Coaching with POSITIVITY! In life, at work, with teams.

Journey through the Labyrinth of the ICF Credentialing Exam

August 26, 2023 Angelos Derlopas
Coaching with POSITIVITY! In life, at work, with teams.
Journey through the Labyrinth of the ICF Credentialing Exam
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Get set for a deep dive into the intricate labyrinth that is the ICF credentialing exam process, a significant milestone for every coach. Guiding us through this complex journey is Jenny Andrukaki, who recently earned her PCC credential. With her fresh insights and valuable experiences, she unravels the nuances of this challenging exam. You'll learn all about the essential components, from the new stringent requirements to the ICF code of ethics. 

The meat of our discussion revolves around the intriguing scenarios presented in the credentialing exam. Jenny and I dissect the language used in the answers and their color codes, driving home the importance of understanding the coaching competencies. We also offer tips on how to stay in your comfort zone, be proactive, and prepare well for the exam day. You'll get some terrific exam day strategies, such as taking breaks, eating lightly, and most importantly, celebrating once the test is done.

As we round off our chat, we switch gears to the technical side of the exam. Jenny imparts some useful advice regarding the upgraded security system and the proctoring experiences. Whether you're taking the test in an exam center or remotely, we've got you covered with the information you need. We wrap up with an exploration of the ICF credentialing exam's importance in bolstering the credibility of the coaching profession. This episode is a treasure trove of knowledge for anyone preparing for their ICF credentialing exam or for those keen on understanding the process in more depth. Tune in and power boost your ICF exam prep!

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Speaker 1:

Hello everyone, this is Angelos Trolokos, and today we have with us Jenny Andrukaki, who has just got her PCC credential with ICF and had recently the experience with the new ICF credentialing exam. So first of all, welcome, jenny, and congratulations for your PCC.

Speaker 2:

Thank you. Thank you so much, Angelos, and yeah, okay, the exam was quite an experience. I should say yeah.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I figure, and I can only relate with a little bit similar experience I had last year with the team coaching credentialing exam, but it's not the same. So I think, since you have this experience and it's quite recent I think it will be for the benefit of our viewers if you share your insights and tips and tricks. You know, and which is one of the things that made you successful, of course and your long understanding, insights and experience with coaching for so many years, but, however, understanding how to navigate the serious, strict requirements, new requirements of the ICF credentialing exam. I think this will be very beneficial for our viewers. So would you like to share a little bit of your wisdom on that?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, wisdom or experience, maybe. Yeah, I think, maybe that's the right term for me. Okay, so yes, as I said, it was quite an experience and it was a bit different from the CGA in its essence and its procedures. I think I have prepared a presentation. Maybe it could help us. So may I start sharing my presentation.

Speaker 1:

Yes, I think that would be wonderful.

Speaker 2:

Okay, so we have some issues.

Speaker 1:

Yes, let's add this visual aid for the to make things more easily. To easy to understand.

Speaker 2:

Here it is, so let's go about the new ICF credentialing exam. It's not so new now. I think it's okay in August, it's all, it's a year. Okay, let's start on. How do we get there, where, when we have the chance to pass the exam? Okay, okay, I will be short in that Of course, we have to complete our ICF accredited training hours. Either this is portfolio or ACST, age hours or level one, two or the ACTP it's 60 hours for ACC and 125 hours for PCC. We need to complete our practice hours 100 hours for ACC and 500 hours for PCC and we need to have our sessions approved, recording sessions approved, one recording recorded section for ACC and two for PCC. And this is done either by ICF if we go with portfolio or ACTSH, or if we go with level one, level two or ACTP, it's done by our school and the approval. So then the process is a bit smoother.

Speaker 1:

And, of course, do you want to add something here? I think it's quite easy to understand and explain for everybody so they can look at all the details you have included here. I think that's very helpful. Thank you, jin, go on.

Speaker 2:

Okay, then it's our okay. We need to apply and we need to pay, of course, for our application Again. If somebody is an ICF member, that saves them $150. If we go with the diploma of level one or two, this saves us about $200. And after our application we wait for approval Again the level one and level two diplomas because they come with the sessions approved. They make us wait for four weeks only. If we don't go with that, then we need to wait up to 14 weeks because the ICF needs also to look through our transcripts and recordings and approve.

