NFCC Coaching and Mentoring Ethical Code

Values and Behaviours

Everyone shall demonstrate the values and behaviours outlined by the NFCC Leadership Framework, and any aligned professional standards within individual fire and rescue organisations. Coaches / Mentors and supervisors are expected to uphold the values and behaviours outlined in the following sections.


The National Fire Chiefs Council is providing this ethical framework to provide clarity and understanding for all. This code identifies the ethical framework against which it is recommended that all coaching and mentoring activities could be delivered.

This document also provides information on what to expect for people undertaking coaching and mentoring, and is designed to enable Coachees and Mentees to understand what they can expect of their Coach or Mentor. This document also outlines the professional standards which must be in place whilst undertaking coaching and / or mentoring.

This ethical framework is adapted from the 2nd version of the Global Code (issued 1 May 2018), bringing together the contributions of five leading coaching and mentoring membership bodies from within the UK, EU and beyond.

The Ethical Guidelines contained in this document help clarify the high standards essential to successful and professional relationships involved in coaching, mentoring and supervision. It is important that there be clear standards and professional assurance in place for all parties, including Coachees (those being coached).

The document summarises the professional standards, ethical framework and supervision requirements for a professional coaching or mentoring relationship. The framework also outlines what one should do if the ethical framework is not upheld at any time.

Nature of the Guidelines

These Guidelines set out the principles, standards and ethics that guide the coaching and mentoring relationships. NFCC members accept these as part of any coaching or mentoring agreement, and would be expected to inform the NFCC if there is any part or parts of the Guidelines with which they could not agree and which they could not practice. Failure to uphold these standards may be reported for investigation under the Complaints Procedure.

Communication of this Ethical Code and Conduct

Whatever the arrangements are with a Coachee / Mentee (individual) or sponsoring organisation, this code and the Ethical Guidelines must be brought to their attention to ensure everyone is aware and signed up to the principles within.


Coach The individual who carries out the coaching, using a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires people to maximise their personal and professional potential. An experienced Coach can use their skills without needing to understand the area in which the Coachee works. They do so by using their experience and knowledge to facilitate a coaching conversation to assist the Coachee to reach their own solutions and conclusions.
Mentor The individual who carries our mentoring. A Mentor tends to be a more experienced colleague who shares their greater knowledge to support the development of an inexperienced member of staff. It calls on the skills of questioning, listening, clarifying, and reframing that are also associated with coaching.
Coachee Also known as the ‘client’. This is the individual who receives coaching from a Coach.
Mentee This is the individual who receives mentoring from a Mentor.
Coaching A one-to-one developmental relationship with clearly focused aims designed to unlock an individual’s potential to maximise their own performance through a facilitated, structured, confidential conversation. This does not replace the regular manager / employee dialogue.
Mentoring Imparting knowledge, advice, and guidance from a place of experience to enable individuals (Mentees) to become competent in their roles. It involves Mentors giving advice and offering direction, and the relationship is usually based on someone more senior or with more experience offering this support as an experienced and trusted adviser. They may also be recognised as an expert in their field.
Reverse Mentoring Teaming a newer or less experienced member of the team to support someone more senior and experienced within the workplace.
Professional Coaching A professional coaching relationship exists once an agreement is in place to coach and receive coaching. It is best practice to establish a contract that defines the responsibilities of each party. (see Coaching Agreement).
The organisation or individual supporting and/or funding the coaching / mentoring.
Supervision or Supervisor The relationship between a coach and an appropriately trained and qualified person who is outside of the normal Coach/Coachee relationship. It is best practice for the person fulfilling this role to not be in a managerial relationship with the Coach. The role of supervisor is to support the Coach to maintain confidentiality, develop their practice, enhance the quality of the coaching work, and Coachee safety.
Conflict of Interest A situation in which a Coach has a private or personal interest sufficient to appear to influence the objective of their official duties as a coach and a professional. Where such a situation arises, it is best practice for the coach to discuss the matter with the sponsor and to seek an alternative Coach.

Values and Behaviours

Everyone shall demonstrate the values and behaviours outlined by the NFCC Leadership Framework, and any aligned professional standards within individual fire and rescue organisations. Coaches / Mentors and supervisors are expected to uphold the values and behaviours outlined in the following sections.

Personal Impact

  • Value, respect and promote equality and diversity.
  • Being a positive presence on others.
  • Having personal integrity.
  • Ability to self-manage.
  • Use leadership to create a positive, open working environment.
  • Demonstrates ethics and supports wellbeing.

