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Scott Cullen

Govia Thameslink Railway

Customer Service Coach

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Pre-Course Work for a Leadership Programme



I am reviewing our Leadership programme for frontline supervisors and team leaders, it focuses on the Adair 3 Circles model together with Motivation, Delegation, Decision taking and Communication.

As part of the review, it was suggested that precourse work could be sent out. I have already written some FAQs about the programme and the ILM Qualification and not sure how much detail to go into.

Any ideas or suggestions welcome



6 Responses

  1. Pre-work

     Hi Scott,

    I guess it depends on what you want to achieve from the Pre-work!

    Are you trying to increase attendee engagement..? Reduce theory discussion so you can focus on practical application during the workshop? or assess entry level understanding of attendees?

    Depending on your answers this will determine what and the best type of Pre-work to issue.

    Some examples we’ve usedin the past include:

    – Relevant subject matter questionnaire / quiz’s – E.g. motivational / Delegation styles / preference indicators (Result from these can be used or referred to in course session)

    – Set a task – Individuals to work in groups to prepare a short presentation on (XXX) Which is then delivered in the course and used as a discussion point. I.e 5minute presentation on problems faced with Decision making (Review of their presentation to refer to how did the decide on the Presentation! Roles/Content/etc.!!)

    – The most obvious one and widly used is pre=course reading. A relevant book or workbook relevant to subject matter. But be sure to make it an easy read…and not to heavy as you run risk that it won’t be done.

    But what ever you do make sure it has a tangible link to the course and is reference within the course. Otherwise you set the precedent that delegates don’t have to complete it!


    Let me know if need any more ideas or thoughts







  2. and

    in addition to the previous excellent comment you must factor in the likelihood of completion:

    will it damage the course if some people haven’t done the prework if so you have a choice….

    risk people failing to attend because they haven’t done it

    risk upsetting them when you tell them off for failing to do it

    risk upsetting the people who did it when there is no penalty for those who failed (ie there was no point in it!)


    One client of mine made it a condition of attendance,  and the prework was elearning with a test….if you hadn’t passed the test 5 days before the course you were banned from attendance AND charged the cancellation fee

    Now that’s guts!




    Lee mentions getting them to read a book…

    I strongly recommend People Management Secrets ISBN 978-0-00-734678-3

    its EVER SO GOOD…..I wrote it!


  3. Pre-course work for a Leadership Programme

    I feel a little timid putting in my ha’pence worth after the preceding heavyweight gurus….still, perhaps having been on the other side of the flip chart recently my experience of pre-course work might address yet another angle.

    One of the three (or was it four) day courses I attended required the delegates to complete a personality test beforehand. The access code didn’t work, and, most people had waited to the very last minute (so good to know it isn’t just me!) to do it.  
    TheTrainer/Facilitator moved the particular section of the course to the next day so people could complete the assessment. 
    It might be useful to consider thinking about the point at which the content of pre-course work is addressed to factor in completion time (breaks, overnight) for procrastinators…
    I got some really excellent input from Rus for one of my assignments – so his book recommendation must be spot on!
    – ‘Desola
  4. Thanks


    Thanks for the points given.
    I have an idea now of what the precourse work will include and look like. I’m going to use it as a thought/idea generator which will cut down on the some of the discussion time within the sessions, allowing us to concentrate more on the practical elements.  I also will include some articles on leadership which I have been keeping for a while which tie into the material quite well.
    Rus – I’ll check your book out


    Regards Scott

  5. Your audience

    I think knowing your audience beforehand is significantly undervalued.  Does it have to be pre-course work?  What about pre-course engagement?  A conference call, online chat, online forum, shared consequences document, etc can all work to get the participants engaging with each other and you beforehand.  It sets expectations that you are there to facilitate not teach and that the audience are not an audience; they are going to have to participate.

    We send participants the learning materials beforehand so they can preview what will be covered, discuss with their managers what they wish to focus on, and highlight any areas they want to cover.  To date, we’ve had no complaints and more engaged learners.

  6. Study Skills

    Hi Scott,

    I run a similar programme for our supervisors and team leaders but we are acredited with the CMI rather than ILM. 

    This sounds a simple idea and you may already cover it but I find that a lot of the candidates have never been in any kind of learning environment since school in some cases so I send them out a Study Skills Self Managed Learning pack to complete prior to the programme which includes managing time, note taking, writing assigmments, making the most of the workshops, reading skills and completion of the Learning Styles questionnaire.  We then have a discussion around learning styles during the induction session.

    I also ask them to think about their expectations, concerns and questions to discuss on the day.

    Depending on the qualification level we invite them to complete the OPQ on-line beforehand and receive feedback as part of the programme too.

    Just a few simple ideas but I guess it depends on the participants and what they require.

    I’m just looking at reviewing our Level 2 Diploma in Team Leading as there’s been a restructure and we’ve offered the qualification to 140 new team leaders so I’m just trying to work out how to deliver it differently to achieve this!



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Scott Cullen

Customer Service Coach

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