Speaker 1:

Yeah through the assessment process and as they follow a regular process with different assessors, and then they'll try to find it if their assessments are closed. If not, they might want to engage the third assessor and that might take time. Yeah you actually have to keep it that in mind that assessors are ICF members who are volunteering, in essence, into that process. So that means that they are not stuff, they are not ICF stuff, so it's not their full job, so it's something that they're doing on the side out of their goodness, of their heart.

Speaker 2:

Hopefully good. So after all these good people have approved our our sessions, okay, finally, we get an email that we can finally proceed with scheduling our exam, and then we can schedule it within the following 60 days. Once we schedule it, we get an appointment confirmation and guidelines, which are really important, and we should read them carefully because they give us a lot of hints for going further.

Speaker 1:

Yes, I think this is one of the main things that have changed the guidelines and what you need to do. Would you like to tell us more? I think that you have prepared more on that.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, okay, first, before I tell you all the practical guidelines I think I have here, okay, what we need to really prepare for the exam. And, okay, we need to study the coaching competencies of ICF, the ICF code of ethics, pay attention to the interpretive statements and the frequently asked questions. Okay, the values of ICF, the coaching definition of ICF. Of course, all this we know already, if we are at that point because we have been trained in this. But we can, okay, we can review them. It can be useful and, of course, have a look at the eight indicative scenarios with their answers, which is provided by ICF on the ICF website, and because they give us a good view of what we expect, we need to expect in the real exam. And, of course, we can use we should use our knowledge and experience and our learnings from our discussions with our mental codes or our supervisor. This is so useful. Let's go to the technical issues, which are a bit important here, because they have changed a little bit from the CKA and there is an upgraded security system which actually ensures the reliability of our accreditation. It's quite important and we will talk a bit more about it and, by the way, we need also to know that the examination is last three hours for the English speakers and the non-English speakers have one additional hour of examination as an accommodation, so in total four hours. We need to know that there's only one five minutes break in the middle of the exam.

Speaker 1:

So you better prepare that there will be only a five minute break, and so to do what you need to do, whatever it is that you need to do in order to be able to go through that process. I think, jenny, the most important thing that the little bit unsettling thing here in that process is for a lot of people, for a lot of college that are going through this new ICF credential in exam, are the technical issues and the requirements, which are sometimes feel a little bit awkward. You made a good point that it's an upgraded security system that's been designed to ensure the reliability of the accreditation. So it is good to keep that in mind on the one hand, but on the other hand, I think you should be prepared for something, for a process that's very rigorous, might make you feel uncomfortable because you will be constantly monitored, and but I think you will share all these things information and tips with our audience. So let me interrupt you. Please go on.

Speaker 2:

Okay if we pass the exam in an exam center? Okay, this is more straightforward because we don't have to worry so much about the security measures. The exam center takes care of that and so all our personal belongings go in a locker and then there is an on-site test proctor and site supervisor for the exam. So we don't need to do anything ourselves, just prepare for the exam and go to the center. And okay, there are no centers everywhere. I understand now the XCF has more exam centers, as I saw at the update they sent us, so this is serving more people. But if you go for passing the exam remotely, then you have to take care of the technical issues. So there you have to understand that there will be an online doctor that is who's watching you through your camera and they will ask you to have your camera on and through the whole exam so they can watch you. And you need to stay on your desk and before starting and you need to clean your desk, you need to clean your room and that means nothing on the desk but your PC, not even a second screen, just on screen and nothing on the walls. And your PC should be free of whatever app. And of course, there are some instructions again on the system test that you can pass, and first you, if you want, you, pass it before the exam. Before you go into the checking, check in so that types you, and then when you go to check in, you pass it again. You're sure that everything is well. So, before beginning the test, you go into the check-in, and this is 30 minutes before the scheduled appointment. All of this is on the guidelines they sent you with the mail. Don't worry, you'll have to remember everything, just to remind what you need to go through. So, yes, there's a system test, as I said, they suggest that you do it also before the check-in, but when you go to check-in, there's a system test of your computer. There is the confirmation of your identity, of the identity of the examini, and that means that you need to take a picture of your password or your ID, and a selfie and some pictures around the office. And then, okay, we send everything through an application, they send us on our mobile, and then they approve or they tell you to make some corrections. That's about the rule and about us personally. I think through artificial intelligence, they check if we are the same person that appears on the ID card.

Speaker 1:

So it sounds like you're going through the similar process, like you're starting a new account on a banking with a new electronic bank or some sort of thing. All these technologies and, okay, the selfie.

Speaker 2:

It is uncalled for, as you said, but okay, once you think more about it, it's essential some way.

