‘Why would a coach want to work with a mentor coach (a coach’s coach who would guide and support a fellow coach to reflect and progress)?’, you might ask. And my response would be that a mentor coach is one of the most valuable resources a coach can get for himself or herself. I must admit I only started mentor coaching because this is one of the credentialing requirements of the International Coach Federation, one of the global professional bodies that aims to uphold and raise the standard and professionalism of coaches around the world. Nevertheless, after experiencing the joy and benefits of mentor coaching in both a group and one-on-one setting, I would say that it is a necessity for any coach who would like to stay clear-headed while at the same time continuously improve his or her skills and expertise in supporting their clients.
So how is mentor coaching session structured? In a group mentor coaching session, we would either perform a live coaching for about 15 mintutes by two of the participants or listen to a recorded coaching by one of the participating coaches (with the prior approval of the client). Then led by a more experienced and senior mentor coach, we would, with permission and in confidence, feedback on how the coach performed with reference to the core competencies as stipulated by ICF. In a one-on-one session, the mentor coach and I would listen to a recorded coaching session and together carefully go through and feedback on each core competencies to help facilitate self-reflection and desired changes for growth.
So what have I got out of my 10 hours of mentor coaching and why would I say that mentor coaching is a necessity for any coach even outside of the credential process?
- Someone I trust and value to bounce ideas off with or ask questions
- Having someone to hold me accountable for change and growth does strengthen and expediate the process
- For group mentor coaching it provides a unique opportunity to discuss (in confidence) and learn from a diverse yet similar group of colleagues
- It is also a great opportunity and honour to give back and support the coaching community in raising its standard and learning from each other
A coaching relationship has often been described as a partnership in learning and self-improvement. A mentor coaching relationship is thus a partnership of resource, where I can and want to access to make sure that I am playing my best game and never stop improving a a coach.