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ICMA / Career Network / Coaching / 1-1 Coaching

1-1 Coaching

Are you looking for personal guidance in your local government career? 1-1 Coaching may be great for you.

Welcome to 1-1 coaching!

Below please find details of how best to take advantage of this great resource. CoachConnect, our new digital matchmaking method, will help you find a coach. This is a tool we're piloting while we design a custom solution. You will see (soon) a survey link to offer your input on CoachConnect. You can also email any feedback or issues to!

What's the benefit of 1-1 coaching?

Volunteer Coaches can help you chart a path in local government. They also can help you find information you need. Rather than being "Answer Persons," good Coaches guide you to find the answers that are right for you.

Coaching offers value for people at any stage in their careers. As in sports, coaching helps even the best players do better. Why? Because everyone can benefit from Coaches who can help them see their situation and opportunities from a fresh perspective.

What do you do in a coaching session?

Coaching sessions can take many forms. Some are casual, informal networking and check-ins. See the two-page handout for Being a Great Coach and a Winning Player. Other pairs set up a more formal relationship and continue over time. See the "ABCs of 1-1 Coaching. You also may choose to get perspectives from more than one Coach.


There are three ways to find a coach:

  1. Tap your personal network or ask someone in your ICMA State Association to suggest a Coach for you.
  2. Use our pilot CoachConnect platform linked on the menu, or by visiting You will need to use your ICMA login credentials (member or non-member) and then complete a separate coaching profile, either as a coach or player - or both , to get started. All coaches will be vetted by ICMA or our State Association Coaching Partners, but you will receive an email when your profile has been approved.
  3. Review the volunteer Coaches listed in the Coaches Gallery. Most of the current Coaches are in California where the Coaching Program began. We are encouraging other ICMA State Association Coaching Partners to nominate additional volunteer Coaches. All of the Coaches in the Coaches Gallery have volunteered to help rising stars and colleagues in the field. You'll see that there are Coaches from different types and sizes of local government and different stages within them. You are welcome to sort through the Coaches Gallery yourself and identify prospects.
  4. Tap the ICMA Senior Advisors in a state of interest to you to help you find a match and perhaps offer a warm introduction for you, if you like. You can find them through the state association websites.


You can contact them directly via phone (recommended) or email. CoachConnect will broker the initial exchange by email, but both parties will then follow-up directly for scheduling.


Our Coaches Gallery profiles 100 senior managers at multiple levels who have volunteered to serve as coaches. We are migrating all the coaches in the gallery to CoachConnect, but the Coaches Gallery will remain up for the time being.

watch videos to be a great coach and a winning player

Learn the critical elements for productive and enjoyable 1-1 Coaching. You can watch them on your own or as a team. If you want to jump to a particular insight or resource, click on "Watch on YouTube" mode, which will give you access to an index of topics by time in the YouTube description. Click on the time segment for what you'd like to see.

Here's the introductory video on "Being a Great Coach and a Winning Player." You'll enjoy being both.

how can you be a great coach?

A Coach can be a wonderful catalyst for a Player's growth. See what will help you enjoy this valuable role.

how can you be a winning player?

A little preparation will help you get more value from coaching. See some things you can do.

would you like a proven template for a coaching conversation?

Insights from neuroscience, psychology, and years of successful coaching results provide a foundation for effective coaching. With the two-page Talent Catalyst Conversation outline , you can tap a script with 10 steps that a Coach and Player can complete within an hour. The following video provides a live, unrehearsed smaple of a 39-minute coaching conversation.

would you like to be a volunteer coach?

The ICMA State Association Coaching Partners are vetting seasoned professionals interested in being volunteer coaches for listing in the Coaches Gallery. Please contact your ICMA state association.

FAQs about 1-1 coaching

Do I need to be a member of ICMA to participate in 1-1 Coaching?

No. Due to the generosity of the sponsors and partners for the ICMA Coaching Program and volunteer coaches, you do not need to be a member. Since ICMA membership has many benefits, we encourage you to consider joining.

What's the difference between a coach, a catalyst, and a mentor?

Some people use "coach" and "mentor" interchangeably. In the ICMA Coaching Program, we use the term "coach" to refer to someone who is helping others find the answers for themselves. This fits well with the interests of aspiring professionals to gain insights from others but blaze their own trails. A catalyst is a type of coach who accelerates action and precipitates results for others without becoming consumed in the process. A catalyst keeps the player in charge of his or her choices. In contrast, mentors often refer to people who teach others and guide them in how to do things. This works well when there is a specific body of knowledge that someone wishes to learn. So, a coach and a mentor are tools for different purposes. You'll probably want one or more of both and who they are will likely evolve over your career.

How often and over what period of time should a coach and player meet?

This is up to the coach and player. Some meet initially in-person or over the phone and then have occasional check-ins. Some make other arrangements. It's up to your mutual decision. You can decide to start and stop a coaching relationship as you see fit. See "ABCs of 1-1 Coaching

How many coaches should I have?

Just as top sports players have multiple coaches (one overall, another for a particular skill, etc.), you may wish to have more than one coach. You might have one coach who helps you as you navigate your overall career. This might be an ongoing relationship of several months or more with occasional check-ins. You might have another coach (perhaps even one suggested by your career coach) for a targeted time to help you address a special need or insights about a particular subject or situation.

Do you have further questions or feedback about 1-1 Coaching?

Please send an email to Don Maruska, Director, ICMA Coaching, at

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