Speaker 1:

I agree it's essential. It's not very strange to the things that we do. Everybody knows what a selfie is and probably we have already tens of hundreds perhaps of selfies so far, but we need to keep in mind that we have to go through some kind of process, and that's for the reason to verify that we are the persons that are undertaking the exam and not someone else. So I think that it helps, as you said, Jenny, earlier, to upgrade the security system on the one hand and on the other hand, it upgrades the reliability of the whole credential. Am I right?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah, so once we think about it, then okay it's also for us.

Speaker 1:

You sound very enthusiastic.

Speaker 2:

Okay, I was not, it was uncalled for them. And then I mean and I had to be very patient also with the instructions they told me okay, clean your desk, but it's clean. Okay, there was a long line phone on it. Oh, no, take it off, Take it away or put your mobile aside, but, okay, not very far, because we might call you, but it needs to be out of reach of your hands and all that. Okay, at some point I said yes, yes, yes, and everything was settled finally. And then I was, and everybody goes at the end at the queue. Yes, we wait at the small queue to start. It can be a bit bigger or a bit smaller. Okay, I didn't have to wait so much about that, maybe five minutes or so. And here I think we have to keep in mind don't worry if you see that the time has passed and so you should have already started with your exam according to the schedule. Once you are at the queue, don't worry, you just go in. And when you go in, then you're three or four hours start. So, don't worry about that. And then we start. So what is the exam? Okay, let's go to the exam itself. Okay, the exam consists of 81 scenarios with four options. We need to choose the best and the worst answer and fortunately they count separately. So that means that if you miss one, the other one counts. So that's good, and usually there are two good and two bad answers. So you have to choose between the two good and you have to choose the best and between the two bad, the worst. But pay attention, it's not always the case. There might be some questions that there will be three good and one bad. So, okay, just pay attention, that's really doesn't apply always. There are exceptions and, okay, there is a drag and drop system, so you just pick with your mouse the good one, the best one, the box, etc. So let's talk a little bit about the essence of the test. The scenarios are quite realistic, so that means that you might find some scenarios. I mean that you have found them in real life with your clients and you have been there and you had to choose really what you as coach should do, because that's that's the question, what the coach should do, and so, yes, that's very interesting. I found them quite instructive actually. And then they are. I mean, they usually examine just one coaching competence or one code of ethics. There's no order there. They try to be a little bit fair in what comes to coaching competencies. So so much percentage for this scope coaching competence. So much for that. So much for that. I think you shouldn't worry so much about this. Okay, I see, of course about that. So we are examining the knowledge coaching competencies equally somehow. But pay attention to the fundamental ICF coaching principles and I saw them a lot in the exam that the clients should be at the center of the session and not the coaches. So the clients choose what they want in the session. There must be transparency. Part of the coaches, mainly matters of ethics and values, and now directive questions, just curiosity. And actually we invite the customers to choose. We don't recommend solutions. And as coaches we should be self-aware and aware of our conscience and our console bias. It's self-evident somehow, but it's quite essential to remember, I think. Also, when you pass the exam, I go on, I can listen. You don't want to comment anything on that?

Speaker 1:

No, I think that's you are explaining everything very well. So, yeah, why don't we go on and see, yeah, yeah.

Speaker 2:

Okay, some hints and tips for the correct answers. Okay, for sure, we know the coaching competencies and the code of ethics, as long as our training is accredited by SCF, which is. And if in doubt, we ask ourselves what would our mentors say here? Actually, I was asking myself what would Angelos say here, because he's been my mentor and she contributed to my success and thank you for that, angelos.

Speaker 1:

Thank you.

Speaker 2:

And we use what we know, so our knowledge and our judgments, because as coaches we have over 100 hours of practice at least, and we should pay attention not only to the words but also to their deeper meaning, because I have heard that ICF prefers words like invite or ask. They don't prefer words like tell or suggest. Yes, but please look into the deeper meaning and the context in the scenario, because that might change the meaning. And here, okay, I got two indicative scenarios from the ICF website and maybe we can see a little bit through that, angelos. And what is them? I mean, what is the reason, one is the best and one is the worst action, as it's said. So this scenario is about a coach who meets a new client and they arrange how to start their coaching sessions and the client starts a new business and actually the coach, at least here in the name of the new business, understands that the coach is an investor in another business which might be a competitor to that business of the coach, the client. So what should the coach do in that case? And here are the answers First, not saying anything, and of course, you can read through or share that the business name sounds familiar and make a note to see if it's really a competitor business, share their role as investors in the competitor business. Only if the potential clients follows up to pursue coaching and finally share openly their role as an investor in the competing business and acknowledge that there is the possibility of a conflict of interest with the client. Red is the worst and green is the best and okay. Initially I can say that, okay, the green is the most open answer, the most transparent answer, and so the coach is completely transparent to the client. The client decides what to do. If we don't say anything, of course we hide this information from the client. The other answers are somewhere in between that. We are not completely honest. We are a bit honest, if that exists, but actually there is no clear transparency. So some course here.

