The Ultimate Guide for Success as a Mentor Coach [2023 Edition]

Who needs a mentor coach?

Well, once you have figured out the answer to that question, you have identified your target audience!

Congratulations! You are well on the way for success.

I followed Don Kao, a Chinese American LGBT activist, around for weeks on an assignment from New York Times photo editor James Estrin. I captured this moment of Don helping a woman fill out paperwork. It exemplifies how hands on and willing to help Don is, especially among LGBTQ youth.
Image taken from

Who is a Mentor Coach?

According to this website, mentor coaching means being training specifically on your coaching skills. This can be while you are preparing to get certified as a coach. Instead of training on the usual coaching competencies, you get specific help on skills that you want to master. The usual coaching competencies relate to work goals, personal elements, life balance etc. But these topics are often unrelated to the development of your actual coaching skill.

In order to apply for an ICF credential, you should have been coached for a minimum of 10 hours over 3 months by a qualified Mentor Coach. This mentor coach should hold an ICF certification at the same or higher level than that which you are applying for.

A mentor coach provides opportunities to discuss each competency of each trainee coach. Together, they can figure out what competency means and the importance of a particular skill as a coach. This type of coaching enables a lot of sharing and facilitates learning easily.

Do you now see why mentor coaching is a powerful way to be successful in 2021?

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Why is a Mentor Coach Necessary?

How can you tell your clients about the absolute necessity of having a mentor coach?

Well, first let us understand why everyone in general need mentors.

There are some great reasons cited here. I have paraphrased some of the points below.

Rachel Louise Ensign of the Wall Street Journal said: “A mentor can help a young worker answer tough questions about his or her career path and get perspective on the industry. The relationship may even help you eventually land a new job.”

Some reasons that people seek out mentors include:

  1. Someone that will listen
  2. Someone that will share stories
  3. Someone that will keep you focused
  4. Someone to push you to do a little more and a little more
  5. Someone to provide perspective, but not an answer

According to this Harvard Business Review article, CEOs need mentors too!

The situation is no different for a coach. A mentor coach can help a trainee coachwork on honing her skills. It does not matter whether you are an executive, spiritual or success coach. All of these niches offer you the opportunity to work as a mentor coach.

Target Audience of a Mentor Coach

What is your target audience looking for in a mentor coach?

Once you have identified that, it is easier to tailor make your elevator pitch.

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Here are some tips to help you get the right clients and get noticed in a crowded market:

Build your brand

Your client will be looking for someone whose career they admire. Is that you? If not, work on brand building. In this case, your brand is you. Advertise your specific skills as a mentor coach. Network with your peers as well as new coaches.

Acknowledge the respect

Just as your coachee respects your work, let her know that you respect her interest. Remember that it is an honour to be considered for the role of a mentor coach. Find a way to thank your coachee for this opportunity!

Use your resources

A great way to find clients for a mentor coach is to look within the network. Which organizations or associations are you a part of? Which meetup groups or alumni circles are you a part of? Is there someone at your workplace who is looking for a mentor coach? Do not forget about reaching out to your friends and family. You never know where your next reference may come from! Do your research. Explore your options in membership-based coaching groups. In short, do not let any opportunity pass. Keep your killer elevator pitch ready at all times!

Be yourself

What do I mean by this? Well, it is simple. Your clients are looking for an authentic mentor coach who will add value to his/her life. You do not have to fake anything! Just let your true self show. Those who feel a genuine connect with your coaching journey and style will hunt you out. A golden rule to remember is: people forget the things you said. But they will not forget the way you made them feel.

Can you relate to these pointers? These are just a few pointers that can help your business as a mentor coach take off. If you have more specific questions about this blog, please do reach out.

Qualities of a Mentor Coach

What qualities and qualifications are your clients looking for in a mentor coach?

While there are no hard and fast rules about this, here are some things that you should know.

