The Coaching Matrix

colored_puzzle_globe_1600_clr_13832The Coaching Matrix 

One of the most requested needs among coaches wanting to earn their ICF credentials is how to get hours of paid coaching experience.  After you get your initial training and before you become a credentialed coach, it can be difficult to find opportunities to coach for pay. 

This is where The Coaching Matrix can help.  Each semester (5 months) can provide you with 20 hours of real coaching experience with real clients and count those hours of experience toward ICF credentialing.

Here’s how it works:

  • Each semester lasts 5 months.
  • Each participant agrees to coach four times per month and to be coached four times per month during the 5 months.
  • Each matrix group will require a minimum of two (2) registered coaches. Pre-registration is required to form each group.
  • With a group of six (6), each participant is assigned a different client and will be a client with a different coach every month.
  • Every month there is a Q&A Learning Lab hosted by the coordinator for maximum learning. 

Here’s what it costs you:

  • Two (2) hours each week for 5 months. That’s one (1) hour as a coach, and one (1) hour as a client – every week!  This is a major commitment, so please count the cost before registering. 
  • Commitment to be a faithful client who will bring a real coachable topic to each coaching session.
  • $129 Registration Fee (A temporary $30 discount is offered if paid 15 days prior to the semester).  Note the fee covers the administration of the group and the monthly Learning Lab with an ICF credentialed coach.  The coaching is bartered coaching, meaning no one is paid directly to provide coaching.



  • How does this count as “paid coaching” if the coaches are not paid?

The International Coach Federation specifies that paid coaching includes hours of coaching for which the coach receives payment from the client (payment may be in any amount, or barter of goods or services, including coaching in exchange for coaching).

  • Who schedules the coaching sessions?

While the Coaching Matrix coordinator makes the coaching assignments, it’s up to the coach and the client to schedule the weekly calls.

  • What is the format of the coaching sessions?

All sessions are conducted by telephone and are very much like typical coaching sessions with normal clients. 

  • Couldn’t I just find someone to exchange coaching with?

You certainly can do that as a way of gaining coaching hours.  My personal experience has been that coaching-for-coaching arrangements looses steam after a while and doesn’t reap the number of hours or quality of experience as a more formal and structured process.

  • Do I coach the same person for 5 months?

Perhaps.  The schedule will be determined by the number of participants. If there are a minimum of six participants, you will work with five different clients and five different coaches.  Each round lasts a month.  If there are between 3 and 5 participants, a negotiated schedule will be set.

  • If none of the coaches are paid money, where does my money go?

The fee pays for the administration and leadership of the monthly Learning Labs.

  • What if my client quits on me or doesn’t show up for sessions?

Every group participant must be coached 4 hours each month to receive the committed hours.  If a client does not meet this requirement, he or she will be given a warning and an opportunity to make up the missed session.  Upon a second violation, the participant will be removed from the group and a new client must be found.  Otherwise, you will receive credit for the hours completed.

  • What happens in the Learning Lab?

The Learning Labs are monthly teleclasses during which you and other participants bring questions, challenges, and observations.  Your Learning Lab mentor will answer questions, give pointers, and discuss best practices based on what the participants raise.  Please note that while you are encouraged to participate in the Learning Labs, it is not a requirement.

  • What coaching topics are in/out of bounds as the client?

As the client, you promise to bring a real topic to each and every coaching session; this could include family, faith, profession, important relationships, health and well-being, important goals, and the list goes on and on.  The only topic that is discouraged is your own coaching (growing as a coach, developing your coaching practice, finding clients, etc.) since the goal is to provide real coaching experience with real clients on a wide range of issues.

  • Who will give me feedback on my coaching?

You are encouraged to ask your client for feedback, just as you would with any coaching client. In addition, if your client signs a release, you can send a recording of one of your coaching sessions to your Learning Lab mentor for a customized hour of feedback (an additional $250 Mentor fee applies).

  • How do I log these coaching hours?

You will treat each client as a real client (since they are) and track their name, contact information, start/end dates, and the total number of hours when you coached them so you can submit all of this information to the ICF when applying for your ACC, PCC or MCC.