Coach Mentors

The FA Coach Mentoring Programme was introduced in season 2013/14 to develop a national cohort of FA Coach Mentors to enhance coaching in Charter Standard Clubs.

The programme offers club and individual opportunities for support from an FA Club Mentor, providing targeted support to challenge coaches to excel in their work and enhance their coaching standards. The aim is to support the coaching workforce not only with their training sessions but also how they translate their coaching to match day situations. This season we have transitioned into a geographical model, placing our mentors across the county who will be able to support coaches and clubs with their area on a needs-led basis.

Coach Mentors will work with specific projects, supporting:

  • FA Charter Standard Clubs
  • Specific target groups (BAME, Female and Disability)
  • Grassroots Clubs
  • Football Leagues
  • Coach Education in a Mentoring capacity

The aim of the Mentoring programme is;

  • To  mentor and support coaches working in Grassroots football
  • To improve the standards or grassroots coaching through observation, feedback and action planning
  • To work with Clubs to provide bespoke support linked to their coaches needs through either individual, small group or club based events
  • To support coach development, focusing upon the knowledge, skills and attributes to be an effective coach
  • To support and develop planning – delivering and  reflecting skills
  • To support coaches with mentoring in their clubs to ensure a legacy of coach development in clubs across the county

Register your interest for the Coach Mentor Programme here

Meet the Somerset FA Coach Mentoring Team



Area Covered

Sarah Adams

North Somerset

Lee Ballard


Connor Sidley-Adams

North Somerset/ Bristol/ West Somerset

Phil Rochford-Smith

Bath & North East Somerset

Geoff Stevens

Midsomer Norton/ Radstock

Ian Thompson

Yeovil/ South Somerset

Geoff Stevens

" I have been involved with the coach mentoring programme for the past 3 seasons; it is something I feel is very rewarding in terms of helping develop coaches and support grassroots clubs. In my other roles as FA affiliate tutor and head coach with Bristol City Community Trust, I feel I have a lot to offer in terms of support and advice. Not only can I support those that are at the beginning of their coaching journey but also those who feel they need support with CPD and other areas of coaching. Having been involved with a variety of grassroots clubs throughout the county in various capacities from playing, refereeing and coaching I hope that we will continue to see the development of these clubs and coaches through this programme."

Phil Rochford-Smith

“ I have been coaching locally for the last 15 years and have been involved with the FA Mentor Programme for the last 3 seasons. I am extremely fortunate as I work within football every day. During season 2016/17 I have worked with two local clubs, I also coach two teams.

A single concept underlying the mentoring programme appealed to me, I believe in this and can relate to it: ‘Better coaches = Better players.’ 

Can I be a better coach? Yes, but even more importantly I strive to be a better coach. Can we all be better? Definitely. Working collaboratively is one approach which can be very effective.

With this notion as a starting point, it makes perfect sense to push on, challenge ourselves and try to be the best coaches we can be for the benefit of the players, the wider game and not forgetting ourselves. My view is: Where we are in our coaching journeys at this moment in time has some relevance, but where we're going is way more important.

I enjoy meeting coaches, both experienced and those at the beginning of their coaching journeys. Shared practice is best practice - we can all learn loads from each other, let’s do our best to raise standards locally, regionally and nationally. “

Lee Ballard

"The Mentoring role has given me an excellent opportunity to continue my learning journey, and to work with the fantastic and extensive grassroots Football workforce within my region. I am currently a sports lecturer delivering various coaching modules to our BTEC and Degree students at Richard Huish College and I have been involved with the Somerset FA disability coaching programme for 4 years; alongside studying for my doctorate at UWE. The Mentoring programme has allowed me to meet some fantastic people who are very interested in sharing good practice, and being a part of their development is extremely rewarding."

Connor Sidley-Adams

"I became involved in the Coach Mentor programme to provide children and young players with the best experience possible through football; this involves working with individual coaches, clubs, leagues and the Somerset FA to enable player experiences to excel. The more our children enjoy the game, the longer they will stay playing leading into further involvement through coaching or even coach mentoring. "

Ian Thompson

" I presently live in Ilminster and I have been coaching for over thirty years.I have successfully managed teams at semi-professional level and have also managed two different county teams.I was one of the first Tesco skills coaches to be employed by the FA.I achieved my FA A licence award in 2007 and have been a tutor for the FA since 2002.I have been a mentor since the start of the programme.I am presently head lead coach at the academy within Yeovil Town FC having worked for Portsmouth FC and Southampton FC.

I feel that having experienced every level of coaching and teaching all ages I want to be able to help all coaches achieve their ambitions and enjoy giving the children a safe enjoyable learning environment in which they can reach their potential."

Register your interest for the Coach Mentor Programme here

For more information on the Coach Mentoring Programme, please contact Sarah Nicless at or via 01458 832 359.


Free Mentoring Adults Course

This six hour course is aimed at grass roots coaches who wish to further their knowledge and confidence in mentoring to enable them to better support the development of coaching colleagues in a local setting. 
This course is designed to support those who wish to develop their mentoring skills, to understand the role of the mentor, to develop the interpersonal skills required to become an effective mentor as well as developing reflection as a learning tool. It supports participants to develop skills in a safe and positive environment.

Course Content 
• To understand the role of the mentor and principles of effective Mentoring. 
• To understand and appreciate the required interpersonal skills of the mentor. 
• To explore strategies for mentoring. 
• To demonstrate the ability to use core mentoring interpersonal skills (observation, giving accurate feedback, active listening, questioning, critical reflection). 
• To understand mentoring assessment, feedback and goal setting processes. 
• To consider the importance of reflection as a tool for learning. 
• To explore CPD and reflective Action Planning opportunities for Mentors to consider their future development

Course Pre-requisites: Candidates must be at least 16 years of age

Book on to the course here

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