What should a client expect from a professional coaching process?




As a professional coach, it is our duty to communicate and share a clear definition of coaching.  We are currently facing the challenge that coaching is in the early stages of developing and embracing regulation. There are currently many people selling coaching, but not necessarily practicing it as it should be practiced.  Lately, many conversations have been developing with several intersecting perspectives and experiences, and this has created different interesting points of view to explore.  However, it has created different expectations around coaching that are not necessarily accurate.   The objective of this article is to share a definition and explanation of coaching, in order to clarify what someone can expect from a process with a professional coach.  So, if they decide to engage in a coaching process they will know precisely what to expect.


What is coaching?

According to the International Coaching Federation (ICF), coaching is defined as partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential. I personally define the coach as a strategic partner that empowers the coachee / client. This is accomplished through a collaborative relationship where the coach helps the client find the resources within themselves to solve their own problems.  The coach helps their client clarify what goals they want to accomplish and through profound questions, they empower them to explore options and effectively make decisions.

The ICF stipulates 11 key competences which must be demonstrated and developed by a professional coach. These 11 competences are divided into 4 categories, which do not represent their priority or hierarchical level.


4 Categories of Key Competencies

  • Lay the foundation


  • Create a relationship together


  • Effective communication


  • Facilitate learning and results


During a professional coaching process the following 11 competencies are key to a successful process.  The coach is responsible for the following:


  1. Ethics and professional standards

Demonstrate high levels of ethics and standards. The coach does not tell a client what to do and the conversation is based on what will happen, in other words, the conversation is oriented toward the future.


  1. Coaching agreement

Establishes the coaching agreement. This is the agreement or agreements for the work sessions. Which includes, what the client wants to work on, and ensures mutual expectations have been established on both sides (between the coach and coachee).


  1. Establish trust and intimacy with the client

The coach has shown the ability to create a safe and supportive environment that favors mutual respect and trust.


  1. Presence of coaching

The coach displays the ability to be fully conscious (i.g. in the present) and generate a spontaneous relationship with the client using an open, flexible and trustworthy style.


  1. Active listening

The coach demonstrates the ability to focus completely on what the client is saying and what she is not saying, understands the meaning of what she wants to say, and supports her in expressing herself.


  1. Ask powerful questions

The coach demonstrates the ability to ask powerful questions, to take the client out of his comfort zone, to help him reflect,  and to support him so he can get the maximum value out of the  coaching relationship.


  1. Shows and carries out direct communication

The coach demonstrates the ability to communicate effectively during her coaching session and uses the language that will have the greatest possible positive impact on the client.


  1. Create awareness

The coach demonstrates the ability to help the client evaluate different possibilities, opportunities, challenges, and interpretations so she can generate awareness within the her in order to help her decide what to do to achieve her results.


  1. Support to design actions

The coach demonstrates the ability to create opportunities for continuous learning with the client, both during coaching and in situations of life or work. The actions that remain pending after the session are completely clear and make sense to him.


  1. Planning and setting objectives

The coach has the competence to develop and maintain an effective coaching plan with the client.


  1. Management of progress and responsibility

The coach has the competence to pay attention to what is important to the client and makes sure that the responsibility to act remains with the client.

Then I share the link where you can see the full article:


11 key competences of the coach

The coaching profession is in the process of becoming regulated and the ICF plays a key role now, with self-regulation being the gold standard of coaching (i.e. regulation is not enforced). Today, anyone can claim they are a coach, therefore, it is important to know what training they have received and the extent of the preparation they took to become a coach.  One way to ensure that a coaching training program meets rigorous standards, is to check if the coaching certification program confirmed by the ICF (ICF validates coaching certifications). Since all of us who are endorsed by the ICF align ourselves with the 11 competences and a code of ethics.


An ICF certified coaching process will maximize the client’s results, especially when the client finds the right coach.  When hiring a coach take the following into account:

  • Investigate and learn more about coaching and what variables are best for your current situation.


  • Define the objective of coaching with an exploratory coaching session; this will help you to define if coaching is what you want and if itis right for you.


  • Seek a second opinion. Repeat #2 with more than one coach.


  • Make sure the coach has training and certification in specific coaching skills (we recommend finding an ICF certified coach).


If you have any questions, it will be my pleasure to add my personal insight into the world of coaching and to talk more about the coaching process.


Diego Leal

Certified Coach Profesional / Business Developer