Friday, May 20, 2011

ICF Definition of a Mentor Coach

Posted on Friday, May 20, 2011 by International Coach Federation

Greetings Colleagues,

In the April edition of Coaching World, ICF announced the approval of an improved ICF definition of Mentor Coach. As we continue on our journey toward improving the ICF Credential Program it is important that I provide the full context for this board decision.

Based upon the Credentialing and Program Accreditation Committee (CPAC) research, the following points are important and were considered in developing this policy change:
  • Engaging with a qualified mentor coach for the purpose of core coaching competency, skill and behavior development is recognized globally as an effective professional development activity;
  • The absence of a definition for "qualified" mentor coach has created inconsistency in the experience of being mentored everywhere in the world;
  • The brevity of the current definition does not provide guidance for a person to select a suitable mentor coach for professional development and/ or preparation for a credential exam;
  • That an ICF Credential is evidence of being a "qualified" mentor is valuable, it is not sufficient;
  • Outside of North America, no credential is required to be a "qualified" mentor coach;
  • Membership growth is higher outside of North America, e.g. during the first two quarters of 2011 the ratio is 39 percent North American to 61 percent in all other countries; and
  • The creation of specific competencies (skills and behaviors) of a qualified mentor coach is recommended along with a training requirement and an assessment process to demonstrate qualification.
CPAC recommended a three-phase approach. The global ICF Board of Directors endorsed and approved Phase I for immediate implementation in order to:
  • Improve access to higher quality mentor coaching outside of North America;
  • Create a clear, simple policy that is easy to understand everywhere in the world;
  • Provide guidance for an individual to select a qualified mentor coach that supports their professional development based upon their known needs and learning preferences; and
  • Establish a basis from which to develop Phases 2 and 3 without perpetuating known inconsistencies around the globe.
The announcement in the April edition of Coaching World introduced the rationale for Phase I and can be viewed at The policy change provides guidance for selecting a suitable mentor coach based upon experience and skills. The criteria were developed through dialogue with our large community of ICF Assessors and Faculty in ICF recognized training programs that currently provide mentor coach services. A waiting period is being established to respect individuals who are in the process of working with a mentor coach to complete a credential application process.

The committee is now working on Phase 2, to develop mentor coach competencies and will then proceed to Phase 3, to develop training and assessment processes and provide a globally consistent policy.

ICF is in the process of having the improved ICF definition of Mentor Coach policy translated into Spanish, French, German and Portuguese, which will be posted on as soon as it is available. In June, ICF will begin distributing a quarterly Credentialing Newsletter to provide continual updates on the work and accomplishments of the various CPAC Workgroups.

Janet M. Harvey, MCC
Global ICF President-Elect

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