Can a coach share the coach’s thinking, opinions, observations?

quality coaching Dec 20, 2020
Giuseppe Totino MCC ICF Experienced Credentialing Mentor Coach - Can a coach share the coach’s thinking, opinions, observations?

Why is this important? 

To show competence in several ICF Coaching Core Competencies. Our focus for this blog post is on the Core Competency 7:11.


In brief:

Yes, a coach can, and a coach should share thinking, opinions, feelings, and any observation that the coach has during a coaching conversation.



You may have heard that a coach’s role is never to share their thinking and to rather only, or primarily, ask questions. This assertion does not align with what the ICF Core Competencies provide, and in a series of blog posts, we will explain the several components of this crucial coaching skill.



Thus, can a coach share freely? Or are there limitations on how much a coach can share? What restrictions are there for a coach that intends to share something?

 The ICF Core Competency 7.11 provides explicitly that a coach can contribute to a coaching conversation with their observations, insights, feelings, thoughts, etc. Indeed, the literal reading of this competency is “[coach] Shares observations, insights, and feelings…”. Furthermore, the higher the coach’s experience and the credentialing level, the more a coach should be fluent in these skills. There will be increasing emerging elements from a coaching conversation that the coach could consider to contribute to the coach’s clients’ growth for a skilled, observant, and empathetic coach.

The ICF Minimum skills requirements for this competence (that are still current at the time of writing) expressly provide:

  • For the ACC Coach: The coach is direct at times throughout the session, and the communication attends to the client’s agenda.
  • For the PCC Coach: (2020 PCC Markers): Coach shares intuitions, comments, thoughts, or feelings.
  • For the MCC Coach: The coach shares directly and simply, and frequently.

The emphasis is mine to show how expansive this skill is as the level of experience grows. It also reflects the differing level of evidence an ICF Assessor expects to collect when assessing this area of competence.

Having established that a coach can share observations, feelings, thoughts, insights, etc., are there limitations to this behavior? What are sone best ways to communicate in a coaching conversation that would show competence in this competency area? We will explore these questions in the next blog post.

Reference Material: 2019 ICF Core Competencies, 2020 PCC Markers, ICF Minimum Skills Requirements


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