Development Coach

This stage of the Coaching Scheme focuses on the development of climbers over a series of sessions. As a coach you will add to your existing coaching skills and learn how to deliver ‘climber centred coaching’ to individuals as part of a group. It is ideal for independent autonomous coaches who prepare for, and deliver, structured progression to climbers involved in regular participation (for example climbing clubs, schools and youth groups).

Often working with Foundation Coaches, as a Development Coach you will take a mentoring role and lead in the review process to promote reflective coaching practice.

Looking at weight transfer

Is it for me?

There is a single registration for access to the foundation and development coach schemes, so if you have already registered for the Foundation Coach you do not need to register again. At Development Coach level you must:
  • Be at least 18 years of age
  • Have at least 12 months of personal climbing experience
  • Have attended a Foundation Coach training (or have your prior learning accredited by Mountain Training)
  • Hold a Climbing Wall Award (or higher level of Award)
If you can tick all of the above boxes, here's what to do next:
  • Log in to your account on the Candidate Management System
  • Check that you are registered for the Development Coach scheme (this will have happened automatically when you registered for the Foundation Coach scheme)
In order to register successfully you must be a member of a mountaineering council (the British Mountaineering Council, Mountaineering Scotland or Mountaineering Ireland).

If you would like to apply for direct entry to Development Coach assessment, please read the information at the bottom of this page about Accredited Prior Learning

Frequently Asked Questions


Before you book onto a Development Coach training course, make sure you meet the prerequisites as follows:
  • See criteria listed above and in addition...
  • You should have attended a FUNdamentals of Climbing 1 and 2 workshop
  • Many people choose to attend a Physical Training for Climbing and a FUNdamentals of Climbing 3 workshops prior to training (this is not a prerequisite but is definitely an advantage)
Development Coach training lasts for 2 days and will be run by one of our approved Providers. A variety of cost packages are available depending on what's included; food, accommodation etc. so you can choose one that's right for you.


Coaching Scheme Handbook

The Syllabus

The Development Coach syllabus focuses on three key areas:

What to coach

This is largely based on the FUNdamentals of Climbing 1+2 workshops run by the mountaineering councils. A solid technical understanding of these skills will allow you to deliver sessions, at any level, that are appropriate to the group or individual. You will also be expected to demonstrate technical competence through your own personal climbing ability.

How to coach

This element of the scheme will focus on delivery of the skills mentioned above. Key areas at Development Coach level include: coaching behaviours, planning, preparing and concluding, managing, sporting values, movement skills, physiology, psychology, tactical, motor learning, long term climber development, giving feedback and evaluating.

Safe supervision

The safe supervision of climbers at all levels is an integral part of being a good coach. 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.

Using video to analyse performance


The period between training and assessment 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.

The secret to effective development lies in diversity and variety of your experience. You should aim to work with as many different individuals and groups as possible, ideally over a range of time scales and with a variety of objectives. Variety really is the spice of life when it comes to developing coaching skills!


Before you book onto a Development Coach assessment course, make sure you have done the following:
  • You must be at least 18 years old
  • You must have completed a Development Coach training course (or have Accredited Prior Learning approved by Mountain Training)
  • You must have attended the FUNdamentals of Climbing 1 and 2 workshops
  • You must have logged your coaching experience in DLOG
  • You must have prepared a series of progressive lesson plans and coaching case studies
  • You must have completed a home paper
Development Coach assessment lasts for a minimum of 2 hours and includes the observation of two 45 minute coaching sessions.

Structuring a session plan

Accredited Prior Learning

For experienced and active coaches currently working at a high level, there is a process for ‘Direct Entry’ to the assessment as a Development Coach. You have two options:
  • If you have registered, have appropriate experience and have completed a Foundation Coach training course and a Development Coach training course, you can complete your logbook of coaching experience and proceed directly to the Development Coach assessment (without doing a Foundation Coach assessment).
  • If you have extensive prior learning through an equivalent coaching scheme, and current experience of coaching climbing, you may be able to apply for Accredited Prior Learning (APL). For example, coaches from another sport who have completed equivalent coach education courses may be able to gain exemption from the Foundation Coach stage of the scheme.
All applications for APL will be approved by the Mountain Training UK screening committee, and whilst they will be collectively compared, each application will be considered on its individual merits. There is no exemption from Development Coach assessment.

Watch the video

Support and Development

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.
MTA logo

Development Coach profiles

Rachel Carr
Rachel Carr - Trainee coach
Michelle Forrest
Michelle Forrest - Coaching Manager
Juan Carlos Avendano
Juan Carlos Avendano - Head Coach