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Qualifying Marker #2: Creating Trust & Intimacy

This marker, also part of the ICF’s core competencies, is based on whether or not the coach connects with the client on a deep level. This involves exploring feelings and offering support to a client based on the coaching relationship and creating intimacy within this relationship.

Does the coach acknowledge and respect the client’s work in the coaching process?

This marker checks whether a coach respects the effort that the client has put in to meet the challenges of their situation. It also asks whether a coach empowers the client by posing questions based on a trusted acknowledgment that the client knows the best possible solution to the problem. It is an acknowledgment that the client does most of the work in a coaching session, and a coach’s job is merely to facilitate a deeper understanding and provoke insight.

Does the coach express support for the client?

This marker asks the simple question: does the coach champion and cheer on the client? Acknowledgment and championing are extremely powerful. The ICF wants to see a coach acknowledging the work that the client has already put into a situation and expressing support for the action steps that the client has taken.

Does the coach encourage the client to express themselves fully?

Coaches often pick up on the emotions clients are holding. This marker checks whether or not a coach follows up with questions exploring that emotion. It could be as simple as, “I sense there’s a lot of emotion here. What are you feeling?” The important point is to be empathetic, mindful, and compassionate with your client’s feelings, encouraging them to express that emotion fully.

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