Worldwide Performance Coach Training for Leadership

CASE STUDY: Arts Council England


Coach Training Course for the Cultural Leadership Programme in association with Deb Barnard


Arts Council England is running a major initiative called ‘The Cultural Leadership Programme’, designed to raise the standard of leadership throughout the arts sector. Through our associate, Deborah Barnard, we were asked to collaborate in designing a foundation coaching course entitled ‘Coaching Skills for Leadership’, based on our Accredited Performance Coach Training Diploma course.


Participants were recruited through the Cultural Leadership Programme’s networks and mirrored the diversity of the creative sector in their occupations, which included researchers, facilitators, theatre producers, mentors, freelance consultants, artists, development workers, project coordinators, artistic directors, writers, local authority arts officers and CEO’s of small to medium organisations. They came from arts festivals, heritage organisations and included workers who were part-time, full-time, employed, self-employed or engaged in portfolio careers.

The course comprised five days spread over four to six weeks followed by a day for assessment and accreditation. Eight courses were delivered from 2008 to 2010, when funding ran out and the Cultural Leadership Programme was disbanded.


The main outcomes reported were:

  • Leadership practice shifted, improving communication and relationships within teams and partner organisations, increased confidence and staff engagement, and improved quality of decision making.
  • Personal development, enhanced understanding of self, emotional literacy and personal thinking processes, an increased sense of an authentic self in leadership, cultivation of an internal coach and a greater understanding of others.
  • For some, a crucial turning point or insight occurred during the programme leading to new career opportunities.
  • “The course was relevant, effective, inspirational and will make a massive difference to myself and my organization“
  • “Quite simply the best training I have ever undertaken. It is hard to find the right words to describe the quality of the experience as excellent, superb etc don’t really cover it; the training was exceptionally high quality, well structured and planned, excellently supported with resource materials and a handbook that has become my bible. “
  • “I was very, very pleased with the course. The practical sessions where we tried out techniques were invaluable, and the pairing up and practising with a partner. “
  • “The combination of the people, the content and the trainers was superb. “
  • “I have been using coaching at work in my meetings and its flipping brilliant.  I have started to listen and reflect back. I now have artists that are inspired, empowered and feel really supported. “
  • “The module was excellent. It was well designed, with a logical thread that helped me navigate the sessions and provided a framework for the more in-depth work. Good balance between practical, demonstration, and toolkits.“
  • “Leadership of this course was of the very highest quality; the trainers engendered an atmosphere that was brimming with motivation and challenge supported by trust and respect – really important elements for effective learning. “
  • “The trainers were very strong, bringing a wealth of experience coaching in the corporate and cultural sectors, so striking a great balance. They supported a rapid development of trust across the group, which proved to be an important element in enabling learning to be maximized. They also instilled a strong sense of integrity throughout, through their own behaviour. I discovered as much by being coached and watching other coach, as I did by coaching myself. “
  • “The programme was exceptionally well-structured. Throughout, there were practical activities to carry out in between each session. In particular, co-coaching during the month in between the two parts of the programme enabled absorption through delivery. The co-coaching included all aspects, from opening session and transition through to closing session, thereby supporting learning of and building confidence in the whole process. It is the best structured course, in terms of learning, that I have experienced. “