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Coach Foundations


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Coach Foundations

The Columbia Approach to Executive and Organizational coaching is theoretically grounded in the Science of Human Performance and is based on what we call three coaching foundations of: (1) guiding principles, (2) coaching competencies, and (3) a three-phased coaching process (Jackson 1991 & Maltbia 2001). This multidisciplinary approach to coaching emphasizes integrating theory with practice drawing from psychology, neuroscience, organization development, business management, and leadership research. Click on any of the three elements in the graphic above to learn more about each.

Guiding Principles

An understanding of the coaching process (including their related components) and enacting the core coaching competencies are critical capacities that are necessary, yet not sufficient for effectiveness in the role of professional coach. The following principles serve as important guideposts as you work with clients to excel in an increasingly global workspace:

Guiding principles


While a case can be made for linking all 11 of the ICF competencies to each of the Columbia Coaching Certification Program's guiding principles, the table below displays those core competencies believed to be essential to the enactment of each guiding principal.

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Core Competencies

Core competencies are aggregates of capabilities that, when applied across the entire coaching process, create synergy and sustainable client value in a broad array of applications (Prahalad & Hamel, 1990). The nine core competencies displayed below bring life to the guiding principles for effectiveness embedded in 3-phased Columbia approach to coaching.

Competencies graphic

Co-creating the RelationshipEffective coaching requires finding the right balance between challenge and support, along with a recognition that coaches must strive to focus on their personal growth, their relationships and helping clients accomplish the objectives of their learning and performance agenda.

Making Meaning with OthersThe three competencies of questioning, listening, and testing assumptions provide a platform for making meaning from experience, identifying critical success factors, and devising plans for taking informed, effective action. 

Helping Others Succeed—Helping clients grow and achieve results through customized, just-in time, discovery, learning and change experiments that move to implementation brings a business focus to the executive and organizational coaching process.

Phases and Components of The Columbia Coaching Process with ICF’s Core Competencies

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Coaching Process

The Columbia Coaching Certification Program (3CP) frames coaching as a process of learning, development and human performance. Our program employs a strategic learning process that focuses on individual and organizational change, growth and renewal. Our coaching framework consists of 3 strategic learning capabilities that parallel the 3 phases of coaching, each guided by essential questions:

Coaching process
  1. Achieving & Sustaining Contextual Awareness (What’s going on?);
  2. Creating Conceptual Clarity (What really matters?); and
  3. Taking Informed Action (How to get there from here?)…

… or the 3 Cs (i.e., Context, Content and Conduct).

3CP is theoretically grounded in the Science of Human Performance, which states that understanding any form of human performance, and related interactions, is a function of the context (i.e., structuralism and constructivist philosophical orientation), content (i.e., phenomenology), and conduct (i.e., behavioralism).

3CP is a multidisciplinary approach to coaching with an emphasis on integrating theory with practice. It draws many theories from the behavioral sciences including adult learning and development, psychology; management education, and communication.

Alignment The Columbia Coaching Program’s Self-As-Instrument framework (i.e., core competencies) with ICF’s Core Coaching Competencies…

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