Hosting & Facilitating Good Conversations Programme

Collective Leadership for Scotland makes an offer of support and learning to build capacity for collective leadership to teams of people working to tackle systemic issues which reach beyond the boundaries of traditional hierarchies and public institutions. 

One of the ways we support capacity building is through a three-day programme on ‘Hosting and Facilitating Good Conversations – Through Use of Self’ (HoFa for short). 

About the programme

One good conversation can shift the direction of change forever.

Linda Lambert

Collaborating across teams, organisations and systems is hugely important and heavily emphasised in the public and third sectors, as a way to progress transformational change.   While there are many models and approaches about working together, they all rely on the relationships between people which often comes down to the quality of our conversations when we meet in groups. We have all been involved in conversations which have felt controlling, denigrating or cynical and experienced the difference when conversations have felt open, curious and generative.

In your role, you may convene, host, chair or facilitate conversations. You will be a participant in many conversations every day. So how do you contribute to the conditions for good conversations that can lead to the change you are looking for with your partners?

A real conversation always contains an invitation. You are inviting another person to reveal herself or himself to you, to tell you who they are or what they want.”   

David Whyte

Led by the Collective Leadership for Scotland team, this three day programme is an opportunity to learn and practice with others, in a creative and supportive space.  Participants will spend some time exploring different theories and approaches to create the conditions for good conversations, in complex settings, and trying these out. But this isn’t a ‘taught’ programme. It will be highly participative and designed to be experiential.  You will learn about group processes and also about yourself and how your personal style and your contribution can impact on a group and their ability to work well together.    In exploring the use of self within conversations, we are likely to go into some personal territory where you will be invited to share something of yourself beyond work; however this will always be to the extent to which you feel comfortable.

You will be hosted and facilitated by a group of skilled and experienced facilitators from Collective Leadership for Scotland.

Who this is for:

Anyone working in or with others in the public or third sector, particularly those working in partnerships across organisations and communities. You must be open to exploring your own self-awareness through personal reflection and feedback from fellow participants, and supporting others to do the same. Key to this is having a growth mindset, acknowledging our previous successes / styles / ways of working and being open to learning about enhancing these.


When you register, there are a few questions we ask you to consider and respond to, to ensure this programme is a right fit for you at this time and there is a small amount of pre-work required.


This is a non-residential course.  Each day will start at 10am and finish by 4pm.  Catering will be provided to keep our energy up!


Costs will be covered by Collective Leadership for Scotland and the hosting/partner organisation (see below for more details on becoming a hosting organisation).  

Feedback from participants

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“What surprised me was how quick it was to take time out of day to day work thoughts and really focus on my learning, and then to realise that I need to do this more often. By the end of the programme i felt rejuvenated, inspired and excited. i have spoken to my line manager and will be sharing my learning with the rest of my team”

“A big theme for me was being vulnerable and willing to take risks – I was able to bring that attitude into a key meeting on Monday and it paid huge dividends!  I’m also going to use some of the learning to support a very difficult office review.”

“Some of what the programme covered was familiar to me … but I don’t think I had quite experienced such a thoughtful and carefully judged pace and choreography of everything and I was really struck by how peaceful I felt at the end of each day compared to how I often feel at the end of group learning events like this.”

“I’ve come back to work feeling like I can and should approach others in a more human way – sometimes I find the organisation very formal in its relationships and have moved my own way of doing things to fit – but am now much happier to challenge that and defend any choices i make in how i work with colleagues – for me that’s the biggest thing perhaps”

“I am going to take the opportunity to incorporate some of these approaches in to programmes that I am involved in… This was one of the best courses I have attended.”

Becoming a partner organisation and host a HoFa with the Collective Leadership team

In all our work, we look to partner with organisations providing a public service.  HoFa is no different.  So far, we have partnered with Fife Council, Perth & Kinross Council, Public Health Scotland and the Scottish Fire & Rescue Service to host the programme and welcomed participants from a breadth of organisations including local authorities, charities, health & social care partnerships, social enterprise and many more.

We are looking for organisations that can provide a large meeting space without fixed tables, for three consecutive days and provide catering such as tea/coffee and a light lunch (if catering is a problem, please speak with us).  Ideally, the venue will have some nearby outdoor space suitable for walking in.

In return, the host organisation receives up to half of the places on the programme for their own and/or partners staff to attend.

Programme facilitation and course administration will be provided by Collective Leadership for Scotland. If you are interested in discussing becoming a host organisation in some more detail, please feel free to contact any of the holding team