Foundation Coach

Foundation Coach

Foundation Coaches will often be assisting a Development Coach who will set the learning outcomes for the session, as part of a longer term progression, course, or scheme.

Useful Resources

Getting Started

To get started on the Foundation Coach qualification you need to meet the following prerequisites:
  • Have a genuine interest in climbing and the coaching of groups on climbing walls.
  • Have at least six months experience of climbing on a variety of climbing walls.
  • Be at least sixteen years of age at the date of registration.
  • Be a member of a mountaineering council ( Mountaineering Ireland, BMC, Mountaineering Scotland). If you are a member of a club that is affiliated (do check) that would suffice.
If you can meet all of the above requirements, here's what to do next:
  • Create an account on our Candidate Management System or log in if you already have one.
  • Register for the Foundation Coach scheme (this costs £65) - you will automatically be registered for the Development Coach scheme so that should you wish to progress at a later date, you can do so without having to register again.
Register now

Coaching Scheme candidate handbook

The Coaching Scheme handbook has full details about the Foundation Coach qualification including the syllabus and supporting guidance notes.

(Handbook updated 08/04/19)

Do you have additional needs?

Do you have a physical or mental impairment or disability which may require a provider to make reasonable adjustments so that you can take part in a training or assessment course? Find out more.

Not quite right?

If this doesn't sound like the right qualification for you, consider the following:You could also read through our 'Which scheme is right for me?' page.


Foundation Coach training lasts for 1 day/8 hours and will be run by one of our approved providers.

Before you book onto a Foundation Coach training course, make sure you meet the prerequisites as follows:
  • You must be registered on the scheme.
  • You must be at least 16 years old.
  • It is strongly recommended that you have attended a FUNdamentals of Climbing 1 workshop. Many candidates find attendance of FUNdas 2 is also beneficial at this stage.

The Syllabus

The syllabus for Foundation Coach focuses on three key areas:

What to coach

This is largely based on the FUNdamentals of Climbing 1 workshop run by the mountaineering councils. A solid technical understanding of these skills will allow you to deliver sessions that are appropriate to the group or individual.

How to coach

This element of the scheme will focus on delivery of the skills mentioned above. Key areas at Foundation Coach level include: coaching behaviours, planning, preparing and concluding, managing, sporting values, movement skills, physiology, giving feedback and evaluating.

Safe supervision

The Coaching Scheme is offered in parallel to Mountain Training's existing climbing qualifications, which means some people will already have covered safe supervision as part of a different qualification. For others, Foundation Coach may be their first engagement with Mountain Training and the safe supervision of climbers at all levels is an integral part of being a good coach. Topics covered include: equipment, belaying and the climbing wall environment.

Coaches are also required to attend a Safeguarding and Protecting Children in Sport module.

Detailed information on the syllabus for each level can be found in the Coaching Scheme Handbook and the onus is on you to be competent in all of them by the time you come to assessment.


The period between training and assessment (often referred to as the consolidation period) varies in length for each person and is an opportunity to develop your skills, paying particular attention to any weaknesses identified during the training course. You are expected to gain extensive personal climbing as well as coaching experience during this period.

  • Practise coaching as many different types of individual and group as possible, ideally over a range of time frames and for a variety of objectives.
  • The provider who delivered your training will be able to give you feedback and a personalised action plan for your consolidation period.
  • There is currently no time limit on the validity of a training course and some candidates may take several years to complete the qualification.

The Mountain Training Association

Join the Mountain Training Association and be part of a community of like-minded people on our schemes. The Association offers a range of workshops for trainee and qualified leaders and coaches across the disciplines, as well as a quarterly magazine, gear deals/discounts, a monthly newsletter and an insurance deal. You can join the Association at any point after you have registered on one of Mountain Training's leadership/coaching schemes.

Join now


Before you book onto a Foundation Coach assessment course, make sure you have done the following:
  • You must be at least 16 years old.
  • You must have attended a Foundation Coach training course.
  • You must have attended a FUNdamentals of Climbing 1 workshop.
  • You must have updated DLOG with your climbing coaching experience to include a minimum of 15 coaching sessions since attending training.
  • You must have added reflective comments in the ‘description’ tab for at least five of these coaching sessions.
  • You must have prepared lesson plans which can be reviewed by the assessor (before the practical assessment).
  • Be appropriately experienced and qualified to supervise safe sessions in the environment in which you choose to coach. E.g. a site specific sign-off by a Technical Advisor for bouldering; a Climbing Wall Instructor for roped climbing; Climbing Wall Development Instructor for coaching lead climbing and Rock Climbing Instructor to coach on single pitch crags etc.
  • You must have completed a Safeguarding Children in Sport module.
Foundation Coach assessment will be practical, with a minimum of two hours contact time per candidate to include observation of a coaching session. More information can be found in Appendix 3 of the Candidate Handbook.

Assessments are usually bespoke and you should contact a provider about arranging your assessment. As a result there may not be many assessment courses listed on the course finder.

The next phase in the Coaching Scheme is Development Coach.

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