Outstanding Leadership

  • Support people to develop to their full potential.
  • Communicating with integrity.
  • Being open and honest.
  • Fostering trust.
  • Displaying leadership.
  • Enabling high levels of performance.

Organisational Effectiveness

  • Development of individuals to enable delivery of organisational plans.
  • Ensuring decisions and actions are beneficial to the customer.
  • Continuously improve and innovate.
  • Support personal change.

Service Delivery

  • Delivering high-quality services.
  • Enabling intelligent problem-solving.
  • Deploying an outcome focused approach.
  • Supporting and enabling continuous improvement.
  • Focusing on value for money.

Additional requirements

In addition to the Leadership Framework, there are additional requirements, which are:

  1. To maintain competence as a Coach / Mentor, regularly updating skills, knowledge, and practice to ensure they remain so.
  2. To seek to understand the context and the environment in which the Coachee / Mentee is working.
  3. To ensure appropriate professional boundaries are always in place.
  4. To demonstrate integrity, ensuring the Coach / Mentor always does the right thing.
  5. To demonstrate professionalism always, ensuring the Coach/Coachee Mentor/Mentee relationship is professional and delivers on the outcomes agreed.


The Coach / Mentor will:

  1. Ensure their experience and knowledge is appropriate and sufficient to meet the needs of the Coachee / Mentee.
  2. Ensure their capability enables them to operate in line with this Ethical Code and any associated standards.
  3. Develop and enhance competence by participating in relevant training, supervision, and continuing professional development.
  4. Maintain a relationship with a suitably qualified supervisor, who will regularly assess competence and support development.


The Coach / Mentor will:

  1. Understand and ensure the coaching / mentoring relationship reflects the context within which the coach / mentoring is taking place.
  2. Ensure expectations of the Coachee / Mentee and sponsor are understood, and that they themselves understand how those expectations are to be met.
  3. Create an environment in which Coachee / Mentee, Coach / Mentor and sponsor are focused on development and learning.

Boundary management

The Coach / Mentor will:

  1. Operate within the limits of their competence at all times, recognise where their competence may be exceeded and where it is necessary to refer to a more experienced coach/mentor, or support them in seeking the help of another professional, such as a counsellor, psychotherapist or other professional. We would recommend the individual seek support through their GP, Occupational Health department, etc.
  2. Be aware of the potential for conflicts of interest; either professional, commercial or of an emotional nature. Deal with them quickly and effectively to ensure there is no detriment to the Coachee / Mentee or sponsor.


The Coach / Mentor will:

  1. Maintain confidentiality which is appropriate and is agreed at the start of the relationship.
  2. Disclose only information explicitly agreed with the Coachee / Mentee and sponsor (where one exists), unless the Coach / Mentor believes there is convincing evidence of serious danger to the individual, organisation, or others if the information is withheld.
  3. Act within the law at all times and do not ignore, encourage, assist, or collude with others engaged in conduct, which is dishonest, unlawful, unprofessional, or discriminatory.


The Coach / Mentor will:

  1. Respond to the individual’s learning and development needs as defined by the agenda brought to the coach/mentoring relationship.
  2. Never exploit a Coachee / Mentee in any manner, including, but not limited to, financial, sexual or those which matters within the professional relationship. The Coach / Mentor must ensure the duration of the contract is only as long as is necessary.
  3. Engage in self-care: that is, to look after oneself physically, emotionally, mentally, and motivationally so everyone receives a great service.
  4. Understand professional responsibilities continue beyond the termination of any coaching / mentoring relationship. These include the following:
  • Maintenance of confidentiality.
  • Avoidance of exploitation of former relationship.
  • Provision of follow-up, which has been agreed to.
  • Safe and secure maintenance of all related records and data.


The Ethical Guidelines contained in this document are indicators of professionalism and the high standards required to enable a successful coaching and/or mentoring relationship. The NFCC wants the safest and most effective conditions for those being coached, the clearest and most transparent understanding with fire and rescue organisations who commission Coaching, Mentoring and/or Supervision, and the highest professional standards for all Coaches / Mentors and supervisors.

Breaches of the Ethical Code

The NFCC expects everyone – whether as a Coachee, Coach, Mentor, Mentee, supervisor or organisation, to behave in a way which models exemplary professionalism and which will reflect well on the Fire and Rescue and Coaching professions.

Should a situation arise where it appears that a Coach / Mentor has behaved in a way which is in breach of these ethical guidelines, and if the matter cannot be resolved directly or is of sufficient concern, then the matter needs to be dealt with by the Service that the Coach / Mentor comes from.