Maybe you’re seeking a credential and need to fulfill your mentor coaching requirements.
Perhaps, you’re looking to strengthen your coaching skills and take your business and earning ability to a higher level. No matter your reason for seeking a mentor, there is one key question: How do you go about finding one?
While the idea might seem overwhelming at first, breaking the process down into manageable chunks will allow you find your mentor coach with ease and confidence!
Think About ‘What,’ not ‘Who’
Before you begin thinking about “who”, it’s important to think about “what”. What type of person do you want to work with? Until you know the qualities you’re looking for, you could interview all the mentor coaches in the world and not be sure you’ve found the right one.
So, step one, is to get clear about your requirements and needs.
The main areas to examine are their experience, qualifications, methodology, and chemistry. Let’s talk first about experience and qualifications.
Defining the experience you’d like your mentor to have is the first step. After all, the VERY reason you are seeking a mentor is because of their unique experience.
If you’re seeking a credential, you will need a PCC or MCC coach. If you are simply looking to advance your skills, ask yourself what type of coach you would prefer learning from (leadership coach, team coach, life coach, spiritual coach?) What specialization will mesh with your own coaching orientation while still expanding your horizons?
If you are looking to build revenue, think about what a successful practice looks like to you and see if their practice aligns with your vision. Look at how they have built their business.
How many clients do they coach and what type? You want someone who is powerful, professional and successful in their own right.
Be sure to ask your potential mentor about their experience in mentoring, assessing, and teaching other coaches! Coaching clients is one thing. Mentoring coaches is another.
They are different skill sets, so determine if your potential mentor meets your needs in both areas. Do they mentor coaches “ad hoc” or do they have a fully thought-out program replete with resources and tools to help you succeed?
Once you know your mentor’s experience and qualifications, the next important area to think about is how you like to learn. Think back on past relationships—work or school—to reflect on the teaching styles that have worked best for you.
Do you like to listen, reflect, and digest or do you like to dive in and work through information in a more kinesthetic way? Do you prefer someone who is laid back or do you need someone to push your boundaries to help you achieve new heights? Thinking about how you best learn will help you avoid a mistake.
Find out how the mentoring is structured. How long are the sessions? Are they group sessions or one on one? What do you actually do in each session–learn competencies and practice, or all practice? How will they measure your progress? How often? Do they provide you with written or verbal feedback?
Using Intuition to Detect Chemistry
Now it’s time to find and select your mentor! I suggest interviewing at least three coaches and starting with the basic questions about the coach’s background, training, and credentials to find out if they meet your first level of requirements.
What personality will you work best with? Think about the people who naturally bring out the best in you. What dynamic would make for a good flow of information and learning?
Does this person really get you? How do you feel when you are around them? Do they see you for who you really are? Do they believe in your potential? Do you feel safe with this person? Was there as easy flow of communication? Will you be able to be open and honest with them? Are you satisfied with their level of transparency? Can they see your blindspots? Can they hear beyond your words to help you identify your personal obstacles to breakthrough coaching? Can they take you where you want to go?
Even if a coach has the experience and qualifications you’re seeking, if something doesn’t feel right, heed that feeling. Taking time for reflection after an interview will help you hear what your intuition thinks while processing the facts you’ve gathered.
Selecting a mentor coach is NOT just picking the person with the most experience or selecting someone based on a great recommendation. Your mentor coach should be someone you feel safe with, who can also firmly but respectfully push you out of your comfort zone. You should feel as though you want to emulate some of their coaching behaviors. Not only do they have to meet your criteria on paper, they also have to light a spark in you!
Taking time to think about the qualities you’d like in a mentor coach before you start the search and then reflecting on the facts and feelings after each interview will empower you to find the coach who will propel you to the next level in your coaching, practice, and career.