become a coach/mentor

Referral Service

How to get started

The diversity of coaching and mentoring means that everyone will have a different route to becoming a coach.

Common career backgrounds for professional business coaches / mentors includes occupational [business and Industrial - Organisational psychology], Sport Psychology, Organisational Development, Human Resources and Training.  Senior management and leadership roles within private and public sector businesses also provide experience and skills which are fundamental to becoming an excellent coach or mentor.  

Personal or life coaches come from all walks of life and work with a wide variety of people from private clients to far reaching voluntary sector schemes. Many personal coaches are also qualified psychologists, psychotherapists or counsellors.  

What makes a good coach or mentor?

Being a coach or mentor is usually about supporting others to develop and manage their own learning. To be a good coach, therefore, means being able to listen and facilitate objectively without solving peoples' problems for them. The most important skill in coaching is asking questions framed within a coaching conversation. Beyond this it is important to have relevant competence or experience to support the coaching or mentoring process. 

See What are coaching and mentoring? for more about the role of coach or mentor.

How do I become a coach / mentor?


  • Decide what sort of coach or mentor you plan to be and what you can bring to this role. Options include setting up your own business as a business or personal (life) coach / mentor, taking an internal coach / mentor role within a business or working in the voluntary sector.
  • Consider what will make you a great coach or mentor and how your skills, experience and expertise will differentiate you from other coaches or mentors.
  • Identify what additional skills and frameworks you need and complete appropriate training, as required.

For more information download our Help Guide: Becoming a coach / mentor

Then, if you plan to offer your services commercially without joining an existing company or practice:

  • Set up as a business, partnership or as self-employed. Seek advice from an accountant or business advisor if you are unsure which route to take.
  • Develop a business plan which includes your target market, business proposition, marketing and sales plan and financial goals.

What training do I need?

There are many different options for coach and mentor training and Continuing Professional Development(CPD). Courses range from introductory short courses to advanced programmes leading to Masters or Doctorates. As well as content level, training providers vary in terms of delivery methods and style so it's important to find the course which both matches your personal learning style and will best equip you for the market you want to work in. Whether or not you will need specialist coach or mentor training before becoming a coach or mentor will depend on your existing core skills, professional qualifications and experience of people and organisation development.

Download our free Help Guide: What training do I need?


I am very interested and want to take the next step!

The decisions you make at the beginning of your journey will lay down the foundations for your future as a coach or mentor. In the first instance, review the CMN information portal and consider posting questions in the discussion forum.  

Information portal  -   find FAQ's, Guides, links and a range of coaching and mentoring books/resources

Discussion forum - ask a question and recieve answers from training providers, coaches/mentors and supervisors

Whether you are considering a complete career change that will lead to a new professional role, or seeking to integrate a coaching or mentoring approach into your leadership or management repertoire, the decisions about training and accreditation and other life/work changes that will become part of your journey are important. As this the case, personalised support from either a coach/mentor supervisor or specialised careers advisor, could also be of great value to you. 

A range of coach/mentor supervisors and specialised career advisors are registered with the CMN coach/mentor referral service. To find a coach/mentor supervisor select the 'help with becoming a coach/mentor' option in the detailed search.