ICF Core Competencies 7: Evokes Awareness

evoking awareness icf competency 7 icf core competencies icf evokes awareness Feb 22, 2024
evokes awareness - single lit lightbulb among many

Competency 7 of ICF Core Competencies is:

"Evokes Awareness facilitates client insight and learning by using tools and techniques such as powerful questioning, silence, metaphor or analogy."

While all the competencies have equal standing, Evoking Awareness can be a powerful and transformative element of coaching conversations. That new thinking, fresh perspective or sudden insight can really shift things for people.

How we help evoke awareness as coaches will depend on the coaches / people we are, and the conversations we are having, and of course who we are having them with.

As coaches we should all be facilitating equitable conversations (this underpins our training at Stellar Conversations). So as coaches we consider the person we are in conversation with and their unique experience when deciding what might be useful for them.

We can help evoke awareness in different ways.

We might challenge a coaching partner, again how we do this will depend on how we coach and the needs of our coaching partner. Or we might ask questions about their way of thinking, their values, their needs, or their wants and beliefs. “Whose belief is that?” was a question I was asked in a coaching session, that opened up a whole new perspective for me.

Or maybe we don’t say anything at all.

Silence is a powerful coaching tool and when used well can help evoke awareness and new thinking. This week whilst mentor coaching, I observed a coach say very little but hold the space powerfully, where the thinker asked themselves a question that evoked new insight.

We can also ask questions that help thinkers explore beyond their current thinking. The hypothetical “what ifs” or the outcome focused “how might that be?” These kinds of questions can help people move from stuckness or out of the problem and support fresh thinking. Remember as coaches we can disrupt old thinking and thinking patterns that are holding people back.

Another thing I heard this week in a mentor session was a powerful reframe from a coach in training. They were curious about the use of a word the thinker was using, and by exploring how else they might describe something, the thinker saw things differently and was empowered in the process. As coaches we can lean into the competencies and evoke awareness as we are starting out in training and practicing our newly learned skills. It’s not just for seasoned coaches.

At Stellar Conversations we teach the frequent use of “check ins” and encourage our coaches to pepper their conversations with these. They might sound like “what are you noticing?” “What comes up when you think about this?” “What are you learning?” “What’s new?”

Checking in helps evoke awareness and facilitates growth (more about that later!)

As coaches we can also support thinkers to identify factors that are influencing their current and future patterns of behaviour, thinking or emotions. We can remain curious here, remembering our coaching mindset from Competency 2, and being open, flexible, curious and thinker led. “What might be influencing this?” “What are you assuming here?” are questions I might ask.

Remember we can also share observations, insights and feelings. We don’t do this as truth but with curiosity, without attachment. These sharings or observations can support new thinking and awareness for thinking partners.