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Mentor Coaching Experience: Stretching Your Coaching Mindset

Working with a mentor coach is a great way to improve your coaching competency. If you are a coach who wants to take your coaching to the next level…… reach out and we would be happy to help.

brian.duggan@marathonhrcg.com OR gailboone@ns.sympatico.ca

It’s been said that if you love what you do, you’ll never work a day. Or something like that. We are mentor coaches. AND, we love what we do.


Coaching Defined…….


The International Coaching Federation describes Mentor Coaching as “coaching and feedback in a collaborative, appreciative and dialogued process based on an observed or recorded coaching session to increase the coach’s capability in coaching, in alignment with the ICF Core Competencies.” Mentor coaching is a requirement for an ICF credential. Its purpose is to provide “professional assistance in achieving and demonstrating the levels of coaching competency and capability demanded by the desired credential level.” Mentor coaching is designed to help support your coaching capability and competence.


Why bother?


It’s more than checking a box to meet a requirement, however. Our clients have said, ‘Mentor coaching was a requirement for me to complete my Coaching Certificate. Within the first few sessions, I realized the indispensable value to me on my coaching journey. I have since received my Coaching Certificate and have continued to use the services of a Mentor Coach. I can see my using the services of a Mentor Coach even after I receive ICF Credential.” Another said, “Mentor coaching helps strengthen my coaching muscles. Through facilitated reflections, focused discussions, and laser-sharp feedback I am better equipped to serve my clients.”


Some educational programs include mentor coaching as a part of their offering. Others don’t. There’s excellent information on the ICF website at https://coachingfederation.org/credentials-and-standards/mentor-coaching about initial and renewal applications depending on the education path followed. For example, if you are a first-time applicant for ACC or PCC and attended a program that did not offer the minimum required mentor coaching, you must complete that before applying. If your program did include the minimum requirements, then mentor coaching is a great way to accumulate continuing education units toward required CCUs for recertification.


Mentor Coaching allows the mentor to support the coach as they demonstrate the Core Competencies of coaching. We look for evidence that the dialogue is exploratory, open, and supportive of the client’s growing self-awareness in service of evolving relationships.


• How is the coach demonstrating a coaching mindset – an essential and sacred foundation of coaching?

• Is the Coach curious about what is meaningful for the client, asking questions that are freely offered and open to the unknown?

• At the end of the conversation, is there a plan to integrate the learning within the client’s way of being in the world?


As Mentor Coaches, we are listening for and seeing evidence that the coach demonstrates the competence to practice as a coach.


Finding a mentor coach…..


There’s more than one way to experience mentor coaching. We offer individual mentor coaching. We also provide a Group Mentor Coaching experience that lets participants get all the required ten mentor coaching hours from the experience. It is structured so that 7 hours are offered in the group setting, followed by 3 hours of individual mentor coaching with either Brian or Gail. We work hard to create a safe environment that minimizes the feeling of performance anxiety or nerves due to the process.


With the group mentor coaching, there’s an initial orientation session followed by three sessions (two hours each) where coaches coach each other, and then we all debrief the experience. You can expect a coach approach to feedback. It is wonderful how fast trust and safety develop within the group. The feelings of mutual aid and gain are why we keep offering it. We see ourselves as your partner and get as much out of it as the participants.


You will also receive written feedback. “I would like to commend my mentor Coach Brian Duggan for his effective mentor coaching approach. Observing my coaching sessions and debriefing immediately following my coaching has worked very well for me. An added bonus is receiving a written report with comments as they relate to ICF markers.” While you do not have to submit the feedback documents, ICF does require details such as: the Mentor Coach(s) name and credential, email address, start and end dates of the mentoring relationship and number of hours of mentor coaching provided. We also keep a record for when the ICF asks us to confirm that the mentoring took place. And, by the way, they do.


What do horses have to do with Mentor Coaching?


This year we are trying something new. On June 2nd and 3rd, we will offer a Core Competency and Mentor Coaching weekend. A part of this time will be an equine-facilitated learning experience where we partner with horses to explore core competencies and mentor coaching. This weekend is designed to stretch core competencies by partnering with each other to deepen our self awareness and coaching mindset and with non-humans who are incredibly responsive to what is happening in their environment. As sentient beings and prey animals, horses take in everything about their surroundings and react to what’s in front of them immediately. They pay attention to how we show up. This engagement with non-human and human beings has the possibility of helping us learn to listen, communicate, develop trust, establish a genuine partnership, and provide us with immediate feedback.


What do mentor coach clients say about the experience?


Coaches get a lot from the mentor coaching experience. Whether it’s one on one or in a group mentoring coaching series, coaches become better coaches. When we stretch ourselves to grow as coaches, it creates the opportunity for direct benefit to the client. We hear a lot about what coaches say they get out of it from knowing more about themselves as a coach; celebrating their strengths and identifying their growing edges; building their confidence; trusting themselves; developing new skills and developing a clearer understanding of the ICF core competencies to enhance their overall practice.


Taking opportunities to check in to look for ways to get better at what you do is a healthy way to work toward mastery. Clients have said, “Mentor coaching has supported deep reflection about my “why” and has sustained me in developing greater resilience.” And, “Mentor coaching showed me to carefully and safely reflect on my skills and challenges as a coach. Brian inspired me to recognize my strengths and offered me tools to deepen my understanding of my clients. Possibly the best learning I ever have as a coach is through mentor coaching sessions.” One of Gail’s clients offered, “Thank you for your excellent guidance as my coaching mentor, leading me to success with the ICF accreditation. I have tried to cooperate with several mentors and in this field, only you were the real deal! When the right time comes, I will be happy to benefit from your insights, coaching evaluation and experience again.”


Coaches who have attended the group mentor coaching say, “In working with Mentor Coaches Gail Boone and Brian Duggan, mentor coaching has enhanced my coaching skills to a new level of understanding and implementation. I’ve learned to explore new and often subtle approaches that deepen my level of coaching. I’ve been able to get to the heart of the matter faster, which moves my clients forward using new pathways that open up in our coaching together. Through this, I’ve noticed a shift in my coaching business by retaining more clients for longer because they’re getting not only more of their desired results but more unexpected, but pleasant, outcomes in doing so.” This comment from another one, “I have a passion for coaching and I always want to ensure I am offering my clients a valuable experience. Five years after obtaining my Graduate Certificate in Executive Coaching, I missed the developmental lens. I appreciated the feedback from my clients and other trainings but wondered if there were areas in which a more experienced coach might offer me suggestions to enhance my skill. The opportunity to participate in Mentor Coaching with Brian Duggan and Gail Boone presented itself at just the right time and has been so rewarding. Having been coached and mentored by both Brian and Gail in the past, I knew that they are both stellar coaches and would provide a supportive and constructive environment for learning. They immediately created safety in the small group allowing us to maximize our learning and launch into coaching. As I complete this experience I am confident in my coaching abilities and preparation for my ICF PCC certification.”


How can I sign up?


We time the offerings to enable participants to meet the timing requirements for mentor coaching. Check in for future group sessions.


More details about the requirements for ICF Credentialling can be found on the ICF Global site. Note that ten hours of mentor coaching must take place over a minimum three-month period before the date of the application for credential or renewal.

We invite you to check out our next offering at


Working with a mentor coach is important work! We look forward to you joining us.

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