Mentor Coaching

Even professional coaches need coaching sometimes!

Calling all coaches! It’s natural to sometimes doubt your own coaching competence from time to time. Wouldn’t it be great to get strength-based feedback to help you remember what brought you to coaching in the first place?

Mentor Coaching is observation of YOU in coaching situations, with feedback on your coaching ( in a plus/delta format ) through the lens of the International Coaching Federation (ICF) Core Competencies.

  • If you find yourself “stuck” in certain client situations, wishing you knew other ways to create breakthroughs, for both you and your client(s), then mentor coaching might be for you.
  • If you’d love to expand your “coaching toolkit” without having to take another training program, then mentor coaching might be for you.
  • If you wish you had an objective observer “in the room” during your coaching who could help you see yourself as a coach, then mentor coaching might be for you.
  • If you’re curious about how to move out of your head and coach more often from your gut, and your heart – as well as help your clients engage their full selves, then mentor coaching might be for you.
  • If you need a positive student coaching experience for yourself, even as you fulfill your requirements for your ICF credential, then mentor coaching might be for you.

You can achieve all the above and more when you work with a good mentor coach who knows how to create a positive, appreciative feedback conversation AND consistently support you in coaching to a higher standard.

Why use Jim as your Mentor Coach?

When I started coaching clients in 1999, I was awful! Oh, my clients loved me, and they got results. But I had no idea what a good coach could accomplish – I didn’t know what I didn’t know. In 2003, I fell under the influence of a Master Coach and became inspired to learn as much as possible about my chosen craft.

Along the way, I developed a passion for helping others become better coaches. I believe our profession only gets better when each individual coach rises to the top of their game! As the saying goes, “A rising tide lifts ALL ships.”

I have served as a Mentor Coach since 2009, following intensive training with a stellar Master Coach who was herself an ICF assessor. I have provided Mentor Coaching for the Newfield Network (an ICF ACTP training school) in their US, Europe, South Africa, and Canadian programs, and for The Coach Partnership/Newfield Asia programme based in Singapore, where I am also a senior trainer and assessor. I have also conducted Group Mentor Coaching Sessions for the Gestalt Institute of Cleveland , and provided Mentor Coaching for individual clients in North America, THe EU, Australia, India, and SE Asia.  (2020 Update: I am currently Ethics Chair for ACTO (The Association for Coach Training Organizations) where I have been championing the intersection of Ethics and the new ICF Core Competencies.) 

I consistently receive overwhelmingly positive feedback on the value of my mentoring for helping student coaches grow in their craft.


How Mentor Coaching Works

Simply, I observe you coaching real clients, and we debrief your coaching conversations immediately following the observation. We focus on the process (not the content) of that session, and within the ICF Core Competency framework. I help you become a better observer of yourself – how you showed up in that coaching session, how you served your client, etc., so that you can, in the future, show up differently and expand/shift your coaching for this and other clients.

Observed coaching can be done in several ways:

  • Live and immediate. Coach, client, AND mentor come together on a bridgeline or video conference call. The coaching session occurs, the client signs off, and the debrief follows immediately.
  • Via recording. Coach records a coaching conversation, and submits to mentor coach for review. We listen together, and debrief from the perspective of distance.
  • Group session. In a group situation, participants typically coach one another on real issues, with real-time feedback from the mentor coach for the benefit of the entire group. Occasionally, the group might be joined by a client who has agreed to be coached “on stage.”

Fee/Program Structure

Tier 1: Ad hoc, or ala carte coaching
  • Each occurrence includes up to 30 minutes of observed coaching, plus 30-60 minutes of very specific feedback and coaching for you ABOUT your coaching.
  • Will support you to demonstrate competence at ACC or PCC level, assuming you “do the work” of applying what you are learning in sessions with your current client base**.
  • Fee: $250/occurrence, with payment in advance of each session.
Tier 2: ICF Preparation Package, Individual
  • Ten (10) sessions of Mentor Coaching. At least four sessions will focus on each of the ICF Core Competency Clusters and how those show up in a coaching session.  Package will include between three and six observed coaching sessions — 30 mins of coaching/recording plus 30 minutes of very specific feedback and coaching for you ABOUT your coaching. Sessions usually spread over 2-6 months (and I can be flexible about how long it takes to complete all ten).
  • Will support you to demonstrate competence at ACC or PCC level, assuming you “do the work” of applying what you are learning in sessions with your current client base**.
  • Fee: $2,000 for the entire program. Payment is 50% up front, 50% at middle of agreed-upon contract term
Tier 3: ICF Preparation Package, Build Your Own Team

Per ICF guidelines, your ten hours of prep time can include seven hours of group Mentor Coaching and three individual hours. If you would like to share the cost and the experience of honing your coaching, you may bring together a group of no more than eight coaches and contract as a group.

  • Ten (10) sessions of Mentor Coaching – three individual sessions and seven group calls.
  • Each individual session consists of up to 30 minutes of observed coaching, plus 30 minutes of specific feedback and coaching for you about your coaching.
  • Group sessions are usually 60-90 minutes, and will include several iterations of coaching with feedback to the person who was in the “Hot Seat”. In a group coaching session, everyone benefits from both the feedback AND the experience of observing through the lens of an ICF observer.
  • Four of the group sessions will include a review of the four ICF core competency “clusters”, including tips on how to master each, and what not to do. Practice coaching will focus on the competency cluster being studied in that session.
  • I will support you to demonstrate competence at ACC or PCC level, assuming you “do the work” of applying what you are learning in sessions with your current client base.**
  • Fee: $2,000, plus $600 for each additional person after the first. *Payment is 30% up front, and terms will be arranged based on the group makeup and duration of program.

*Example: For a group of three, fee would be $2000 + $1200 = $3200, or $1067 per person. For a group of eight, fee would be $2000 + $4200 = $6200, or $775 per person.

Notes: Group sessions can be conducted face-to-face in Northeast Ohio, or in other locations by arrangement. For in-person sessions, participants must provide a space. If by phone I can provide a bridgeline and will record and archive the calls for later review. If via Zoom, you can record your own sessions so you “own” them exclusively.

**100% of coaches who have worked with me and subsequently submitted recordings for ACC or PCC certification have achieved their desired credential!

Ready to learn more?

Contact me to set up a Mentor Coaching Strategy session. This is a 30-60 minute conversation in which we will explore where you are in your coaching, what you want to work on, how Mentor Coaching might help you, and whether I am the right coach for you.  (If I’m not, I’ll refer you on). I look forward to speaking with you.

In Happiness,

Jim Smith, PCC, NCOC®

PS: Enjoy this quick review of Coaching Competencies (Choose Updated for the 2021 version from the International Coaching Federation)