Open-to-learning Leadership

Open-to-learning™ Leadership

“ This has been fantastic and very practical. Great having the opportunity to ‘play’ with our own scenarios and record and work with a buddy - thank you so much. ”

“ The notion of OTL™ was new to me, the basis of respect, validity and commitment makes total sense and sits naturally with our values. ”

“ I found this course to be hugely valuable. It provided me with a framework to explore my own beliefs and how they inform my actions (or inactions) and therefore the way in which I engage in conversations, or perhaps avoid conversations. It challenged me around the ‘undiscussables’ that exist within groups and organisations, and how we owe our colleagues the respect of surfacing these in a respectful way but perhaps don’t always have the tools to do this. ”

Understanding and Practising OTL™ Leadership: A two day workshop

Course Details
Case Studies

2021 Dates

  • 27 & 28 September 2021 - AUCKLAND.  Kohia Centre, Faculty of Education and Social Work - Postponed due to lockdown restrictions.  New dates will be advised in due course.
  • 28 & 29 October 2021 - AUCKLAND.  Kohia Centre, Faculty of Education and Social Work Postponed due to lockdown restrictions.  New dates will be advised in due course.

Register Now >

Times: 9:00am - 4:00pm,

Cost: $981 + GST each (or 10% discount for 3 or more participants)

RA-PLD: To access this workshop using Regionally-Allocated PLD hours contact Colin Donald:
Phone: +64 27 886 4678

Learn how to tackle and progress tough issues whilst building trustful relationships. Many leaders find it difficult to build relationships while tackling and progressing significant work tasks and problems. Open-to-learning™ (OTL™) Leadership is unique in explicitly addressing the integration of task and relationships so that respect is maintained while difficult issues are progressed.

The Understanding and Practising OTL™ Leadership two day workshop provides:

  • Coaching and extensive feedback from experienced and accredited facilitators on participants’ personal leadership style.
  • Problem solving contextualised to each participant’s role and organisation.
  • High quality course materials that include templates, cue cards, selected readings and workbooks.
  • Research-based professional development with direct relevance to participants’ own leadership and school development.
  • Considerable time for practising OTL™ conversations.
  • Expert critique of participants’ conversations.
  • A deepened understanding of the values that underpin OTL™.

This two-day workshop is focused on improving your interpersonal effectiveness when holding conversations that are simultaneously tough on work-based challenges whilst still improving relationships. It is a highly practical and research-based professional development opportunity with direct relevance to participants’ own leadership and school development. Participants engage in current problem solving contextualised in their individual roles and current organisation.

As a participant, day one of this two day-workshop will introduce you to the theory that underpins Open-to-learning™ Leadership and assist you to understand your leadership style in relation to Open-to-learning™ values.

Day two will provide you with opportunities to practise, and provide you with individual and group coaching. You will receive feedback from experienced and accredited facilitators on your theory-in-use and how you might change your behaviour to become more effective in your conversations.

We encourage three or more people to attend from each enrolling organisation. Feedback from our workshops suggests that the learning is most valuable and has the greatest impact, when a team of three or more from a school attend together. A 10% discount applies.

Please note however that these dates may be subject to change; our website will show our current course schedule, or please feel free to contact Colin Donald
Phone: +64 27 886 4678

Fiona Hawes, Principal, Tauranga School


1. What made you decide to pursue your learning in Open-to-learning™ Leadership?

Open-to-learning™ Leadership helps to develop a culture of trust and continuous improvement. Starting as a first-time principal it was important to work collaboratively and build relational trust with all stakeholders as we identified the future goals for our school. The learning gained from the workshops provided me with strategies so that I could have challenging conversations that demonstrated a respect for others whilst addressing areas of concern.

2. What has been the most powerful learning for you about your leadership through these workshops?

The workshops were challenging and I was confronted fairly quickly with where my weaknesses lie when tackling difficult issues with others. Identifying the misalignment between my espoused theory and theory in action was the most powerful learning for me. Open-to–learning™ Leadership provided me with tools and strategies to identify this misalignment and also a framework about how I could “walk the talk” in my leadership practice. I also realised that in many of my conversations I am very focussed on working to convince other people into thinking my way rather than checking my assumptions and genuinely inquiring into their thoughts and actions, so that we can agree on the problem to be solved.

3. How have you used what you have learned from the Open-to-learning™ Leadership workshops in your job?

The learning I have gained in the workshops has made me more mindful of my practice as a leader. Every conversation is an opportunity to be Open-to-learning™. Now I have an exceptional framework to apply to the most challenging conversations I encounter, which ensures that concerns are raised respectfully and co-constructed problem solving plans can be made to address the real issue at hand. I now aim to ‘get curious’, and inquire into and check my understanding of the viewpoint of the parent or teacher I am having the conversation with.

4. What aspects of the workshops did you enjoy?

The role-plays gave us lots of opportunity to put into practice our learning. I enjoyed having an opportunity to analyse others'conversations and have my own conversations critiqued. The video scenarios were also excellent – it would be great to have access to these to use with teachers at school. It is very interactive and based on a learn-by-doing format.

5. What aspects of the workshop did you find challenging?

The role-plays!!! The critiques. (Best learning and most challenging)

Any other comments you would like to make?  Would you recommend Practising  Advanced Open-to-learning™ Leadership to others?

Open-to-learning™ Leadership gives practical solutions that will help leaders solve complex school-based problems, while building relational trust with staff, parents, and learners. I would highly recommend the Open-to-learning™ Leadership workshops, they have been one of the best professional learning opportunities I have had to date. They are highly relevant and contextualised, and applicable for all leaders in any organisation.

Nesan Govender, Principal, Ohinewai School


1. What made you decide to do Open-to-learning™ Leadership?

I had attended a previous workshop by Jacqui during my First-time Principals’ residential programme and was very intrigued by it. I signed up for the Hamilton sessions but was unable to attend as we were hosting an ERO Team at school at that time. When this opportunity presented itself, I jumped at the chance.

2. What does Open-to-learning™ Leadership mean to you?

Open-to-learning™ Leadership to me means not prejudging or adopting a closed mindset to any situation or interaction. It means allowing myself to actually listen to the other person, to value what they bring to the table. Personally I find this refreshing as I have been subjected to prejudice and have been dismissed without having been heard.

3. How will you use what you learned from the course in the next difficult conversation you will have?

I will be putting my active listening skills to use, for sure, but I will also not make assumptions about why people hold the views they have.  Instead, I will ask to clarify. I will be reflecting on whether my theory-in-use matches my espoused theory - and look to make the necessary adjustments.

4. What aspects of the delivery of the course did you enjoy?

One bonus for us was the fact that Distinguished Professor Viviane Robinson herself took the first day. In addition, the hands-on approach was really good and getting to practise what was being taught was very useful.

5. Would it have been beneficial to have other staff members attend as a team on this course?

Absolutely - I would recommend this for the entire staff, not just a management team.