  • Irrespective of the niche, your clients are looking for experienced and knowledgeable mentor coaches. Sector experience may be relevant in some cases. If you have a target niche in mind, ensure that you highlight specific experience in that niche. What sets you apart from other trained mentor coaches? You may want to read more about niches in my blog The Ultimate Guide To Finding Your Coaching Niche.
  • Is your career graph inspiring? The truth is that most people love to hear about the rags-to-riches fairytale. Talk about your challenges and failings. These are the things that make you human. Your honesty will also showcase your authentic self.
  • Are you resourceful, driven and creative in your approach? If so, find a way to communicate that in your CV. There are no particular styles of coaching that are right or wrong for a mentor coach. What matters is that you display your true self. This will help a mentee identify which areas you can help in. A relationship between a mentor coach and client should be a perfect balance. This will help both of you get the most out of that coaching experience.
  • Be ready to be interviewed! Today’s mentees are smart. Expect a potential client to ask you questions about your coaching style, experience, case studies and testimonials.
  • You may need to consider a free consultation. Many clients would like to experience your coaching style in person to see if you are the right fit for them. There is no harm in allowing this. Agree on specific pointers that you would work on and get started!

In this context, check out my previous blog Top 10 Coaching Skills You Must Have as a Life Coach. I have mentioned several other qualities that you can imbibe as a mentor coach. These qualities are common for coaches across all coaching models.

There are several qualities that make for a good coach. You may want to refer to my blog on 21 Coaching Skills Every Successful Coach Needs and Top Qualities Of A Successful Coach.

These qualities mentioned are helpful for every type of coach, including a mentor coach.

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Is Marketing Important for a Mentor Coach?

First of all, let us address the most common question.

Is marketing going to help you be successful as a mentor coach? Will you earn enough money to have a comfortable life?

I have already answered this question in my blog Is Marketing Crucial to My Coaching Business.

In short, the answer is yes. Not just marketing, what you need now is online marketing. Brush up on your online marketing skills. This year has shown us the importance of continuing to work even while in isolation due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Businesses have shut down everywhere, causing global economies to falter. The only way you can survive in the new world is to move your business online.

Are you still on the fence about marketing? Well, I have some more news for you.

Here is another reason why marketing is considered important by experts.

A 2018 article states that two-thirds of adults in the United States (US) say that trust in a brand has a great deal (31%) or a lot (37%) of influence on their decision when making a big purchase, reports Survey Monkey. Adults in the United States are not alone in the importance they place on trust: a majority of respondents in the United Kingdom (57%) and Canada (69%) also say that trust in a brand has a great deal or a lot of impact on their decision-making.

This article also supports the importance of marketing right from the start.

“Building your brand is a crucial part of building your business. Questions you need to consider to build the foundation of both your business and brand include:

  • What are the needs of your target customers?
  • How do your competitors meet the needs of your target customers?
  • How can you help your target customers understand why your product or service is better than, or different from, the competition?”

I have written several marketing related blogs in which you will find tips about how to take your business to the next level. Use strategic marketing and brand building skills. Some of my earlier blogs related to marketing are here and here. These will show you how you can market your brand and stand out from the crowd as a mentor coach.

Coaching is a huge industry. This post claims that the life coaching industry has crossed the $1 billion dollar mark. The International Coach Federation boasts 53,300 members. It has a steady growth trend. In order for you to make your mark as a mentor coach, you really need to think outside the box!

Is it going to be worth your while? Yes, it will! The average income for life coaches ranges from $27,100 to $73,100. Specialty coaches can charge more than $100,000 annually. Only the sky is your limit if you can visualize a career as a successful mentor coach.

In this context, also check out my blog How to promote your life coaching business?. There are several ways to supplement your income as a mentor coach. Check out my blog, How To Create And Sell World-Class Coaching Products?. In it, I have mentioned some great products that you can offer.

Are Clients Looking for Qualifications in a Mentor Coach?

Till now, the coaching industry is unregulated. This means anyone can claim to be a coach.

However, some of your clients may be looking for trained coaches. Try to get certified as an ICF-accredited coach to better your chances as a mentor coach. You can also look for additional training courses.

Your next client will mostly come through recommendation or reference. Word of mouth goes a long way when it comes to choosing a mentor coach.

Your experience, marketing skills and good client recommendations will also decide how successful your coaching practice can be.

Watch my free webinar, build a strong online presence and let it help you grow your business.

Resources for a Mentor Coach

Keep updating yourself through reading. Research papers, opinion pieces and books are all great ways to keep yourself updated. Also use technology to help you in your career as a mentor coach.

I did a simple Google search and noticed several books and podcasts online. As a mentor coach, you may want to look up some of these.

Books to Read as a Mentor Coach

There are several recommended books for you online. However, these are the ones that I found particularly relevant.

