Degrees and courses for international students
You are viewing information for England.  Change country or region.

Coaching for performance

This course provides a robust and easy-to-follow framework for developing your practical skills to help you as a manager coach for performance. It is developed by hugely experienced coaches who have taught coaching skills for many years and who have also worked as managers in a range of organisations. Through a structured sequence of reading, video study, skills practice and reflective assignments this course is primarily aimed at middle managers and team leaders who wish to develop skills and knowledge in performance-focused coaching in their workplace.

Standalone study only

You will not be awarded credits for studying this course. It is available for standalone study only and cannot be counted towards an OU qualification.

Short course

Short course code
This is a non-credit bearing course.
Study method
Distance Learning
Short course cost
See Registration
Entry requirements
See Entry requirements

Download a brochure

Explore our subjects and courses.

Download your copy today

What you will study

Through a structured sequence of reading, video study, skills practice and reflective assignments this course will teach you:

1. The essential theoretical framework within which you can use a coaching approach with confidence and knowledge:
  • How the development of performance coaching has evolved, so you can be clear yourself and explain it to others as necessary.
  • How you can firmly distinguish between coaching, mentoring and other ‘helping’ types of conversation.
  • When – and when not – to use a performance coaching style or approach.
  • Something of the potential range of applications for performance coaching.
  • The seven key principles – the underpinning assumptions – that make performance coaching a coherent and focused practice.
2. An underpinning structure for guiding a coaching conversation with confidence:
  • Know how to manage timings and the ‘flow’ of a coaching conversation.
  • Make it focused and relevant with clear goals and clear action plans.
  • Judge when you can bring in some key coaching tools that can add depth and richness.
  • Make key interventions as necessary.
  • Use a practical and accessible performance coaching approach in both ad hoc and more formal situations.
3. Five key skills that underpin all effective coaching:
  • How to build powerful rapport in a way that creates a trusting and secure relationship base for coaching.
  • How you can build your listening skills to listen with greater depth and clarity
  • How you can use the skills of summary and reflection to demonstrate your listening and to enhance the thinking power of your ‘coachee’.
  • How you can develop a powerful questioning style that can get to the root of issues and create insight quickly.
  • How you can set realistic, workable yet challenging goals for your coaching sessions.
4. Seven tools that can make your coaching deeper, more efficient and richer for those you coach:
  • Feedback as practised in coaching – building self-awareness and insight for those you coach.
  • Challenge – helping your ‘coachee’ to be suitably robust in doing what they need to do to make progress on their goals.
  • Interruption – making sure your ‘coachee’ makes maximum use of their coaching time with you.
  • The Snapshot Wheel – an effective tool for building insight and for creating clarity.
  • Peak Experience – a fun yet powerful tool for building insight into values and drivers.
  • Limiting Assumptions – an accessible way to help your coachee understand assumptions that may be holding them back from what they want or need.
  • Clean Language – the skilled practice of working directly with your ‘coachee’s language and metaphor to create deeper rapport and to bring creativity to solution-finding.
We will guide you step by step through each of these parts of the course at your own pace. The mix of written material, video demonstration, skills practice exercises and reflective writing will enable you to build real confidence and assurance over the 50 hours of study.

Additionally you will have the reassurance of online learning support from an experienced facilitator, meaning you need never worry about how to handle the details and nuances of learning to coach. Personal support for your learning will be on hand.

You will learn

After completing this course you will have:
Knowledge and understanding
  • examined the roots of coaching and how it differs from other techniques
  • examined the benefits of coaching – when to use it and what it is used for
  • identified and applied the seven key principles and five key skills for coaching
Cognitive skills 
  • considered the value and when to apply seven useful coaching tools
  • evaluated a coaching session and planned for future personal development as a coach
Practical and professional skills
  • used the 'kipper tie' model and coaching principle and tools
  • analysed the flow of some example coaching conversations
  • incorporated the ethical guidelines for coaching into your own coaching practise. 

The course features the distinctive strengths of The Open University (OU) from its years of expertise in work-based learning:

  • The convenience of accessing its clearly presented and sequenced materials, activities and support whenever suits you and wherever you have access to the dedicated website – if you prefer, you can print key materials to work on them offline.

  • The support of an expert learning adviser who can clarify study materials, answer questions and help you relate the course to your specific needs.

  • A work-based activity helping you to connect the course to your individual and organisational context and needs. A learning adviser will review your work-based activity and provide personal feedback.

  • Certification of completion from the OU for those who complete the course. You can use this to demonstrate your continuing professional development (CPD) activity to your employer and/or professional body. (NB the course does not carry academic credit points.)

Professional recognition

Successful completion of the course enables us to recognise your achievement of the course learning by issuing an OU certificate that you can use to document your commitment to continuing professional development in your personal portfolio, or to provide evidence to employers or professional body.

Learner support

Expert, confidential learner support is available when you need it from a learning adviser. Other support is available via the course forum, library, StudentHome website and computing helpdesk.

Work-based activity

The work-based activity for this course has been designed as an integrated ongoing activity that you submit at the end of your study. It will allow you to reflect on your learning and how to use it in your professional work.

Outside the UK

This course has been written primarily for a UK context, but will have relevance to other contexts.

Course length

This course will require around 50 hours to complete.

Teaching and assessment


You will be given feedback on your work based activity from an experienced learning adviser. The activity will encourage you to reflect on the tools and techniques demonstrated in the course and on your own developing experience as a coach.


As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the academic regulations, which are available on our Student Policies and Regulations website.

    Entry requirements

    Although there are no formal academic requirements to study any of our CPD courses, you are expected to have some experience in the field and the course assumes a familiarity with the subject.

    You can register and begin at any time during the life of the course. You can study at your own pace and submit your work-based activity at any date before the final submission date for the course.

    Please note that depending on when you register, you will have at least 6 months to submit your work based activity. Information about your final submission date is available when you register for the course. If you feel 6 months may not be sufficient time for your study and submission, please contact us to discuss your study options, including current final submission date before you register.

    Course length

    This course will require around 50 hours to complete.


    Start End England fee Register
    At anytime Flexible - see Entry requirements for more detail £550.00 Register

    Ways to pay

    Credit/Debit Card – We accept American Express, Mastercard, Visa and Visa Electron.

    Sponsorship – If this course is geared towards your job or developing your career, you could ask your employer to sponsor you by paying some or all of the fees. Your sponsor just needs to complete a simple form to confirm how much they will be paying and we will invoice them.

    The fee information provided here is valid for short courses starting in the 2020/21 academic year. Fees for short courses starting in the 2021/22 academic year or later may increase in line with the University’s strategic approach to fees.

    What's included

    All learning materials, exercises, study support and the work-based activity are delivered entirely online.

    Computing requirements

    A computing device with a browser and broadband internet access is required for this module. Any modern browser will be suitable for most computer activities. Functionality may be limited on mobile devices.

    Any additional software will be provided, or is generally freely available. However, some activities may have more specific requirements. For this reason, you will need to be able to install and run additional software on a device that meets the requirements below.

    A desktop or laptop computer with either an up-to-date version of Windows or macOS.

    The screen of the device must have a resolution of at least 1024 pixels horizontally and 768 pixels vertically.

    To join in the spoken conversation in our online rooms we recommend a headset (headphones or earphones with an integrated microphone).

    Our Skills for OU study website has further information including computing skills for study, computer security, acquiring a computer and Microsoft software offers for students.

    If you have a disability

    The course is delivered online and makes use of a variety of online resources. If you use specialist hardware or software to assist you in using a computer or the internet you are advised to contact us about support which can be given to meet your needs. If you are a new learner with the OU, make sure that you look at our website.