Why you might need to find an ICF Mentor Coach, runs the gamut from self-improvement as a coach to necessity. I’m guessing you have a continual growth mindset. Plus, you might need mentor coaching hours to renew your International Coach Federation (ICF) Credentials. Or you need mentor coaching hours because you have a dream and you want to easily pass your ACC or PCC Credentials and level up your coaching professionalism. So, how you find a mentor coach is essential. The goal is that the Mentor Coach you choose will help you step across the threshold and support your continual success.

“I have not passed my PCC application twice! It’s expensive, and I need to know that the money I am spending will help me be successful!” Mentor Coaching is an investment in your coaching skills, and a great mentor coach can support you crossing the threshold to your next credential.

What to Look for in Your Mentor Coach

Here is a checklist that might help you in your decision-making process.

  • Does the Mentor Coach have specialized training? Powerful Mentor Coaching doesn’t happen without a rich understanding of the Core Competencies, and that typically requires extra training.
  • Do they specialize in mentoring coaches?
  • Are you going to be sending them your client call recordings and doing self-assessments through the engagement? This is crucial to your success in passing the ACC and PCC Markers, you and your mentor need to be listening to the same calls, and you need to be developing your insights into how your coaching fits within the ICF Core Competency framework.
  • Do they offer you a framework for assessing yourself in relationship to the Core Competencies? Do you get a worksheet that you can use as your development tool?
  • What do they offer as part of their package? For example a sample client release: When you record clients, for supervision, mentoring or credentialing, you need a release that gives you permission to record and share the recording.
  • How long have they been coaching?
  • What do they do to continue developing their own coaching growth process? For example, are they taking advanced coaching classes for continual improvement? Do they get their own coaching? Do they teach at a Coaching School? All these things keep people in a growth process.
  • Are they an Active Member of ICF? Many coaches join ICF for their credentials and then don’t renew for three years. That is a bit of an ethical issue, especially for someone teaching the Core Competencies. I would ask, are you an active ICF member?
  • You might ask about some of their success stories, to get a feel for who they are.
  • After talking to several Mentor Coaches, and I recommend that you chat with at least three different people, consider who you feel most comfortable. As in any development situation, you will get improvement feedback. You need to feel comfortable in hearing that from whoever you work with. You can often assess this by noticing how you feel when you talk with people. Notice your internal sense, listen to your gut.
  • Will this person help you to stretch in your growth? I have spoken to many coaches who got mentoring from a friend, it didn’t cost much, but most of the conversation was personal, and the passing ratio for this type of mentoring is low.

Why Should I find a Mentor Coach?

Each of us accomplishes more with support. What matters is having a supportive environment so you can do more than you might do alone.

Two Are Better than One

Let’s look at an example: You have a beautiful draft horse, and this horse can pull 1,500 pounds, but you need to pull more weight than that, so you gather up a second draft horse that can also pull 1,500 pounds. You might assume that between the two horses, they could now pull 3,000 pounds, right? Well, yes, they can, but here psychology steps in, so, in fact, the two horses can pull something closer to 4,500 pounds. Because something fascinating happens when the horses work together, they are empowered and benefit from the teamwork. And, even more interestingly, if the horses have trained together and developed their relationship, they can pull more and faster than they could have pulled alone.


Take your time and interview a few Mentor Coaches, see who resonates with your learning style. Your learning will be deepened by your sense of feeling safe to learn. So, pay attention to whom you chat with and how you feel afterward. Psychological Safety is a real component of learning, honor yours.


Lyssa deHart, LICSW, MCC, author of StoryJacking: Change Your Dialogue, Transform Your Life and the Reflective Coach, is a Confidence Coach, Certified Mentor Coach, Coaching Super-Vision Partner, ICF PCC Assessor, and coaching educator. Using her understanding of the ICF Core Competencies and her knowledge of Neuroscience, Lyssa works with Professional Coaches to expand the capacity to partner with their clients through how they show up and hold the space for those with whom they work.

Lyssa is the creator of the Power of Metaphor Certification Program. Giving coaches new ways to tune their ears to hear the powerful metaphors their clients bring forward and discovering how to leverage the important metaphors to create stronger agreements, build trust and safety, allow the client to lead, and ultimately evoke powerful embodied awareness.

If you would like to meet to see if we are a good fit, let's do it!

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article originally posted on Dec 2, 2019. Updated April 23, 2023.

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