Since ICF published in a Special Update – 18th June 2015, announcing the changes for the ACC and PCC certification my mailbox has been overloaded with the questions: How do I get a mentor coach so I can apply before the grace period lapses? Or how do I find a good mentor coach?
Yes, booming times have arrived for ICF mentor coaches, but sadly it brings with it a lot of stressed coaches as they have now in a shorter time swim the seas of finding a mentor coach – one that supports them in the quest of getting certified.
While I was Chair and member of the ICF group dealing with certification, we worked hard to introduce 10 hours mentor coaching for coaches seeking any level – ACC, PCC and MCC, because we felt that it would raise the awareness on the ICF Core Competencies . What I did not foresee is that there was no education asked and minimal requirements to become a mentor coach. In one breath anybody holding an ICF credential can be a coach. It is here where I draw a line.
Mentor coaching is more than combining coaching with teaching. Traditional mentors are usually experienced and trusted adviser, with connections and knowledge of certain business.
They tend to be there occasionally and often function as sounding boards. Development of the individual is the aim of the relationship This role is different to that the ICF Mentor coach.
ICF defines mentor coaching: For purposes of credentialing, mentor coaching means an applicant being coached on their coaching skills rather than coaching on practice building, life balance, or other topics unrelated to the development of an applicant’s coaching skill. For more information on ICF Credentialing.
The aim is to get acquainted with the ICF core competencies and ethics, but also to be aware of the developments needed in coaching skills. The mentor coach , in my opinion, needs to be able to start a collegial partnership with the coach translate/further explain wherever necessary the core competencies but also needs to understand the ICF exam process, let go of coaching models and jargon, understand cultural differences, give feedback and support the coach in their development of coaching skills.
Listening to a recording and telling the coach how they have performed is not enough!
I did mentor coaching for about 45 coaches, many passed, some did not and quite a number did not finish the process. I was just working with the knowledge I had from my coaching school and reading That was it – by the way this how most mentor coaches work. Yes, I had the advantage of belonging to a working group dealing with credentials and the core competencies but had no framework on how to do mentor coaching – looking back I was doing a lot of training rather than mentor coaching. Things started getting complicated with the exams and the complaints that mentor coaches were not good so I decided to become more informed about mentor coaching.
First I want to say I am a strong believer that mentor coaches be certified. I am saying this not only because I have some backstage experience but also based on the lessons learned during my certification as a mentor coach and my own mentor programs Mentor Coaching: Going Beyond Models
So going back to the questions that brought me to write this article: How do I get a mentor coach so I can apply before the grace period lapses? Or how do I find a good mentor coach? I want to share some tips when looking and selecting a mentor coach.
The aim of wanting/needing to work with a mentor coach need to be crystal clear before you start looking for one. A mentor coach will help you:
• In diving deeper into the coach core competencies
• Hone into your blind spots and become aware how keep an eye on them
• Improve your coaching skills
• Learn to let go of models and school jargon
• Understand where are you in your coach development and where do you want to go, so you can set a developmental plan
For a mentor coach to be effective and support you, they need to:
• Be able to look beyond your school training and support you letting models and school jargon go
• Understand the core competencies and whenever needed translate them for you
• Be an excellent listener. One that can listen on multiple levels
• Understand how feedback works, impact and how to deliver it
• Have certain knowledge on the exam requirements as well as how they are graded
• Supports you on refining your coaching skills
• Partner and be collegial
• Understand cultural and diversity issues is a pre, as we coaches often work with a wide range of clients
• Be a trained mentor coach is in my opinion a most, but there are not that many in the marketplace yet.
My tips are based on my experience but also on conversations with coaches and mentor coaches.
Tips how to find the mentor coach that serves you best:
1. Know the reason why you are hiring a mentor coach
2. Find out how they intent to work with you – look for how are they going to support you in your growth and development of your personal style
3. Find out what do they “really” know about ICF and the credentialing process
4. Experience both in coaching and mentoring
5. Their certification level needs to be one higher than yours
6. What is the mentor process they use –how do they make agreements, connect with you, how many recordings they will listen to, how many verbal and written feedback will you get?
7. Do they work with groups and or individual coaching programmes
8. Let them give you some feedback on the spot – you will know if they are a match and if possible
9. Find a certified mentor coach
If you are a coach seeking an ICF certification via portfolio process or a certified coach in need of mentor coach hours you might want to look at the 2 services aNDE provides.