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Updated ICF Core Competencies

Published on 1/6/2020

Updated ICF Core Competencies

By Dina Markind, PCC, ICF-CT Education Liaison 

Over the last two years the ICF has been involved with ensuring that the core competencies for coaches reflect what coaches do and the qualities which professional coaches must exhibit. Every five to seven years, it is considered to be a good practice for credentialing agencies to review and update the competencies associated with their professions. 

The updated ICF core competencies reflect the evolution of the profession over the last decade and standards for today. They include what came before, have some new emphases and have been written in a more active and concise manner that is more culturally sensitive. The core competencies have gone from 11 down to 8 competencies, and from over 1,500 words to just over 1,100 words. To learn more about the process of this update, visit lower on the page there is an informative article and video. Some of the people who took part in the process speak in this video.  

Below the video is a link to the updated ICF Core Competency Model. 

The first two core competencies focus on the BEING of the coach and the latter six are more about the doing, skills of coaching. In the analysis that led to the revisions, ethical behavior and confidentiality were seen as paramount themes that professional coaches value and reflect. "Demonstrates Ethical Practice" is the first ICF Core Competency. The new ICF code of Ethics is available here. This is being implemented as of January 1, 2020.

The second ICF core competency is “Embodies a Coaching Mindset.” This is new and includes 
  • Engages in ongoing learning and development
  • Appreciates client autonomy
  • Develops a reflective practice to improve one’s self and coaching 
The latter 6 core competencies are variations of what was in the earlier core competencies model the ICF has been using. Several core competencies have been rolled into 7. Evoke Awareness and 8. Facilitates Client Growth. 

For a full look at the revised ICF core competencies visit and scroll down to the link for Updated Model.