ICF Credentialing and the Benefits of Coach Mentoring | By Barry Switnicki MCC, M.Ed

coach mentoring another coachSo, you have decided to "bite the bullet" and become credentialed through the International Coach Federation. Congratulations!

If you are taking what the ICF consider an Accredited Coach Training Program (ACTP), it will have a built-in coach mentoring component providing trained and experienced mentors that are approved by the ICF. It's still a wise move to find out the credentials, training and experience of the mentors. See the 12 Step Checklist - What to Look For in a Great Coach Mentor for more information.

If you are going through the ICF ACC Portfolio Route the current requirements (as of May 2018) are as follows:

  • At least 60 hours of coach-specific training with robust documentation.
  • 10 hours of Mentor Coaching over a minimum of three months to be documented on your online application. Your Mentor Coach must be an ACC, PCC or MCC in good standing.
  • Coaching log demonstrating 100 hours (75 paid) of coaching experience with at least eight clients following the start of your coach-specific training. At least 25 of these hours must occur within the 18 months prior to submitting the application for the credential.
  • Performance evaluation (audio recording and written transcript of coaching session to be uploaded with your application).
  • Completion of the Coach Knowledge Assessment (CKA).
  • Fee.

If you are applying for your ACC or PCC through the portfolio route, or renewing your ACC credential, one of the challenges is getting your ten hours of coach mentoring. Although there are training programs and certifications specifically for Coach Mentors, there really is no oversight by the ICF. Mentors are not required to have any training or experience as a mentor. Although you could mentor with an ACC level coach, I would strongly recommend that you hire mentors that are credentialed at the PCC or MCC level and ensure they have lots of experience and skill both as a coach and also as a mentor.

Seven of the ten required mentor hours to achieve the ACC or PCC designation may be group mentoring with no more than ten people in the group. The other three hours must be one-on-one coach mentoring. This must be done over a minimum of three months. I recommend looking for group mentoring in smaller groups. There are mentors out there that offer the group mentoring component with four, five or six mentees, but if you go much smaller than that, you run the risk of not getting the "group energy" that is intended.

The Benefits of Coach Mentoring Include:

  • Supporting you in building your coaching skills in the different competency areas in a measurable way.
  • Increasing your knowledge, awareness and proficiency in the area of ethics and best practice.
  • Many mentors supply one or both of your recommendation letters. This is usually done at no charge and ethical mentors will ensure they have actually heard you coach at the required level.
  • The best mentors will also have a focus on supporting you to build pro-active self-care into your coaching and practice.
  • And although there is no requirement, many mentors will supply either recordings of the mentor sessions or written reports indicating what level you are coaching at in the different competency areas and what specifically you can do to build your competency in a measurable manner.

There are many great mentors out there - and many who are not so great. Always remember - Buyer Beware! Be sure to do your homework as this decision is a wise investment in your and your client's future. And above all, make sure you "click" with the mentor you choose!

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Contributing Author:

Barry Switnicki MCC, M.Ed.L. BCC, Cert. Con. Res. transforms leaders and coaches globally through coaching, training, coach mentoring and supervision.Learn more about Barry & see all their articles here >>


    • Emma-Louise

      Thanks Wendy! We have a 12 Step Mentor Coach Checklist coming next week. Let me know what you think of it - and if there's anything missing! Warmly, EL

  1. Kylie Dotts

    It's really interesting how you said that you have to get ACTP coach training experience before you can fulfill all the requirements. I imagine that it would be pretty difficult to get that experience without some outside help. Having a mentor you can have help you with those things as you are going through school would probably be a good way to ensure that it is easier.


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