Home Concepts Best Practices What is Mentor Coaching? A Perspective in Practice

What is Mentor Coaching? A Perspective in Practice

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The Hawkins Model, known as “Seven-eyed Model,” allows us to see clearly the differences between Mentor Coaching and Supervision. This methodology explores three systems of relationships: Between the client and their coach, between the coach and their supervisor and the general context system. In order to get to know, in depth, the relationship between the client and their coach, Hawkins says it is necessary to explore the client’s characteristics, the coach’s interventions and the peculiarities of the relationship between them. With regards to the work of the coach-supervisor system, the Seven-eyed Model suggests that we should analyze the emotional responses of the coach to what the client brings forwards, what is known as the “parallel process;” i.e., the repetition in the stage of supervision of elements of the Coaching session; and the responses of the supervisor to the content presented by the coach. In the analysis of the third system, or general context, several variables are explored, among them the organizational context, the financial, social and political conditions that affect the interaction between the other two systems.


Individual and Group Mentor Coaching

Mentor Coaching can be effectively provided using both modalities. According to ICF, it is expected that in coach training and the process of renewing credentials, there is a minimum of 10 hours of mentor coaching from which at least three should be individual sessions. In Individual Mentor Coaching, coaches may submit the following in advance to the mentor coach: a recorded session  (between 20 minutes and one hour long), the transcription of the session and a self-assessment reflection. This is a very useful practice, as the self-analysis promotes awareness, the consolidation of the strengths and the recognition of those skills that need to be polished to optimize the operation. This is not an ICF requirement, but rather a strong recommendation by us, the authors.

This allows the mentor coach to evaluate the material against the different levels of the ICF Competencies before meeting with the coach. The objective of this pedagogical resource is the development of coaching skills based on the provision of feedback for specific work, performed with a specific client in a particular circumstance.

In Group Mentor Coaching, participants learn not only from the mentor coach but also from their peers. The process may consist of discussion of recordings or of a coaching session in which one of the group participants performs as a client and another one as the coach. The remaining members attend to the session silently and, later, provide feedback. The aim of this approach is for every member to get the chance to learn from each other and require that the Mentor Coach facilitates the discussion effectively.

It is important to note that according to ICF policies, Group Mentor Coaching processes should not include more than 10 people, and that both, Individual and Group Mentor Coaching processes must last a duration of at least three months.

Individual Mentor Coaching Process

In our own approach to Mentor Coaching, we separate the process into five components. In the first part, the “agreement” is set: It entails the Mentor Coach asking the coach about which competencies they would like to review during the session in order to receive feedback. In the second part, the Mentor Coach listens to the coach while they demonstrate their skills based on a recording or a live session. During the third part, the coach reflects on their performance and elaborates a self-assessment before receiving the comments and the feedback from the Mentor Coach. The fourth moment is devoted to feedback provided by the Mentor Coach, which is offered in a conversational way. It should be a dialogue, not a monologue. During the fifth instance of the process, the coach shares their learning and decides what they will be addressing in the future.

The recording must be submitted in advance providing the Mentor Coach enough time to consider the material and formulate what they see as strengths and development areas.

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One Comment

  1. Rey Carr

    September 24, 2016 at 12:08 pm

    Members of the coaching industry continue to blur the boundaries between roles through the increasing use by coaches of the term “mentor” as in “mentor-coach.”

    Whereas in the past, coaches made an effort to
    distinguish themselves from mentors (often writing short articles on the differences between the roles), now many coaches have added that role to their repertoire of practice.

    For the most part, the addition of the ‘mentor – coach’ accolade to their resumes seems to be a way to elevate their skill status and promote and market their services to other coaches. The irony here is that acting as a mentor has been historically and is currently a free or completely volunteer service. Mentor-coaches have ignored or rejected this key element of mentoring and charge a fee to work with other coaches. In so doing they have again expanded the scope of their practice, added to the confusion about the difference in roles, and, rather than referring to their work with other coaches as supervision or consultation, have added the status, but not the accuracy of mentoring to their own scope of practice.

    In the article by Goldvarg and Perel, they provide a definition of supervision in order to distinguish it from mentoring, and in so doing try to justify why a ‘mentor coach’ is not acting as a supervisor. However, very few people with experience as supervisors would agree with their definition of supervisor. They basically equate supervisor with a therapist. In addition, very few mentors would agree with their narrow definition of a mentor in that mentors often probe personal areas to determine their relevance to performance and outcomes.


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