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Planning for the Coach Federation's CKA

August 09, 2017 by John Andrew Williams

Planning for the Coach Federation's CKA

“How do you pass the Coach Knowledge Assessment (CKA)?”

Focusing on helping people get started as coaches, many of our student-coaches ask about the International Coach Federation’s Coach Knowledge Assessment (CKA). While there are paid-for classes out there on the internet we believe your training and personal effort will serve you well.

I wanted to write this article to pass on some of my own experience preparing for the test while connecting coaches-in-training with plenty of outside resources as well. Below are 4 actions to take to conquer the ICF Coach Knowledge Assessment!

Ask Your Teachers: Rely on Your Training and Mentor Coaching

This should not come as a big surprise to anyone. Your core foundation for preparing for all things ICF comes from ICF certified courses. These courses have to go through a rigorous process of review to make sure they qualify for the International Coach Federation’s stamp of approval. Here are some things to remember:

Review the basics at least 3 times:

  1. As you go through the content in your class.
  2. As you are wrapping up your training.
  3. As you are preparing for the CKA.

You will notice that each time you go through the basics of coaching you will recognize things you hadn’t noticed before.

  • As you go through your ICF certified training course, make sure to distinguish between basic coaching skills, general coaching tools and niche-specific tools. The ICF will not be asking about ACME Coaching’s 50-Point Procrastination Intelligence Scale™. However, they will be asking questions about how to use tools while staying in the position of partner with the client
  • Build some flashcards from the material focusing. This means you should focus on the definitions of concepts. However, the meaning and application of those concepts is also just as important (as we stress in our Academic Life Coaching model of “What, Why, How“).
  • Make sure to work with a mentor coach or group mentor coaching program that emphasizes the ICF’s Core Competencies. Your mentor coach should help you take those basics and apply them well. This makes answering questions on the Coach Knowledge Assessment more natural.

Ask the Testers: Rely on Published ICF Content

For my own preparation, I created a spreadsheet database of questions related to the International Coach Federation’s Core Competencies – Riveting! To build it, I pulled information together from my own coach training and the materials listed on these pages:

By far, the Competencies Comparison Table was the most valuable. It really is like looking behind the curtain. As you look at the Comparison Table, make sure to consider how the ICF expects coaches to grow from ACC to MCC. Their questions lean more towards PCC and MCC performance. This means you should focus on recognizing the differences between an ACC coach and PCC-MCC coaches.

Ask Your Classmates: Rely on ICF Certified Coaches about the CKA

With this article, I didn’t want to reinvent the wheel. Other coaches have contributed their own insights to preparing for the CKA. These coaches act as your fellow classmates in this journey, so see some of these links as you consider your next steps:

Finally, keep in mind that the ICF is interested in helping coaches succeed in their businesses. This means that they will expect you to know various professional and contractual questions.

If you are not familiar with these ideas, then make sure to take some times to research these topics. Also, consider asking some experienced coaches about how coaching contracts and arrangements work.

Go for It! – Take the CKA

Finally, once you have done the work of preparing for the test, give it your best shot. Do all those things you learned in school about preparing for tests:

  • Take time to prepare mentally.
  • Set up a good space for your test.
  • Pace yourself well with the questions.
  • Plan a suitable celebration as you complete another step in your journey to launching your coaching career!

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