The Open University has been inspiring people to be their best, confident selves for over 50 years, through widening access to learning and professional development. Our collaboration with the OU Business School started in 2014 with the design and production of an online coaching skills course “Coaching for Performance”. Since then, we have supported management training for Executive Education clients and collaborated on the development of two additional courses “Coaching for resilience” and “Developing a coaching culture” which launched in August 2021. In 2023 we were delighted to announce the launch of the latest two iterations of our course partnership: Introduction to business and workplace coaching and Developing a Coaching Culture.
The OU motto is 'Learn and Live'. Together we're bringing MF Learning to life; seeing coaching skills flourish in a more diverse range of situations.
"This collaboration is all about liberating our learning. It has unleashed the robust MF approach, letting a broader range of people benefit from our expertise. We're also really proud that both courses look at new directions in coaching, equipping learners to use tools and techniques well beyond the traditional coaching room."
Hugh Reynolds, Head of Digital Learning at Management Futures
Many managers, professionals and volunteers have clearly defined opportunities to coach in their day-to-day practice. There is an obvious demand for what they can do with their learning and skills. Yet at other times - and in other working lives - there is more limited opportunity for coaching in the traditional sense. There may not be the luxury of a quiet room, with face to face, one-to-one, scheduled and protected time together. At MF, we know that there are all sorts of conditions - smooth and turbulent ones - under which coach-skills can bear fruit. As with everything we do - we want to acknowledge and respect that diversity of need, challenge and opportunity.
Both these courses help to nurture skills within a context that matters. Whatever your person- or team-focussed role, they build on your existing practice, and the coaching experience you gain from interacting with those around you. The courses are packed with short activities which are set as mini-professional challenges; things to try out in your day-to-day practice as an advocate for a coaching approach. These will help you apply your interest and enthusiasm for coaching for everyone's benefit - in a way that feels comfortable, authentic and of real value.
Introduction to business and workplace coaching is aimed at individuals with little or no coaching experience, and have an interest in people, their development, wellbeing and performance. It will be highly valuable to managers, professionals or volunteers in any industry sector who want to develop the skills and values of good coaching, including active listening, questioning, paraphrasing, building rapport and importantly reflective practice. The activities in it will encourage you to observe, communicate interact and importantly, to establish a ‘contract’ to ensure both coach and coachee are comfortable with the frameworks used in coaching. See the course overview.
Developing a Coaching Culture is designed to encourage managers to demonstrate their interest in developing people, their wellbeing and the organisations they work in, by using a coaching approach. It would also be of value if you're a professional or volunteer where supporting other people is important.This course requires some prior knowledge and experience of coaching, whether you have a formal qualification or not. You don’t need to be employed as a coach to benefit, but you will need to have access to people you can practice the skills and behaviours covered in this course with. See the course overview.
We asked Liz Moody, Director of Executive Education at The Open University Business School, why she's so excited by the release of these courses:
"I’m excited about these new courses because I feel they respond to a real need I have observed in organisations on a number of fronts. They are short and snappy – delivered in bite sized chunks. They provide tools and techniques that people can put into practice straight away but most importantly, they provide a variety of ways to engage with colleagues and those whose performance and wellbeing they support.
"The idea of a coaching culture is relevant for these changing and uncertain times. For example where many of us are now working more from home and less in the immediate proximity of a colleagues, managers have to find new ways to replicate the support we might more naturally provide in a face to face setting. For example, in the office we might notice someone’s demeanour or behaviour suggests they are struggling or even confused. Without a culture that encourages and makes room for dialogue and frank exchange of views, important things can remain hidden.
"The courses provide valuable advice and suggestions on how to structure conversations that surface issues that could easily remain hidden or suppressed as we work more in isolation and how to maintain connection. They address how technologies can both detract from interaction and can enhance our connections if used well. Above all they encourage us to understand how the deliberate development of a coaching culture can enhance resilience and wellbeing as well as performance of individuals and the organisation they operate within."