Speaker 1:

So what do you say? You're angular. I think this is. It's good to keep in mind that this scenario is related to the code of ethics and, in particular, the section about the conflict of interest and, as you know, we should all would be transparent with conflict of interest. So the green one, the last one, is the best action because you are sharing your role and the possibility of a conflict of interest so that the client, the potential client, can make an informed notice. So this is always good to be open, as Jenny. As you said, jenny, and the worst thing is not to say anything which is disclosing an information that might be crucial for the potential client to make a decision of whether he or she would decide to work with you or not. Now, the other, the gray ones or the black ones, are conditional and somewhere in between. For example, share the role as an investor that one says only if the potential client follows up to pursue coaching with a coach. Not good enough, because you're not disclosing the information before the client makes a decision, or start or engages in the process of making the decision. Share that the business name sounds familiar and make a mental note to remind whether it's a competitor business later than that evening. That doesn't sound like you are. That doesn't sound very sincere.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, because you're not already. That's the case.

Speaker 1:

You know, I remember one of the things that I have heard from past president of ICF Global, which she was a leader to Ray, and she said that when it comes to when it comes to ethical challenges, it's always good to stay in the comfort zone. So I think it's best to be as comfortable as you can be and be transparent, open and proactive if you can, if you must, so that the client knows what they need to know before they make any kind of decision or engage in the process of making a decision. I think that proves to be a very good practice. You, because it safeguards your professional profile, the validity, the credibility of the coaching profession as a whole and the interests of the clients. I think that when we look after our clients' interests, we also look at our profession's interests as well and credibility.

Speaker 2:

And that applies of course to our whole practice, not only the exam.

Speaker 1:

That's right. Yeah, one to move on to another one.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah, let's give it a try. Okay, so that's about a client who struggles with delegating tasks to the other team members. And although at the last session the client said that, okay, they are going to delegate tasks to the other team members Because they had a project which was falling behind schedule, at the end they decided to complete all the tasks themselves. So at that case, here they say, the coach feels disappointment that the client did not follow through on their plans to delegate. So what should the coach do? Okay, one answer is immediately reflect back on the last session and what they could have done differently to support the client in following through their plans. Or take a breath and acknowledge that the client is responsible for their own choice of whether to follow through with their stated plans or not. Or set aside their disappointment for now, focus on the session and decide to reflect on the situation during an upcoming session with their own mentor codes. And finally, raise the client for meeting the project deadlines, but ask why the client failed to support their team members development. So again, the green one. They take a breath, they acknowledge that the client is responsible for their own choice. That's the best answer and the last one that the coach still pre-deceased the client for meeting the project deadlines, but asks why the client failed to support their team members development. That's the question. Okay, I think. Okay, as a first view. Yes, the green one actually gives to the client the power and the coach is the coach understands that the client is responsible for their decisions, while the last one actually treats the client a little bit like child and they okay, there are words like fail to support. It's a bit. I think it's not empowering at all this approach, but still Angela's okay.

Speaker 1:

