Mentoring vs Coaching

Mentor Coaching vs. Coaching Supervision

What’s the difference between Mentor Coaching and Coaching Supervision?

In my years of working with coaches, I’ve been asked this question often, so I thought I would clarify the two.  While this reading may be a ‘bit dry’, hopefully it will help you to understand the definitions and differences as laid out by the International Coaching Federation[1].

In my coaching journey I’ve hired Coach Mentors as well as Coaching Supervisors.  I’ve found both to be invaluable to my growth and development as a professional coach.  Now it’s my turn to give back!  I work with coaches both as a Coach Mentor and as a Coaching Supervisor because I’ve experienced the value firsthand and want to support elevating our coaches and our profession!

If you want to learn more about Mentor Coaching or Coaching Supervision with me, and what each will offer, reach out to shawn.preuss@preusscoachleader.com

 Mentor Coaching

Mentor Coaching for an ICF Credential consists of coaching and feedback in a collaborative, appreciative and dialogued process based on an observed or recorded coaching session to increase the coach’s capability in coaching, in alignment with the ICF Core Competencies.

  • Mentor Coaching provides professional assistance in achieving and demonstrating the levels of coaching competency and capability demanded by the desired credential level.
  • Mentor Coaching is meant to be educational and provide professional assistance to the mentee in achieving and demonstrating the levels of coaching competency the individual needs.
  • Mentor Coaching means that the individual is being coached on their coaching skills rather than on practice building, life balance or other topics unrelated to the development of an individual’s coaching skills.

Mentor Coaching should take place over an extended time (three-month minimum) in a cycle that allows for listening and feedback from the Mentor Coach while also allowing reflection and practice on the part of the individual being mentored

ICF requires 10 hours of Mentor Coaching for renewal and for credential

Mentor Coaches must hold an ICF Credential to provide Mentor Coaching services for initial credentialing and/or credential renewal.  ACC Coaches will be required to renew their credential at least once before they are eligible to provide Mentor Coaching for ICF Credentialing or credential renewal


Coaching Supervision

Coaching Supervision is a collaborative learning practice to continually build the capacity of the coach through reflective dialogue for the benefit of both coaches and clients.

Coaching Supervision creates a safe environment for the coach to share their successes and failures in becoming masterful in the way they work with their clients.

When a coach brings his or her work to coaching supervision, the collaborative learning dialogue between coach and coaching supervisor may:

  • Assure best practice coaching and ensure continual growth and development of the coaching practice
  • Provide an opportunity to better understand self, the client, the client’s system and the choices made with the engagement
  • Raise awareness of personal reactions to the client and/or the system and provide a safe place for exploring these
  • Serve as a restorative function
  • Coaching supervision is a recognized part of CPD (continuing professional development) and is distinct from Mentor Coaching required for an ICF Credential.

Coaching Supervision and Credentialing

ICF recognizes Coaching Supervision as an important element of a coach’s professional development, learning and growth.

ICF Credential-holders may submit up to 10 hours of Coaching Supervision (delivering or receiving) as Core Competency Continuing Coach Education (CCE) units toward their credential renewal.

Coaching Supervision may include:

  • Exploring the coach’s internal process through reflective practice
  • Reviewing the coaching agreement and any other psychological or physical contacts, both implicit and explicit
  • Uncovering blind spots
  • Ethical issues
  • Ensuring the coach is “fit for purpose” and perhaps offering accountability
  • Looking at all aspects of the coach and client’s environment for opportunities for growth in the system

Difference Between Mentor Coaching and Supervision

A Mentor Coach primarily supports a coach in achieving the levels of coaching competency and building skills in the Core Competencies. Coaching Supervision offers a coach a richer and broader opportunity for support and development. In Coaching Supervision, there may be a greater focus on reflective practice and the being of the coach. Coaching Supervision provides a wide-angled lens to review one’s coaching practice with a fellow practitioner.

If you are a new coach, reach out for Coaching Supervision!  If you are renewing your credential, don’t forget the required 10 hours of Mentoring and reach out.  Shawn.preuss@preusscoachleader.com




[1] International Coaching Federation; https://coachfederation.org/mentor-coaching


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