Ellen Van Oosten

Ellen Van Oosten

Behavioral and neuroscience research shows that coaching with compassion helps inspire and motivate people to learn, change and be effective leaders.

Case Western Reserve University faculty members Ellen Van Oosten, Melvin Smith and Richard Boyatzis at the Weatherhead School of Management’s Department of Organizational Behavior will offer a free Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) through Coursera beginning Oct. 5, titled “Conversations that Inspire: Coaching Learning, Leadership and Change.’’

The five-week course builds upon concepts introduced in Boyatzis’ internationally popular MOOC “Inspiring Leadership through Emotional Intelligence.” That previous course, while helpful, is not a prerequisite for the new course.

Richard Boyatzis

Van Oosten, an assistant professor in organizational behavior and director of the Coaching Research Lab at the Weatherhead School, said the course will help students understand coaching with compassion as a way to achieve positive and long-term change.

Smith, professor of organizational behavior and faculty director of executive education at the Weatherhead School, said the MOOC “is about motivating others to learn and change. You will learn how to truly help others, and the techniques you learn will improve your relationships in all areas of your life.”

Boyatzis, Case Western Reserve University Distinguished University Professor and the H.R. Horvitz Professor of Family Business, teaches and researches organizational behavior, psychology and cognitive science. He said the MOOC will review and apply research in management, psychology, education, medicine and neuroscience, including “some of the research being done by faculty and doctoral students here at Case Western Reserve University and in our Coaching Research Lab.”

Melvin Smith

Melvin Smith

The course is aimed at advanced students and professionals, including executives. Each weekly module offers a video, some with exercises to be done during the online sessions and others after class. By the end of July, enrollment had already exceeded 11,300 and is expected to grow considerably by its October start.

Students will be encouraged to maintain a personal journal of thoughts, observations and experiences during the course. In the fourth week, students will conduct two coaching sessions and write a brief essay on each to be read and reviewed by a small group of online classmates.

Students are expected to offer opinions, ideas and examples from the videos, readings, personal learning and reflective exercises in online discussions. Each week will conclude with a quiz.

Successful completion of the course will be based on quizzes, completion of “personal learning assignments” and assessment of the coaching essay. Course staff will monitor online discussions.

The topics of study each week are:

  • Week 1: Coaching to Inspire and Motivate
  • Week 2: Physiology and Neuroscience of Coaching
  • Week 3: Coaching for the Ideal Self and Relationships
  • Week 4: Coaching for the Real Self, Balance and Learning Agenda
  • Week 5: Establishing a Culture of Coaching

To learn more or to register for the free course, visit coursera.org/course/coaching.