This list by Forbes mentions 20 Books That Will Make You a Better Coach or Mentor. I have taken the liberty here to retain the author’s notes as well. The author explains the books and relevance beautifully. The books mentioned are:

The WE Gear: How Good Teammates Shift from Me to We by Lance Loya. Some of my favourite wisdom comes from Aristotle, who famously said that “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” As former college basketball coach Lance Loya shows, that’s just as true in business as it is in sports. Not everyone in your organization can be the star, but everyone can work toward being a great teammate. Loya’s book will help you make that happen.

Do It Scared: Finding the Courage to Face Your Fears, Overcome Adversity, and Create a Life You Love by Ruth Soukup. We all feel stuck from time to time. It’s something I wrestled with as I tried to get my company off the ground. In Do It Scared, Ruth Soukup outlines how stepping out of our comfort zones can sometimes be the best strategy for finding meaningful solutions. Not only is Soukup’s advice practical, it will make you and your mentees want to become better versions of yourselves.

Helping People Change: Coaching with Compassion for Lifelong Learning and Growth by Richard Boyatzis, Melvin Smith, and Ellen Van Oosten. As coaches, we all want to help people reach their full potential. This book serves up great examples on how to do exactly that. The authors show that the best way to help someone create meaningful change is to practice the same care and suggestions that you preach.

Learning to Lead: The Journey to Leading Yourself, Leading Others, and Leading an Organization by Ron Williams. This is the kind of book I wish I’d had on my bookshelf at the beginning of my career. The insights provided in Learning to Lead are great for leaders of any age, but I especially recommend this book to those who are just starting out. Ron Williams’s insights are at times counterintuitive, yet they are always inspiring.

Empower Your Thoughts: Control Worry and Anxiety, Develop a Positive Mental Attitude and Master Your Mindset by Scott Allan. Your mind is your most powerful asset, and in Empower Your Thoughts, Scott Allan shows you how to channel your thoughts into healthy and productive directions. I’m sure that, as a team leader, you always have ideas swirling in your head—I know I do! This book will help you take ownership of your thinking and harness it for good.

Behind the Scenes: Secrets from the Top Coaches, Experts, and Consultants by Kim Walsh Phillips, et al. When you’re in charge of a team, it can be hard to know where to turn for advice. I’ve certainly felt that way at times in my career. Luckily for folks like me, Kim Walsh Phillips has compiled some of the best advice from a wide array of experts. There’s page after page of actionable steps to help you lead your group more effectively.

Own Your Weird: An Oddly Effective Way for Finding Happiness in Work, Life, and Love by Jason Zook. In business, it can be hard to be yourself. There have been plenty of times when I’ve opted for the course that sounded right rather than the one that was true to myself. If only I had read this book by Jason Zook, who shows us how energizing it can be to blaze our own trails instead of following someone else’s tried-and-true route to success.

Start with Your People: The Daily Decision that Changes Everything by Brian Dixon. Relationships are key to any successful business, and when you’re overseeing a large team, making deep, personal connections can be tough. In this book, Brian Dixon discusses how his own mistakes and missteps provided a window into what matters most: his people. Then he shows you how to do better with yours.

Help Them Grow or Watch Them Go: Career Conversations Organizations Need and Employees Want by Beverly Kaye and Julie Winkle Giulioni. One challenge I face as a team leader and mentor is setting aside time to support the career development of my people. Fortunately, I’ve found that short conversations can be remarkably productive in driving engagement with my team members, which is why this book spoke to me. Beverly Kaye and Julie Winkle Giulioni outline three types of conversations that can help you boost your people’s awareness of their strengths, weaknesses, and interests.

Identity Leadership: To Lead Others, You Must First Lead Yourself by Stedman Graham. Before I could coach anyone else, I had to know myself first. That’s also the message in Stedman Graham’s latest book, which illustrates how self-improvement can be the first step to getting others to believe in your message. In order to lead a team successfully, Graham argues, personal accountability is a must.

Connect First: 52 Simple Ways to Ignite Success, Meaning, and Joy at Work by Melanie A. Katzman. I’ve found that sometimes one simple practice can go a long way toward helping someone find fulfillment in his or her work. This book offers 52 of them. In Connect First, Melanie Katzman uses real-life stories to show how you can forge connections that will make work more engaging for yourself and those around you.

