The ICF competencies and the ICF markers are both frameworks used by ICF Accredited schools and the ICF itself to determine coaching proficiency. However, they serve different purposes and provide different levels of detail.

ICF Competencies

The ICF competencies outline the general skills and abilities required for professional coaching. These competencies provide a broad framework that guides coaches in their practice. They cover areas such as establishing trust, active listening, powerful questioning, and goal setting. The competencies are meant to be comprehensive and encompass the overall skills and behaviors expected of a professional coach.

ICF Markers

The ICF markers are specific indicators or descriptors within each competency that further elaborate on the expected behaviors and skills at different levels of coaching proficiency. The markers provide more granular guidance and help assessors evaluate a coach’s proficiency and skill level. They serve as benchmarks for determining whether a coach is performing at the ACC, PCC or MCC level.

The markers provide detailed descriptions of the behaviors, attitudes, and approaches that a coach should demonstrate to meet the expectations of the respective competency. For example, within the competency of “Active Listening,” the markers might include indicators such as “Demonstrates attentive and non-distracted listening,” “Summarizes and reflects accurately,” or “Tunes in to the client’s emotions and underlying messages.”