Hannah Wilson portrait

Hannah Wilson

One of the questions I regularly get asked when I am at events, delivering training or via my social media is: how do I become a coach?

I have an email I have sent to a number of people as they transition out of a senior role, a school, or from the system, sharing my tips/ advice and signposting where to find out more, but I thought a blog might be something that could be more helpful as it can be shared with more people and be updated as things change. So here goes…

Below are some of the different training pathways that I have experienced personally on my journey to becoming a coach that you can consider and some of the key questions that you need to reflect on in order to decide which is the right provider/ training opportunity for you.


Integrity Coaching

I did a brilliant coaching programme with Viv Grant at Integrity Coaching when I was a Senior Leader. Viv and the team have a vast offer for coaching and coaching programmes. Viv’s book, Staying A Head is also a great read for self-coaching around values, wellbeing and boundaries.


Graydin Coaching

I met McKenzie Cerri, one of the Co-Founders of Graydin Coaching, as I co-founded #WomenEd. McKenzie ran some brilliant sessions for the network. I then attended the Anatomy programme and loved it so much that we hosted a cohort at our school where I was headteacher so that my Senior Leaders could do it too. The ‘Start With the Heart’ model really resonated with me.


Fierce Conversations

I also met Sarah Vogel, a master facilitator of Fierce Conversations and the Co-Owner of PDA (People Development Associates), through mutual #WomenEd connections. I organised for her to run training for all of our staff at the start of every academic year, so that we could embed this philosophy into our communication model and ensure that open, honest conversations were central to our culture. If you have not read Susan Scott’s book then it is highly recommended.


Resilient Leaders Elements

I met Rachel McGill, the Co-Founder of RLE (Resilient Leaders Elements) through our mutual friend and fellow headteacher/ coach, Julie Rees. I completed the RLE accreditation as I transitioned out of headship and started working independently. The programme helped me to get clarity of who I am and what I do, but also equipped me with a framework and tools to use with my coaching clients. Lots of my network has since done it and it is one of the consistencies for my team of associate coaches.



I also met Professor Rachel Lofthouse through #WomenEd and I followed her journey to setting up CollectivEd as the Centre for Coaching and Mentoring at LBU through her online sharings. Through my associate work at Leeds Beckett University I have written for the publication she edits and attended/ spoken at a number of events she has organised, curated and hosted. It is a great community for engaging with international coaches and their research into the impact of coaching.


Colour Profiling

I found out about Colour Profiling (or C-Me as it is known in the shorthand) through Julie Rees as well. It is a tool we use in the Resilient Empowered Authentic Leadership (REAL) programme that I have developed over the last few years. It is another great tool for the coaching toolkit to help people develop their awareness of self and others.


Coactive Institute (CTI)

I started my ICF (International Coaching Federation) certification by completing the foundation coaching curriculum with the Coactive Institute. I did this during lockdown as they had a virtual training pathway at weekends and were quite practice heavy in their approach to coaching training which is my preferred learning style.


Teleos Leadership Institute

I chose to migrate over to the Teleos Leadership Institute for the second part of my ICF coaching certification as I was looking at developing coaching as a tool for my DEI work and they have a lot of experience in using coaching as a lever for systemic change and cultural transformation. I also wanted to do some of the training in person and there was a window of opportunity for me to go to Philadelphia and I spent a week there on a coaching training intensive. Their founder, Dr Fran Johnston, is a global thought leader when it comes to coaching.


British School of Coaching

My most recent coaching certification is the ILM L7 Certificate in Executive Coaching and Mentoring which I am currently completing with the British School of Coaching. This is another virtual training pathway and is quite theory heavy. The reflective practice and supervision has really helped me focus on my coaching presence and style.


Positive Intelligence (PQ)

I am also currently training with Positive Intelligence to understand their framework and tools for developing PQ with my coaching clients. The founder, Shirzad Charmine, has written a book about Positive Intelligence and is a lecturer at Stanford University. Their focus on building mental fitness really resonated with me and builds on the work I have done with RLE.

So there are some options to research and reflect on and here are some further things to think about as you begin to identify which training pathway might be best for you and your experience/ context…


Questions to reflect on and to discuss with others about your why for coaching:

  • Why do you want to become a coach?
  • What sort of a coach do you want to become?
  • Who do you want to coach, and why?
  • Which sectors do you want to coach in, and why?
  • Does the sector you want to coach in need certain qualifications/ credentials?

There are lots of options to certify with different national and international organisations to get industry standard coaching training and recognition e.g. MA, MSC, ILM L7 and ICF.

There are also lots of options to accredit with different providers and platforms to grow your toolkit of coaching resources/ frameworks to use in supporting your coaching clients e.g. RLE, C-Me, DISC.

I would recommend that a blend of both has worked for me as you can then pick and choose which bits resonate with you and your coaching clients.


Questions to reflect on and to discuss with others about your journey into coaching:

  • How much time do you have to dedicate to your training as a coach?
  • What is your budget for the training? (Are you self-funding or are you being sponsored?)
  • Do you prefer learning through theory or practice, or both?
  • Do you prefer learning in person or virtually?
  • Do you prefer being assessed via written form or via observation?

I am hoping that my reflections, the signposting and the questions help you to find the training pathway that is right for you as a coach.

My final reflection is that: if you want to be a coach, do you have a coach? And what has your experience of being coached been like?

I am a firm believer in all coaches having a coach to develop their own awareness of being a client, and also having someone formally in place who supervises them in their coaching to support their wellbeing, as coaching can sometimes be heavy and emotional work. I have been fortunate to be coached by some brilliant coaches who I have been supported by but also learned from.

You can find out more about my coaching packages, my team of associates and our coaching tools here. Along with a reading list on coaching to whet your appetite and develop your own coaching practice.


Additional Signposting:

It would be remiss of me not to signpost some colleagues from my network who run coaching training that I have not personally experienced but I know that they get great feedback from my professional learning network:

Basic CoachingAndy Buck has written lots of books on leadership and he has crafted a coaching framework for schools called BASIC.

MalCPDMalarvilie Krishnasamy has grown a team of associate coaches to support her ILM accredited coaching training offer.

Apologies to anyone I have missed in this post who I have trained to be a coach with, I will keep adding to it as I progress on my coaching journey!