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Institute of Continuing Education (ICE)


There’s exciting news for professional coaches as the Institute for Continuing Education unveils an innovative, part-time Master’s programme designed to boost all coaching careers. 

The new Master’s, launching in September 2023, complements the Institute’s long-running and successful undergraduate courses, helping experienced coaches enhance their practice across a spectrum of diverse scenarios. Developed in response to demand from practitioners seeking advanced training, the interdisciplinary MSt aims to sharpen critical-thinking skills and zoom into evidence-based psychological models. 

Broadening the horizons of experienced practitioners 

“Our existing Certificate and Diploma in Coaching are both very popular, and we realised that many students want to continue their development, which is why we’ve launched this two-year, part-time Master’s,” says Academic Director, Dr Gill Stevens. “It’s aimed at practitioners who have been coaching for a minimum of three years and who want to widen their knowledge and interest in the field. 
Rather than following a narrow academic pathway, Gill notes that ICE’s MSt recognises the value in expanding knowledge across the field of coaching as a whole – and of looking beyond coaching to incorporate the latest insight from other sectors: “We’ll be looking at coaching from a systemic perspective, delving into the many and varied psychological approaches, assessing the evidence base for them and seeing how philosophy can help coaches too. We’ll also study contemporary topics, such as neuroscience, to understand how the brain functions.” 

A pathway to helping society ‘imagine new possibilities’ 

One person who appreciates the benefits of that expansive approach is student-turned-tutor, Dr Christopher McCormick. Christopher came to the Institute to study first the Coaching Certificate and then the Diploma, but his personal journey highlights the increasingly wide applicability of coaching to much of day-to-day life. “I worked in learning design for international education, assisting young learners and career professionals alike,” he recalls. 
“Along the way, I realised how much I was connecting with the idea of coaching because it’s so much about facilitating an individualised learning experience. After I studied coaching, I started developing teacher training for educators, showing them how they can work with their own learners and use coaching skills to help people imagine new possibilities.” 
And that’s a principle Christopher believes goes far beyond education. “With digital transformation, we face the constant challenge of upskilling, and there’s a need for more human skills to develop self-awareness and meaningful relationships – whether that’s within organisations, for our personal lives or across borders. Coaching has even more relevance as our world becomes increasingly automated.”     

Learning that enriches every coaching context 

As tutor on both the Diploma and Master’s courses, Christopher has a unique insight into what it’s like to learn and teach at ICE. “Coaching is baked into the mindset here,” he says. “People come to ICE from all walks of life – with different levels of education and different goals – and I really enjoyed the Institute’s ethos of working with adult learners to understand their needs and personalise their scholarly direction.” 
And, says Christopher, ICE’s MSt in Coaching offers an opportunity for students to shape the direction of the discipline: “This new Master’s facilitates the progression of people who have become practitioners but who have real curiosity about the field of coaching and how they can augment the research base. They’re going to draw from many other disciplines to advance their critical thinking, learn to ask great questions and contribute to the development of coaching knowledge. 
“The course unit I look after centres on evidence-based coaching. It’s in the middle of the programme, just after explorations of psychology and philosophy and at the point where students are starting to formulate their research questions. We’ll investigate that research base, and the gaps in it, to develop our own perspectives. 
“Students will come from a variety of fields and apply this learning to very different contexts, and that’s what’s so exciting.” 

A one-of-a-kind learning community with full College membership 

During the two-year, part-time course, students engage with teaching blocks delivered in person and undertake their own focused research with tutor support. The course team keeps everyone connected between face-to-face sessions through online tutorials, guest speakers and more. ICE works hard to enable its vibrant learning community, as students from diverse backgrounds come together to learn not only from leading academics but from each other. 
“The University of Cambridge is a wonderful place to study that nurtures learners in a supportive environment,” agrees Christopher. “To come to Madingley Hall, be a full member of a university College, build strong networks with fellow students and have access to unparalleled resources – from libraries to support services – it’s a fantastic, inclusive community to be part of.” 
Applications are now open, and the Coaching Master’s team is holding a series of online open events for practitioners interested in finding out more. To sign up, follow the link below. “We’re really looking forward to meeting curious coaches at our open events and to welcoming our first cohort in September,” adds Gill. 

To find out more about the new Master’s in Coaching, visit: 

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