January is National Mentoring Month! During this month of celebration of the value of mentoring and coaching, thanks to our coaches who take the time to work with local government professionals of all career stages. We also celebrate our first full year of using a new platform for ICMA's CoachConnect program, which brought together more than 180 coaches and over 300 learners. 

ICMA CoachConnect is an online platform that enables one-to-one connections with coaches and learners. Coaches help learners chart a path in local government and guide them to answers to difficult career questions. CoachConnect offers value for local government professionals at any stage in their careers by helping learners see their situation and opportunities from a fresh perspective. 

In 2020, coaching session in CoachConnect took on many different forms. Some coaches and learners benefited from casual, informal networking and check-ins. Others pairs set up a more formal relationship that continued over time. Many learners met with more than one coach.

Our most popular conversations during 2020 covered:

  • Resume review.
  • Interview preparation.
  • Positive council-manager relations.
  • Management tools.
  • Breaking into local government.
  • Career progression and advancement.
  • Bouncing back from adversity.
  • Having difficult conversations.

A few CoachConnect participants share their experiences as a coach or learner:

Chantal C. Gaines – Palo Alto, California: 

“One of the benefits of the program is that everyone has something to offer. The variety of people that have reached out to me has been great because it is so easy. I think one of the things that sometimes keeps us from wanting to coach is thinking we don’t have anything to offer or we don’t have time, but in this case, CoachConnect streamlines the process. There is also the opportunity to share and learn from others as a coach. I cannot speak more highly of the program.”


Craddock Stropes – Carlsbad, California: 

“What is really extraordinary about the ICMA CoachConnect opportunity is that you have access to coaches from throughout the country who have different perspectives to share. Through the coaching sessions I’ve been able to schedule on a monthly basis, I’ve been able to get a kaleidoscope of perspectives on my career and my professional development. I’ve found tremendous value in the diversity of perspectives that I’ve received in telling my story to each coach. As a result of the CoachConnect program, I’ve been able to advance my five-year plan and get some tangible tools from the coaches and resources that I can apply to my day-to-day work.”


Curtis Brown – Columbus, Ohio:

“CoachConnect has been a great resource! I have been able to connect with local government leaders across the country, as well as people who work in budget offices or who have other roles in local government leadership. People have suggested different organizations, recommended books to me, and through CoachConnect, I’ve really been able to build the tools in my toolkit as I move into local government leadership.”

Are you ready to join CoachConnect in 2021? Learn more and sign up as a coach or learner!