Damian Goldvarg, Ph.D. and Norma Perel, MCC
This article aims to define Mentor Coaching and share best practices taking into consideration ICF standards and sharing our personal experiences and practices of six years mentor coaching more than 200 coaches in 15 countries from all continents. ICF generally defines Mentor Coaching as the “professional assistance necessary for the coach to achieve and demonstrate the levels of coaching competency demanded by the desired credential level,” and it explains that “during this process, feedback is provided on the development of the skills demonstrated in a session, and it is deliberately not provided on the general professional practice, the life balance or other topics unrelated to the competencies displayed.” If we look closely at this definition, we spot several elements to consider:
- “Professional assistance necessary for the coach to achieve and demonstrate the levels of coaching competency demanded by the desired credential level.” The mentor coach has developed expertise to recognize when specific skills are present or absent during the coaching performance so they can provide feedback to the coach. Currently, there are different expectations for different levels of coaching mastery and Mentor Coaches can identify the gap between performance and expectations and work with a coach to develop skills to breach the gap.
- “During this process, feedback is provided on the development of the skills demonstrated in a session, and it is deliberately not provided on the general professional practice, the life balance or other topics unrelated to the competencies displayed.” Providing feedback is the main task of the mentor coach. The feedback should be provided in a respectful and supportive fashion and facilitated as a dialogue rather than a monologue. We differentiate Mentor Coaching from other practices such as Coaching Supervision, focused on the reflection on the professional work of a coach.
Mentor Coaching and Coaching Supervision
ICF has developed some guidelines to differentiate these two complementary practices that are essential parts of the educational path of any coach during his development as such. One of the important differences between both activities is the depth of the work on the coach as a person.
In Mentor Coaching, the professional’s skills are analyzed (either face-to-face or by listening to the recordings of the sessions) along with their ability to demonstrate the skills during a session with a client. All the work is focalized into the recognition of the presence—or absence—of the skills demonstrated on that session and the comparison to the expectations set for each level of accreditation acknowledged by the ICF: ACC, PCC or MCC.
In Coaching Supervision, on the other hand, the analysis is more profound because the focus goes beyond the coach’s skills, in an attempt to explore the field around the coach’s “who.” This work implies going deeper on their own personal fears, difficulties and challenges they will have to accept and those they impose on themselves, the objections to themselves, the identifications that might undermine their optimal performance and any potential projection into clients such as the identification of the coach with client.Download Article 500 Club