Have you seen the new Team Coaching Competencies by the ICF? Recently, I was mentoring a coach for their ICF credential and they hadn’t seen the ICF Team Coaching Competences, so today on the journal I wanted to share them.


What is Team Coaching?

As I am currently credentialed with the ICF, I am going to be referring to team coaching in relation to the ICF Team Coaching Competencies. The ICF defines Team Coaching as –

“partnering in a co-creative and reflective process with a team and its dynamics and relationships in a way that inspires them to maximize their abilities and potential in order to reach their common purpose and shared goals.”

It is important to also note, that team coaching is different from team mentoring and team consulting. Yes there is some overlap between each of these areas, however there is also some key differences. Our focus for this article is team coaching 🙂


What is the Intention Behind the ICF Team Coaching Competencies?

As I see it, the team coaching competencies have been created to support team coach practitioners serve and support their clients. However, as I do not work for the ICF it is important to refer to them and they indicate

“The ICF Team Coaching Competencies support a team coach practitioner in understanding the distinct knowledge, skills, and tasks required for working with teams. At the core of this practice, however, remains the ICF Core Competencies, which provide the foundation for all coaching practice.”


The Similarities and Differences Between the ICF Core Competencies and the ICF Team Coaching Competencies

The main difference between the ICF Core Competencies and the ICF Team Coaching Competencies is the nature of the client. In the ICF Core Competencies, the term “client” mainly refers to an individual. However, with the ICF Team Coaching Competencies, the “client” is a team as a single entity, comprising more than one individuals. Subsequently, the language of the competencies vary as follows –

Competency 1: Demonstrates Ethical Practice

Definition: Understands and consistently applies coaching ethics and standards of coaching.

  • Coaches the client team as a single entity,
  • Maintains the distinction between team coaching, team building, team training, team consulting, team mentoring, team facilitation, and other team development modalities,
  • Demonstrates the knowledge and skill needed to practice the specific blend of team development modalities that are being offered,
  • Adopts more directive team development modalities only when needed to help the team achieve their goals, and
  • Maintains trust, transparency, and clarity when fulfilling multiple roles related to team coaching.

Competency 2: Embodies a Coaching Mindset

Definition: Develops and maintains a mindset that is open, curious, flexible and client-centered.

  • Engages in coaching supervision for support, development, and accountability when needed, and
  • Remains objective and aware of team dynamics and patterns.

Competency 3: Establishes and Maintains Agreements

Definition: Partners with the client and relevant stakeholders to create clear agreements about the coaching relationship, process, plans and goals. Establishes agreements for the overall coaching engagement as well as those for each coaching session.

  • Explains what team coaching is and is not, including how it differs from other team development modalities,
  • Partners with all relevant parties, including the team leader, team members, stakeholders, and any co-coaches to collaboratively create clear agreements about the coaching relationship, processes, plans, development modalities, and goals, and
  • Partners with the team leader to determine how ownership of the coaching process will be shared among the coach, leader, and team.

Competency 4: Cultivates Trust and Safety

Definition: Partners with the client to create a safe, supportive environment that allows the client to share freely. Maintains a relationship of mutual respect and trust.

  • Creates and maintains a safe space for open and honest team member interaction,
  • Promotes the team viewing itself as a single entity with a common identity,
  • Fosters expression of individual team members’ and the collective team’s feelings, perceptions, concerns, beliefs, hopes, and suggestions,
  • Encourages participation and contribution by all team members,
  • Partners with the team to develop, maintain, and reflect on team rules and norms,
  • Promotes effective communication within the team, and
  • Partners with the team to identify and resolve internal conflict.

Competency 5: Maintains Presence

Definition: Is fully conscious and present with the client, employing a style that is open, flexible, grounded and confident.

  • Uses one’s full range of sensory and perceptual abilities to focus on what is important to the coaching process,
  • Uses a co-coach when agreed to by the team and sponsors and when doing so will allow the team coach to be more present in the team coaching session,
  • Encourages team members to pause and reflect how they are interacting in team coaching sessions, and
  • Moves in and out of the team dialogue as appropriate.

Competency 6: Listens Actively

Definition: Focuses on what the client is and is not saying to fully understand what is being communicated in the context of the client systems and to support client self-expression.

  • Notices how the perspectives shared by each team member relate to other team members’ views and the team dialogue,
  • Notices how each team member impacts the collective team energy, engagement, and focus,
  • Notices verbal and non-verbal communication patterns among team members to identify potential alliances, conflicts, and growth opportunities,
  • Models confident, effective communication and collaboration when working with a co-coach or other experts, and
  • Encourages the team to own the dialogue.


Competency 7: Evokes Awareness

Definition: Facilitates client insight and learning by using tools and techniques such as powerful questioning, silence, metaphor or analogy.

  • Challenges the team’s assumptions, behaviours, and meaning-making processes to enhance their collective awareness or insight, and
  • Uses questions and other techniques to foster team development and facilitate the team’s ownership of their collective dialogue.


Competency 8: Facilitates Client Growth

Definition: Partners with the client to transform learning and insight into action. Promotes client autonomy in the coaching process.

  • Encourages dialogue and reflection to help the team identify their goals and the steps to achieve those goals.


Over to You…

I hope that has given you some insight in to the ICF Team Coaching Competencies. If you would like to read more about them, please go to the ICF website here or if you are interested in ICF Mentoring, please contact me here. Also – any questions, please ask them below 🙂

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