Community Colleges Australia 2023 NSW ACE CEO Executive Coaching Program

Community Colleges Australia 2023 NSW ACE CEO Executive Coaching Program


CCA has been funded by the NSW Department of Education (Training Services NSW) through a “Teaching and Leadership” grant to undertake executive coaching of NSW adult and community education (ACE) provider CEOs. The focus of the “2023 NSW ACE CEO Executive Coaching Program” is on CEOs who have taken on their roles relatively recently, generally within the last two years. This program is by invitation only from CCA to its NSW member organisations.

CCA last undertook a very successful executive coaching program in early 2020, commencing just as the pandemic arrived in Australia.

What Do Executive Coaches Do?
According to the Harvard Business Review, “executives who get the most out of coaching have a fierce desire to learn and grow,” and “the right match is absolutely key to the success of a coaching experience. Without it, the trust required for optimal executive performance will not develop.”

Forbes magazine says executive coaching helps to combat executive isolation, improve your thought leadership, elevate your executive presence – communications and influencing, operate in your “zone of genius” and increase your self-confidence.

Purpose of the 2023 Executive Coaching Program

The purpose of the 2023 program is to strengthen the NSW ACE sector by providing leadership and governance support and guidance through executive coaching for new NSW ACE CEOs.

Corporate governance, executive leadership and managerial capability are top priority focus areas for proper functioning and operations of ACE providers. CCA has determined that proper governance and the associated executive management expertise is second only to funding in relation to success of ACE providers. This project builds directly addresses these needs, building on previous CCA projects and extended and ongoing research.

ACE providers are at their highest level of strategic, financial, operational and human resource vulnerability and risk when there is a change of senior executive. Careful “intervention” through targeted support to new CEOs helps each of them – and their organisations – individually and helps the whole network of ACE CEOs and organisations. In addition, the past 3.5 years of COVID-19 has often made it difficult for CEOs to network, meet and “bond” in-person with other CEOs. This especially applies to new CEOs, many of them located in regional areas. This has been exacerbated by natural disasters, which have caused unprecedented operational and strategic challenges for some providers.

Coaching has been one of the most successful PD programs run by CCA, as it ensures high morale, professionalism, skill and “deep learning” of participants. This program acknowledges the high level of stress and unusual challenges faced by ACE CEOs, even more so since commencement of the pandemic. These stresses have not disappeared despite the view that Australia is successfully “living with the pandemic” (normalisation of COVID-19). Despite recent increases and extra effort from providers, student numbers in many ACE providers remain down in many locations, with disadvantaged students at particular risk of disengagement from learning/

Outcomes of the project are to:

  1. Ensure that recently appointed NSW ACE CEOs have access to coaching assistance and guidance to assist them to “navigate the shoals” of being a not-for-profit ACE provider CEO;
  2. Assist the CEOs to do their jobs well, support them to operate strategically, respond to new business challenges, communicate effectively and manage & lead their organisations effectively;
  3. Assist the CEOs in skill-building where they may have gaps in their abilities, backgrounds and experiences;
  4. Ensure sustainable NSW ACE organisations by strengthening their leadership capabilities, managerial foresight and financial health; and
  5. Support facilitated professional networking of new NSW ACE CEOs with common interests, concerns, challenges and issues.

Project approach: CCA has built its executive leadership and governance training on principles established by the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD). As AICD training and services are often too expensive and generic for ACE providers, it is important our sector has access its own, affordable programs customised to the sector and the needs of its CEOs.

Delivery: This project is specifically tailored for delivery in a “distance” (“virtual”) mode, recognising reduced amount of travel undertaken for professional development and the “physical distancing” requirements which took place during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. The great majority of sessions will take place via Zoom, Teams or other online platforms.

Project activities: In addition to the coaching, CCA plans an extended “breakout” session for new CEOs during the upcoming CCA October Conference, which will be held in-person at Hotel Amora Jamison Sydney.

CCA online support: The project will be supported and complemented by CCA’s easy-to-use and accessible online member portal (“The Hub” from Teamie). We will strongly encourage coaches and CEO participants to utilise the Hub for communication and sharing.

Underlying principles: Project outcomes will be guided by and aligned with key leadership and governance factors for not-for-profit organisations (NFPs) prepared by the Australian Institute of Community Directors:

  • leadership (independent and characterised by vision and commitment);
  • legitimacy and power (recognition of legal and moral authority);
  • job definition (clear purpose functions and tasks);
  • culture (shared beliefs and norms);
  • competence (knowledge skills and attitudes); and
  • management of processes (planning and implementation of functions for effectiveness).[1]

Board Chairs project: The CEO 2023 Executive Coaching program is complemented by another NSW Government-funded project that assists the Chairs of CCA member Boards of Directors.

Contact CCA via email for any additional information.

[1] See