Open-to-learning™ Leadership


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.

Upcoming 2022 Courses

Dates: 1 & 2 September

Times: 9:00am - 3:30pm

Location: Kohia Centre, The University of Auckland - Epsom Campus, Gate 1, 78 Epsom Avenue, Epsom, Auckland, 1023 (FREE parking available at Gate 2).

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


Hear what others have had to say about this course:

Fiona Hawes, Principal, Tauranga School

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.

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.

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.

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.

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
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.

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.

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.


Open-to-learning™ Leadership 2022 September
Date TBC
Sep 1, 2022
9:00 am
Sep 2
4:00 pm
Sep 1, 2022
9:00 am
4:00 pm
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Ngā Kaiwhakaruruhau | Our Facilitators

Colin Donald

Programme Manager/Leadership Consultant
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Colin Donald

Programme Manager/Leadership Consultant

Colin is the Programme Manager and Facilitator supporting and developing our popular and highly regarded Leadership PLD courses including Growing Great Leaders™.

Richard Newton

Senior Leadership Consultant
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Richard Newton

Senior Leadership Consultant

Richard joined the Tui Tuia | Learning Circle Leadership team in 2016 after a successful 26 year career as a primary principal in Dunedin and rural Otago.

We have expert facilitators in these areas who can help create a tailored professional development plan to meet the unique needs of your school or kura.

Open-to-learning™ Leadership


Open-to-learning™ Leadership

Upcoming courses

Open-to-learning™ Leadership 2022 September

Sep 1


Sep 2, 2022



Enrol by:

Aug 21, 2022