Thank you very much. I think you hit me some very valid points there, and I'd like to further comment on the not good answers, the black ones, because I think this is very indicative of the scenarios that you will face with during the ICF credential in exam, and it's good to have that in mind, that sometimes the answers are nuanced and in other terms they might seem to be a good answer. For example, the first one immediately reflect back on their last session with the client and identify what they could have done differently to support the client in following through on their plans. And then the second one would say why would that not be a good answer or a good action forward as a coach? Because don't we want to be supportive of the client's process, development and so on? Well, yes. However, I think it sounds like you are making a decision here instead of respecting the client's decision or asking them what do they want to do in their session. So this is, in my opinion, the reason why this is not the good answer, because you are making a choice there and it should be the client who is making the choice. On the contrary, the green one is well, is it nuanced? Yes, but it also takes a different stance. It shows that you are very well composed as a coach because, as the scenario said, the coach feels disappointment. Now, should you feel disappointment? Well, it would be better if you don't feel disappointment, but, however, awareness that you do fall into that kind of experience and feeling, that of disappointment, to be able to manage that, take a breath and acknowledge that the client is responsible for their own choices. They are the ones that call the shots, they are making the decisions, they can change their decisions and you can ask the client what they want to do from now on. And, as the green answer says, the clients are responsible for their own choice of whether to follow through with their stated plans or not. So this is what the clients choose to do so far. Why is the red and the red one, the red colored answer, the worst answer? Because, well, there are many reasons. That's right. First of all, because you are it's not like you're manipulating the client. You're praising the client, but you are asking why they fail. So there are a lot of answers that could be flagged here, words like but and why and fail, and things like that. It's like labeling, it's like judging the client they have failed and asking the reason why is not always is not helping the client develop and create awareness and expand their understanding. And we know from the basic coaching techniques that we don't use closed questions. We don't use questions. We avoid using questions with a why unless it's very necessary. So, yes, this is not a good way to go forward. Actually, it's the worst way to go forward. The third one, which is not preferred the black colored one that says set aside their disappointment for now. For now, not forever. I mean focus on for now and focus on the current session with the client. You cannot suppress your feelings because you will be in danger of them growing and of a growing resentment that you will not be able to manage. Self-management is very important for everyone who are clients and, most of all, for ourselves to be service of the client. Decide on reflecting the situation during an upcoming session with their mentor coach. It is not bad, when you're feeling something that unsettles you or brings you out of your focus, to bring that into with discussing with your mentor coach. Well, I would say with your supervisor. But anyway, if you don't have supervisor, mentor coach is not a bad choice. Supervisor would be a much better choice for this kind of things because they would be able in a coach and it's a provision setting to do the kind of work, the core reflective work, that you need to do in order to understand better what is happening for you and what else is available for you as a coach. So still, it's a black colored answer. Thank you, why, I would say because you don't know what to do. It's you look like you were lost.

Speaker 2:

No.

Speaker 1:

To use a quote from Paul Bolst. So are you lost? It seems like you are lost there. Something is being thrown at you that you cannot handle, and you decided that you will focus on that later with someone else. You're a mentor coach, or could be your coaching supervisor, but it doesn't seem that you know exactly what to do with the situation at hand. So it's not a good choice. It's not a.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah, it seems okay, but it's not okay.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, this is my take. So very good scenarios, and I think that our viewers would enjoy it because they would go much deeper into understanding and focusing on the nuances and dive deeper in the mentality of how to work with our cases in their real life, in their real coaching practice, as well as in the ICF credentialing exam. So what else have you got for us, jenny?

Speaker 2:

Okay, and more scenarios. Of course, you can see the rest of the scenarios on the ICF website. Okay, let's go to some hints and tips before we go into a passable exam. So we need to arrange a day and time that is convenient for us. Okay, and then, if we prefer an online exam and our network is not perfect, it's better to choose a day time when the network is not so long. So I know people who pass the exam on the weekend or pass the exam late at night. Okay, when the network is not good, maybe that's a nice choice, but it's up to you. Of course, it's good that we have eaten lightly, so we are not very hungry and we have rested. Let's not drink too much of liquids like coffee or tea, since there's only one break at the out and that's after two hours of examinations, so in between the four hours and if we have three hours, of course it's in between the three hours we have already. It's a good choice to already remove all non-PC items from our exam room to facilitate the checking process, so you don't have to do everything at once when you are going through the checking process and also during the exam. Okay, let's focus on the questions and after four hours we will return to our own reality, most likely with our new credentials. So that's the experience. So success everyone, and don't forget to celebrate.

Speaker 1:

Okay, celebration is important. It's part of the learning process. I think that's great and thank you very much, janine. I think people will be able to learn more and by visiting our website, positivityglobalorg, and are going to the YouTube channel as well. Thank you very much and we wish everyone great success, and remember that you will be going through a little bit of the awkwardness of the online proctor or the or the on-site proctor, but, however, you will make sure that you will be able to focus exclusively on the job at hand on the one hand and this is a very credible process examination process that solidifies the credibility of our coaching profession in general, and that was a very good point that you made there, janine. Thank you very much, yeah.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, okay, so we need to be comfortable, we need to be uncomfortable, last more and understand why, yeah, why is that? Yeah, thank you very much. Thank you very much, janine.

Speaker 1:

And I hope to have the opportunity to make another video if the situation arises. So see you on the next one. Okay, see you on the next one.

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