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An Introduction to ICF Mentor Coaching

Sep 13, 2023

What’s mentor coaching and why should any coach need it?

In this blog, we’ll explore what you can expect in an ICF mentor coaching group and how it can benefit your coaching career.

Mentor coaching is an essential component in the journey of becoming a certified coach through the International Coach Federation (ICF). It is a process that provides aspiring coaches with valuable feedback, guidance, and support to enhance their coaching skills and meet the ICF’s high standards. 

Much like the rigorous practice leading up to a tennis match, your coaching journey benefits from dedicated training with a coach over a defined period. It’s during this time that you gain valuable insights into your blind spots, areas for improvement, and your strengths.


What is an ICF mentor coaching group?

An ICF mentor coaching group is a structured and collaborative learning environment where a group of aspiring coaches work with a seasoned coach who holds an ICF credential.

  • In this scenario the aspiring coach is a mentee. 
  • The seasoned coach is a mentor. 

Within these groups, the main aim is to help mentees develop their coaching skills, improve their understanding of the ICF Core Competencies, and prepare them for ICF certification.


Here’s what you can expect in an ICF mentor coaching group

ICF Mentor Coaching structure

At Bailey Balfour, the complete duration of a mentor coaching session is an hour, accommodating a maximum of eight participants. Within this group, four attendees will engage in a selection process to decide whether they wish to assume the role of a coach or a client. 

Meanwhile, the remaining four participants will serve as observers, tasked with offering constructive feedback based on their observations.

Coaches will have a dedicated 10-minute window to conduct their coaching session with their chosen clients, followed by an additional 10 minutes allocated for feedback and discussion.

Expert guidance

Your mentor coach, who serves as the group’s lead facilitator, is an accomplished coach who has successfully obtained an ICF credential. At Bailey Balfour, our mentor coaches are esteemed faculty members responsible for overseeing live training sessions and holding ICF credentials at the PCC level and above.

They provide invaluable expertise and profound insights into the coaching profession, assisting you in digging deeper into the intricacies of coaching and guiding you through the ICF certification process with confidence.

You can learn more about our mentor coaches here


Group interaction

Mentor coaching groups typically comprise a small number of coaches, fostering an environment where group interaction is possible, unlike in large group setting. 

This interaction brings forth diverse perspectives, facilitates peer feedback, and encourages the sharing of valuable experiences. At Bailey Balfour, our approach stirs away from simulations or role-playing exercises in favor of participants sharing real-life challenges. 

This choice fosters an even more intimate and supportive learning environment, where you’ll have the opportunity to coach individuals dealing with authentic problems.

Rest assured, we uphold the code of confidentiality with utmost commitment as coaches. It’s important to note that there will be consequences if you violate the code of conduct.



Mentor coaching groups establish a framework that promotes accountability. Within this structure, you will establish goals for your growth as a coach, and the mentor coaches will play an instrumental role in keeping you on course and evaluating your advancement. It’s essential to be transparent about your areas for improvement as a coach and communicate them openly from the outset.


Practice coaching

As a mentee, you’ll have the opportunity to practice your coaching skills with your peers in the group. This practical experience allows you to receive feedback not only from your mentor but also from your fellow mentees. In Bailey Balfour, you are required to coach 6 times and be a client 6 times out of your 22 hours of required hours to graduate. 


Constructive feedback

Feedback is a cornerstone of mentor coaching. You can expect detailed feedback on your coaching sessions, focusing on your strengths and areas for improvement. Feedback is crucial for your growth as a coach. 

ICF mentor coaching groups places a strong emphasis on the ICF Core Competencies, which are the foundation of professional coaching. You’ll receive guidance on how to apply these competencies effectively in your coaching practice.Recognizing that new coaches may not immediately meet the coaching standards during their initial weeks, our faculty members in Bailey Balfour will meet you where you are in your development. 

They will deliver feedback with empathy, giving you confidence in your abilities while also motivating you to push your boundaries and deliver your best performance in the next session. You can hear more about the experience from one of our graduates from our programme! 


To sum up… 

An ICF mentor coaching group is a valuable resource for coaches seeking to refine their skills, and advance their coaching careers. You can also take the opportunity to expand your repertoire of coaching subjects for mastery.

Mentor coaching is not just a certification requirement; it’s an investment in your coaching journey. To help you get started on your coaching journey, we’re offering a free preview of our coach certification programme. Observe a live mentor coaching session and learn how you can refine your coaching abilities alongside fellow participants and a seasoned master coach.

Get instant free access to our programme here.  

Train with leader’s trusted coach certification academy. Join our upcoming cohort and become a certified coach in 6 months. Find out more

Jean Balfour ICF Accredited Professional Coach and Managing Director of Bailey Balfour

Jean Balfour

Founder & Programmes Director


About the Author

Jean Balfour is Managing Director of Bailey Balfour and Programme Director of our ICF Accredited Coach Training Programmes. Jean is passionate about helping people to have good conversations both at work and at home. She believes that coaching is a life skill and that you never regret learning to coach.

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