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I was looking forward to meeting Cora. We first connected when she sent a message asking about my group mentor coaching program.

Right away, I knew something was different about her. Not only did she respond quickly to my emails, Cora (not her real name) booked a “chemistry call” for the following week. When we got on Zoom, I noticed her smile, her neat and tastefully decorated office, and her pen and paper ready on the desk. After saying hello and exchanging pleasantries, Cora dove right in.

“Three of us are interested in hiring a mentor coach, and we’re interviewing several. We’re asking each of them the same questions. May I jump into those now?”

I was surprised. And thrilled. Thrilled!

In fact, I was so impressed with her approach that I thanked Cora for making me reflect anew on my practice. I also asked her permission to share those questions with you so that you can find the right mentor coach too!

  1. What makes you successful as a coach?

My answer? Four things: (1) I seek the right fit with the right clients for me. I enjoy my work more, and my mentees get more out of our work, if there’s a good fit in styles, values, and overall vibe. When there’s good chemistry, everyone wins!

(2) I do my personal work. While I don’t have a coach right now, I do have a therapist and a coach supervisor, both of whom I see twice monthly. I practice my somatic training and Parts Work almost daily. I support my physical health with healthy habits. I’m committed to my emotional, psychological, and spiritual growth (and healing) as much as my intellectual and professional development.

(3) I have integrity. Not only do I strive to walk the talk, the “coach approach” is a way of life for me that also happens outside of client sessions. I seek to be curious, maintain boundaries, tell the truth, let go of outcomes, and respect others’ agency. The “coach approach” isn’t what’s called for in every life situation, but it’s useful more often than not!

(4) I’m rigorous. Clients and colleagues often name integrity and rigor as two of my strengths. As a mentor coach – who also happens to be a trauma-informed practitioner – I aim to embody Presence, self-trust, self-compassion, excellence without perfection, and relational repair. I also come prepared with a thorough understanding of ICF core competencies and current policies, as well as principles of effective adult learning.

  1. What makes you successful as a mentor coach?

Excellent question! The same as the above, plus organization and structure. My mentees sign contracts outlining the schedule and our mutual agreements. They receive a welcome email outlining next steps and what to expect. They receive a Google doc laying out the schedule and assignments, as well as links to the optional reading and videos. They receive lifetime access to my private “mentees only” webpage with regularly updated resources that support their ongoing development journey. I also provide a structured feedback process which enables mentees to provide and digest feedback – both celebration as well as areas for growth – in a “safe-enough” environment that supports connection as well as excellence.

  1. What’s your success rate?

Over the 300 hours I’ve invested working with nearly 100 mentees, to my knowledge all who have applied for an ICF credential have been successful.

  1. What makes a successful student in your program?

Wow, what a fantastic question! I’d say four things (again!): (1) Respecting the “container” we co-create. This includes being punctual, being present during the sessions (minimal distractions) and promptly signing up for coaching and client roles during our live coaching sessions.

(2) Co-creating community with others. The critical importance of relationship is why I hold 8-week group mentoring cohorts when ICF accepts only seven hours of group mentor coaching. The first week doesn’t count towards ICF hours, but it’s invaluable in building the trust, safety, and relationships that allow everyone (mentor included!) to make mistakes, learn, and grow.

(3) The ability to self-reflect and receive (and give!) feedback. Coaches who struggle to self-reflect will have challenges not only with receiving mentoring but with being effective coaches. And coaches who find it hard to provide themselves – or others – with constructive criticism and praise will struggle with mentor coaching, and with developing the essential skills of Coaching Mindset and Coaching Presence.

(4) [BONUS] Reading the optional materials and watching the videos! This isn’t required, but for newer or rusty coaches, reviewing the resources prior to each week’s focus competency can help mentees not only feel prepared, but arrive well-equipped to give and receive meaningful feedback.

What’s next?

Fortunately, the thrill was mutual, and Cora and her colleagues hired me as their mentor coach. Huzzah!

But if they hadn’t, it meant they found someone who was a better fit. Their four questions can lead you to that great fit, too. Even if it isn’t me!

Want to explore coaching or mentor coaching? Let’s talk! Drop me a line, or Book a call.

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