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Heart Coach Institute

Heart Coach Institute Director of Education

Gaye Kuelsen, PCC • October 11, 2022 • 7 Minute Read

Facilitating Client Growth

You may be aware that the ICF recently announced that from 1st August 2022, any new applications for the ACC, PCC, and MCC will be assessed using the updated application pathways. As we move closer to using the Updated ICF Core Competencies model, this month we will focus on the eighth competency:

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

1.Works with the client to integrate new awareness, insight or learning into their worldview and behaviour’s

This final competency, usually is part of the final segment of the coaching session as your client starts thinking about what action may be useful for them.  However, your client may also experience shifts during the session that supports their growth.  Depending of the length of the session, it is sometimes uncertain when to switch from the exploration and reflection stage into changing the client’s focus towards action.  One simple question that can seamlessly guide the client into action is – Thinking about our conversation today, what are you now inspired to do?  This question prompts the client to consider what actions they can take built upon their new learnings and insights.  

Why is this so important?  Because knowledge without application is useless.  Knowledge when applied, or acted upon by our client, becomes wisdom, which empowers them to make the changes they wish to see in their lives.

2. Partners with the client to design goals, actions and accountability measures that integrate and expand new learning 

Many of us learn by doing, and so do our clients.  The actions that our clients commit to enable them to implement their new knowledge, which can also lead to further insights and learning for them between sessions.  For those coaches who love structure, then using the SMART formula will help your clients create robust goals.  Then further exploration of the goal will enable you to partner with your client to create the action steps towards the achievement of their goal.

Coaches are often referred to as accountability partners, in which we can help our clients stay focussed and on track to achieve their outcomes.  Providing this accountability to new clients, or those who are unfamiliar to coaching, is useful in the early stages of your coaching relationship.  The ultimate aim is to encourage clients to be self-accountable.  Some ways to facilitate self-accountability is to support the client to create a plan of action, to find attractive rewards, encourage them to celebrate small wins, and to share their plans with other people.  These commemorations combine to build their bridge towards success and achievement.

3. Acknowledges and supports client autonomy in the design of goals, actions and methods of accountability 

Nothing beats external validation than internal validation.  As coaches we can all highlight the positive changes and improvements that our clients have generated. Reflecting on past achievements, is an ideal opportunity for clients to acknowledge their own efforts, growth and achievements.  Success inspires Success.  In this way, focusing on progress so far, will inspire and motivate our client to continue with their journey of change.  Fostering this intrinsic motivation will create a greater sense of autonomy for our client, and strengthen their self-accountability.

4. Supports the client in identifying potential results or learning from identified action steps 

It is important that as a coach we understand the difference between being a helpful partner and a useful partner.  If you have held a previous role where you were expected to know the answers or solve the problems then you were a helpful partner.  As a useful partner, we support our clients to find their own answers and solutions.  When we share an observation we notice about our client, or be curious about potential connections, we open the door for our clients to see a new perspective and deepen their learning.  Avoiding the temptation to consult or advise our clients is the finest way we can best serve our clients.

5. Invites the client to consider how to move forward, including resources, support and potential barriers 

During this part of the coaching conversation, I separate out these three elements, and by doing so, it creates a solid foundation for the client’s actions.  Maintaining curiosity helps me step the client through to uncover what resources they have available to them to tap into.  Asking about support, will help the client think of people who they can reach out to if needed. Then talking through potential barriers, does involve a couple of stages.  First to identify the obstacles or challenges the client may face, then explore how to mitigate them, which gives the client the confidence and knowledge to keep going towards success.

6. Partners with the client to summarize learning and insight within or between sessions 

Knowledge is better integrated through reinforcement and repetition.  So, don’t take this golden opportunity from your client!  At the end of the session, ask them to summarise what they have learnt, about their topic and about themselves.  With such great ideas and insights, ask the client how they will capture this information, and offer to pause if they need to take notes.  This process blends well into their sense of autonomy and self-accountability. 

7. Celebrates the client’s progress and successes 

We all love a celebration, and for great reason.  Taking the time to celebrate allows our client to focus on their current progress and success.  Engaging in the sheer enjoyment of this accolade, allows our client to step away from the work, and reduce their stress levels.  It also opens the opportunity to express their gratitude which in turn leads to greater happiness.  Encouraging our client to share their celebration with others, adds another layer of recognition to their achievement. As social beings, this further intensifies the experience of pleasure and delight. Cheers! 

8. Partners with the client to close the session 

We are aware of asking permission from the client, during the session so the client chooses the direction for the coaching conversation.  I feel this is just as important, that we seek the same permission when it is time to end the session.  With just a few minutes left, one question I’d avoid is – Do you want to talk about anything else today?  This could open up a brand-new topic that time does not permit to explore.

A more subtle approach is to invite your client to share – What would you like to say as the final word for today’s session?

The end of year is fast approaching, and is your credential due soon for renewal? If you need mentoring support now or in the future, then please reach out and connect.

Sharing these mentoring moments with you,


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