The Spirit of MentorCoach: An Overview

In 1997, Ben Dean, Ph.D., MCC, founded MentorCoach (MCP), a virtual university that trains helping professionals throughout North America and internationally to become coaches. Since 1997, MentorCoach training has helped more than 2000 professionals incorporate coaching as a full-time or part-time practice specialty.

We are a supportive community with a thriving students-only web site, list serves, regular meetings at conferences, annual cruises, fun, laughter, and as much creative community building as we can dream up. Our classes are targeted, on-point, and small. Our instructors are seasoned coaches, and our classes teach the ICF core coaching competencies – a deliberate choice on our part. Our certification process closely mirrors that of the ICF as well.

In addition, we offer face-to-face training in remote locations. Ben has led 120 or more coaching workshops for thousands of participants throughout the US -- in cities from Boston and New York to Miami, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles (and even once in beautiful Puerto Vallarta!). Ben also has been a presenter at the annual conferences of the American Psychological Association and the International Coach Federation.

And through our two eNewsletters, the Coaching Toward Happiness News and the All But Dissertation Survival Guide, MentorCoach now speaks to more than 100,000 readers every month.


The first step in the MentorCoach Training Program is "The Foundations," a 31-week teleconference training program focused on teaching students (1) individual and group coaching skills, (2) marketing that is congruent with their personality and values, and (3) ethical approaches to coaching -- all while providing a rich environment of social support in both the student's MCP Foundations Class and in the larger MCP Community.

Each Foundations class is designed to cover specific ICF core coaching competencies. The Foundations Program provides 31 hours of coach-specific training toward MentorCoach Certification with six modules on business development.

In addition to "The Foundations," we offer extraordinary "Master Classes" for students interested in continuing the development of their coaching skills and in obtaining MentorCoach Certification.

Our Commitment to Service

An underlying philosophy at MentorCoach is to both train excellent coaches and to provide pro bono and sliding-scale coaching services to underserved populations.

Over the last eight years, MentorCoach graduates have served graduate students, most of whom had limited funds, by coaching them to finish their doctorates. Often these students have the intellectual firepower to finish, but they lack the confidence, courage, persistence, or the practical knowledge to negotiate their way through the dissertation maze.

Since 1997, we have published "The All But Dissertation Survival Guide," a twice-a-month e-Newsletter that now reaches 11,800 students in 87 countries on six continents. The content is designed for those students who have finished every requirement for their PhD except for the dissertation itself.

Many of the issues of the ABDSG are written by MentorCoach students and program graduates. The readership continues to grow each month, despite the fact that successful candidates who finish usually unsubscribe (often with warm letters of appreciation).

But more important, MentorCoach students have provided these students with thousands of hours of free and sliding-scale individual coaching.

In addition, our students and graduates have contributed hundreds of hours of free coaching groups to grad students with pressing needs and few funds. (Topics have included "Done is Better Then Perfect," “Are We There Yet,” “Success is not an Accident,” etc.)

One of the most rewarding experiences our MCP students and graduates have is when a young ABD – perhaps one whom they have coached for years – finally finishes and receives that Ph.D. Reading the letters of appreciation from subscribers to the ABDSG and from our successful graduate student clients make this whole enterprise worthwhile.

Here's an example.

Hi Ben --- I successfully defended my dissertation last month. It will be filed before the end of July and I will have my diploma by August! Your newsletter helped immensely as did getting involved in a tele-workshop led by your students. Following my time with this group I worked closely with one of your coaches, Gil Hoffer whom I can't say enough good things about! You are doing a wonderful thing for ABDs ---especially those who are working jobs away from their program.

I extend to you a heartfelt thanks and wish you all the best!!

Nourishing the MentorCoach Community

We believe that the joy in a Coach Training program resides in the love, connection, and professional and personal support among its students and graduates. We are always looking for new ways to build support and community. Here are some of the ways that we have found nourishing and helpful so far:

  1. Programs are designed to keep a single cohort of students together for a full 31 weeks to foster connection.

    Teachers understand that one of their responsibilities is to provide a safe secure place where no one is publicly called to task for a mistake, where confidentiality and individual comfort levels are protected, and where friendships can be nourished. Several of our classes with students from four time zones have even gotten together for face-to-face reunions.

  2. Students are encouraged to connect through class rosters, paired homework partners, unmoderated class list serves, and a community list serve that allows students and graduates to connect with each other at any time.

  3. Students, graduates and teachers meet regularly at state and national conferences.

  4. We have gone on MentorCoach Cruises that began in in 2003. Close to 100 graduates and family members attended the first Annual Conference/Cruise from Seattle to Alaska. Each day included two hours of coach training and innumerable hours of networking and fun. (We even managed to get every single role in the US Amsterdam Rock and Roll Oldies performance---in costumes ranging from Elvis to Tiny Tim.)

We have found at MentorCoach that face-to-face connections cement the relationships that have already been formed over the phone and the Internet.

In short, we believe that relationships are the lifeblood of MentorCoach, and we do all we can to nourish them among our community.

Helping Bring Coaching to the World

Finally, MentorCoach seeks to add its voice to those who would share the strengths and wonder of coaching with the world.

We’re happy to spread the word in the press. MentorCoach has been cited in Time Magazine where we were one of three organizations singled out as exceptional training resources for coaches. We have also received coverage in The Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, on PBS and in dozens of regional and local media.

Our newsletter, Coaching Toward Happiness, is focused on applying positive psychology to coaching, work, and life.

Our outreach effort to graduate students, the All But Dissertation Survival Guide, now reaches more than 11,800 graduate students in every major American university and in 87 other countries.

MentorCoach has provided thousands hours of pro bono and sliding scale coaching to the ABD community.

And what’s even most important – our students and graduates, through their skill and joy in coaching, are warm and effective ambassadors for coaching with all they meet.

Please know that we take seriously our responsibility to promote coaching in a professional and principled manner. Additionally our students and graduates coach in alignment with the code of ethics of the International Coach Federation and with the ethical codes of their professionals associations, (e.g., APA, NASW, NBCC).

In short, we in the MentorCoach community are passionate about coaching. We are a community of coaches on the path of lifelong learning and growth. And in our community of friendship and shared support, we love to share the promise of coaching with the world.

Ben Dean, Phd


Member - International Coach Federation

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