The Coaching Effect: What Great Leaders Do to Increase Sales, Enhance Performance, and Sustain Growth by Bill Eckstrom and Sarah Wirth. Ever since I started leading a team, I’ve viewed myself as a coach. That’s because one of my top priorities has always been making my people better. In this book, Bill Eckstrom and Sarah Wirth use their research to show how specific coaching strategies can lead to positive outcomes for your team as a whole.

The Soul of a Team: A Modern-Day Fable for Winning Teamwork by Tony Dungy. Although Tony Dungy’s coaching has been specific to the gridiron, the former football coach provides useful advice for anyone in a leadership position. The Soul of a Team reminded me why I coach. Dungy uses a unique storytelling format to illustrate his leadership principles of selflessness, ownership, unity, and larger purpose.

Be Fearless: Change Your Life in 28 Days by Jonathan Alpert. We all have our fears, particularly those specific to the office. Jonathan Alpert’s book serves as a useful map for creating change by overcoming those fears. Not only will Be Fearless help you understand your own fears and how to conquer them, but it will also help you recognize how to address those held by others in order to achieve maximum results.

Mentors: How to Help and Be Helped by Russell Brand. To be an effective coach or mentor, you have to be honest. I always try to be as forthcoming as I can be when I’m dealing with team members because it builds trust. This deeply personal book shares experiences Russell Brand has had with impactful people in his life. Although Brand is often controversial, his book shows how being a positive force for someone can guide him or her to a better life.

When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing by Daniel H. Pink. Many of my successes in business—and many of the challenges I faced—can be directly attributed to timing. That’s why I found this book especially illuminating. In When, the always insightful Daniel Pink dives into the importance of good and bad timing and offers ways to help yourself and your mentees deal with less-than-ideal situations.

Clone Yourself: Build a Team that Understands Your Vision, Shares Your Passion, and Runs Your Business For You by Jeff Hilderman. One of the biggest mistakes I see entrepreneurs make is spending too much time working in their business rather than on it. Jeff Hilderman provides a useful guide for anyone looking to work more efficiently and effectively by offering tips on how to empower those around you to do the work that can set you free.

10 Steps to Successful Mentoring by Wendy Axelrod. As a mentor to other entrepreneurs, I’m always trying to help them lead thriving, impactful lives in business. Wendy Axelrod’s book is a great resource for making the most of your mentoring relationship. With Axelrod’s seven guiding principles, you’ll be able to steer your mentees toward specific goals that will help them unlock career success.

Contagious You: Unlock Your Power to Influence, Lead, and Create the Impact You Want by Anese Cavanaugh. I’ve found that the most effective leaders are those who have a deep and complete understanding of their true selves. Contagious You resonated with me, as Anese Cavanaugh writes about how leadership is not so much about what you do, but who you are. It’s a good lesson in authenticity for any budding leader.

The HeART of Laser-Focused Coaching: A Revolutionary Approach to Masterful Coaching by Marion Franklin. In my experience, coaching efforts are more successful when they focus on one or two key areas. That’s an idea that Marion Franklin’s book speaks to from front to back, outlining ideas that will help even the most experienced coaches maximize their time spent teaching. Best of all, the book asks questions throughout to help readers reflect on what they just learned.

Some other lists are here and here.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Who is a Mentor Coach?

A mentor coach provides opportunities to discuss each competency of each trainee coach. Together, they can figure out what competency means and the importance of a particular skill as a coach.

What makes a great coach and mentor?

Being resourceful, driven and creative will make you a great coach and mentor for helping your clients achieve their goals.

What qualities should a mentor have?

Irrespective of the niche, your clients are looking for experienced and knowledgeable mentor coaches. Sector experience may be relevant in some cases. You need to possess industry knowledge and be accountable for your clients to guide them.

What skills are important in a mentor coach?

Accountability, responsibility, active listening and experience are all important skills that a mentor coach needs to possess to direct his/her clients in addressing their problems.

How do I become an effective mentor coach?

Your experience, marketing skills and good client recommendations will also decide how successful your coaching practice can be.

How can I be a good mentor guide?

Keep updating yourself through reading. Research papers, opinion pieces and books are all great ways to keep yourself updated. Also use technology to help you in your career as a mentor coach.

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