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

What is Mentor Coaching? A Perspective in Practice

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  1. “Establish measures of success in partnership with the coach.” Generally speaking, these success measures are closely related to the achievement of the ICF Credential exam; yet they may also refer to the acquisition of a higher ability in the performance of the Coaching Competencies.
  2. “Fully discuss fees, time frame and other aspects of a Mentor Coaching relationship.” Completely clarifying these initial aspects, which may seem auxiliary, ensures a field work that is free from obstacles and the avoidance of potential misunderstandings on aspects as simple as when the session is to be paid for or what would happen if the coach needs to cancel an individual session too close to the time scheduled.
  3. “Inform the coach regarding all aspects of the ICF Code of Ethics and the availability of the Ethical Conduct Review Board.” Given the Mentor Coach is a role model and a professional guide, they are expected not only to adhere to the ICF’s Code of Ethics, but also to know it deeply enough to be able to explain it to the coaches whom they work. For example, a client may want to explore an issue that is not appropriate for coaching with their coach. If this happens within the frame of a Mentor Coaching process, with the client present and the coach does not realize it and starts exploring the issue, the Mentor Coach will interrupt the session and explain that the issue is not appropriate for a coaching session. Even when participants in a Mentor Coaching group are expected to be familiarized with the definition of coaching endorsed by ICF, coaches may, in their first stage of training, inadvertently accept exploring issues that require the attention of other professionals—for instance, those related to depression, anxiety or other issues that demand a referral to a psychologist or psychiatrist.
  4. “Encourage the coach to meet other potential Mentor Coaches in order to find the best suited professional to match their needs.” This is a practice that ICF also encourages among those clients seeking a coaching service. The idea is that once the client has the chance to choose between several options, they may be able to find the professional best suited to address their needs. There are clients who feel more comfortable working with coaches who bear some characteristics they feel familiar with, while others prefer to work with professionals with diverse styles and experiences because they consider these differences as a chance to learn.
  5. “Make no guarantee that as a result of the Mentor Coaching process, the coach will obtain the credential level they are seeking.” This is extremely important, as each person’s learning process relies on multiple variables—for instance, their own capacity to incorporate new learning as well as their attitude to interpret information and deploy the new learnings. Sometimes, it is observed that experienced coaches who seek the ICF MCC Credential find out they need to “unlearn” some behaviors more associated to the work of a consultant than to a coach. To ICF, the coach is expected to be a “full” collaborator during the coaching process. Many times, this presumes letting the client “take control of the wheel,” which entails a hard challenge to overcome for those who tend to lead the way in their professional arena.
  6. “Guarantee coaching sessions are individually analyzed, that the coach gets the relevant feedback between sessions, and that there is enough time between Mentor Coaching sessions to allow for the incorporation of learning and personal development.” The coach develops their skills along a process that enables them to deploy what they have learned in the Mentor Coaching sessions. That is why ICF recommends that the 10-hour process of sessions spans over at least three months, as the deployment of the new learning derived from the feedback is essential for that process.
  7. “Provide specific oral and written feedback using material examples from the sessions, in such a way that (a) the coach knows precisely what is correctly being done; and (b) the coach is able to understand what needs to be done to develop a deeper level in the mastering of the Art of Coaching.” The specificity of the examples allows the coach to gain clarity on how their skills are demonstrated during the analyzed coaching session. This why it is important that the Mentor Coach takes notes while observing the coach, so they will then be able to provide the most thorough feedback they can, providing as many examples of behaviors displayed during the session as possible, illustrating the Coaching Competencies deployed.


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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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