Mentor Coaching to Improve Your Awareness and Competencies
I must admit, the last time I had mentor coaching was in 2013, while I was still going through The University of Miami Certified Professional Coach Program. Until I had to renew my Associate Certified Coach (ACC) credential last year, Mentor Coaching was the last thing on my list I thought I would need to help strengthen my coaching competencies.
The International Coaching Federation (ICF) Credential Renewal process requires 40 hours of Continuing Coach Education (CCE). For ACC Credential holders, this includes completion of 10 hours of Mentor Coaching over the three-year Credential cycle. ICF defines Mentor Coaching as an engagement to provide coach-applicants (mentees) with “professional assistance in achieving and demonstrating the levels of coaching competency demanded by the credential level sought by the mentee.” Moreover, the engagement has a focus of working specifically on a mentees’ coaching skills.
Core Competencies at Mentor Coaching Sessions
ICF defines coaching as a “partnership with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potentials.” As ICF-credentialed coaches, we embody eight Core Competencies that align with four main pillars: setting the foundation; co-creating the relationship; communicating effectively; and cultivating learning and growth.
Mentor Coaching is one of the many educational channels that ICF-credentialed coaches can use to further develop their coaching skills. At a Mentor Coaching session, you (the mentee) would determine areas of coaching skill development that you would like to work on and gain clarity around your strengths and areas in need of improvement. So, before attending a Mentor Coaching session, revisit the ICF Core Competencies and assessment markers to prepare yourself.
Experience in Group and Individual Mentor Coaching Rounds
Regardless of if you are joining a group or individual Mentor Coaching round, each is structured with a clear purpose and defined areas of coaching skills development that the mentee wants to review and be provided feedback on. If you haven’t had Mentor Coaching for some time, I would certainly recommend participating in a group mentor coaching first, so that you have the opportunity to observe various coaching styles from each of coach-applicants (mentees) in the room (which is often Zoom these days).
My experience in group mentor coaching rounds was invaluable, as the 90-minute session gave me the opportunity to think through the Core Competencies again and discuss strengths and stretches with peer coaches. I also felt that 15-minute coaching in the group session was beneficial, because participating coaches would share what they hear and do not hear, and provide constructive feedback on the coaching agreement, relationship with the client and your communication effectiveness.
At individual Mentor Coaching sessions, you have more time with your Mentor Coach to work on specific Core Competencies and, moreover, to explore your coaching style. Before each session with your Mentor Coach, I would recommend re-listening to your recordings, and making notes on your strengths based on assessment markers, and areas that you would like your coach to help you fine-tune further.
In my sessions, I was able to hone in on two specific Core Competencies to work on. Because of the trusted relationship I had with my Mentor Coach, she gave me insight into areas that I didn’t notice, particularly the “Listens Actively” competency, which explores clients’ behaviors or energy shifts.
Awareness & Confidence
“Once we believe in ourselves, we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight, or any experiences that reveals the human spirit.” – E.E. Cummings.
Mentor Coaching is one of the great learning channels for seasoned coaches to continue developing their coaching skills. It has helped me reflect on my coaching strengths, which then gives me the motivation and confidence to pursue my next coaching milestone: the Professional Certified Coach (PCC) Credential.