by Nina East
If you are considering hiring a mentor
coach, then you are already committed to
your professional growth and to delivering
outstanding service to your clients. A strong,
effective working relationship is essential
for you to learn and grow and ultimately
it’s best for your clients as well.
The relationship you have with your mentor
coach will be different from your relationship
with other coaches you may hire. Your mentor
coach will be helping you practice, expand,
and refine your coaching skill. For this
reason, a mentor coach is more like a trainer
or teacher, providing clear, specific supervision
and instruction on coaching methods and
Selecting a mentor coach can be an exciting
and daunting project. Not only do you have
to identify the right person(s) to work
with based on your specific needs, you also
have to build an effective relationship.
For many coaches, this is the first time
they have hired another coach, and it is
important to know what to expect. This will
help you make the right hiring decision.
So what should you expect from
a mentor coach?
A good mentor coach gives direct
feedback with specific examples
and clear alternatives. You may need to
prepare for this. Mentor coaches, while
kind and compassionate, are there to help
you improve your skills and the results
you are getting with clients. If you tend
toward the sensitive side, discuss this
with the prospective mentor and get a
feel for their style.
A good mentor coach tells it
like it is. It is imperative
that a mentor coach is comfortable giving
you the tough feedback and doing so in
a way that is helpful and productive.
You should expect your mentor coach to
support their points with clear, specific
examples. They should be able to tell
you what is working—and why it is working.
Likewise, they need to be able to tell
you what is not working and why. If they
can't do this concisely and directly,
they may not be the best mentor coach.
good mentor coaching relationship is a clearly defined relationship.
Without clear definition,
there is too much room for misunderstanding
and unmet expectations. The experienced
mentor coach will initiate this discussion
at the beginning. You’ll need to
know at least: How often will you meet?
How often can you contact your mentor
between sessions? How will you receive
feedback (written, oral, or a combination)?
Be sure the mentor you select makes defining
the relationship an early priority.
Good mentor coaches hold themselves
to high standards. The best ones
continue to work on their skill development,
as well as personal and professional development.
Ask your prospective mentors what they
do for their own professional development.
They should be able to answer this easily.
Hopefully their answer will inspire you
as well. Most of them will have mentors
or a highly accountable mastermind peer
A good mentor coach helps you
choose what to focus on during
a coaching session. A mentor coach is
what I like to call an "intimate
outsider." They are outside your
business, but have an intimate knowledge
of your coaching and its effectiveness.
They are committed to your success, and
so collaborate with you in designing the
mentor sessions. While you should always
arrive prepared, your mentor should as
A good mentor coach has the ability
to transition the relationship
when appropriate. At some point, you and
your mentor coach will stop being mentor
and protégé, and the relationship
will transform into something else. Often
mentors and protégés become
peers or collaborators on projects. Sometimes
the goals of the relationship are met
and it is time to find a new mentor. Either
way, you should expect your mentor coach
to handle this with grace and ease. The
best mentor coaches will talk about this
at the beginning of the relationship.
They won't be making any promises, but
they will talk about the possible “exit
scenarios,” which will give you an
even greater sense of their integrity
clear about your goals. Establish bench
marks for the process. Be prepared for your
sessions, and take advantage of the process.
The right mentor coaching relationship can
make your business blossom.
About the author:
Nina East is the founder of MyMentorCoach.com
and the Lead Certifier for the International
Association of Coaching. To hear tips on preparing for coach certification
using IAC Coaching Masteries™ and get tips on
certification, visit http://www.MyMentorCoach.com.