapter’s website, linked in the button below.

  • French

    Download the French translation of the updated PCC Markers below.

  • German

    Download the German translation of the updated PCC Markers below.

  • Hungarian

    This translation was produced by ICF Hungary. Download this translation below.

  • Italian

    This translation was produced by ICF Italy. It is available for download from the chapter’s website.

    Download the Italian translation of the Updated PCC Markers below.

  • Korean

    This translation was produced by ICF Korea. It is available for download from the chapter’s website, linked in the button below.

  • Portuguese

    Download the Portuguese translation of the updated PCC Markers below.

  • Russian

    This translation was produced by ICF Russia. Download the translation below.

  • Spanish

    Download the Spanish translation of the updated PCC Markers below.

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