Open Space Leadership


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Workshop Course Plan

In college we called this the syllabus.

This is an outline of the 4 group sessions, along with the preparation guide to prepare for each session.

Group sessions last up to 2.5 hours each. Plan to spend 1-2 hours preparing for each session.

Workshop Session 0 (Day 1)



Before the initial kickoff session please prepare. (~1 hour)

  • Read through the workbook (the whole thing). Skim it, but don't do the excercises yet. The goal is for you to get an overview of what's coming up.
  • Personal  Reflection (1) Work through "Day 1 - Your Values and Mission" in the workbook. This reconnects you with your inner motivations and strengths. If you've recently done an excercise like this, reflect on that, or update it.
  • Personal Reflection (2) Identify an Open Space scenario (it can be real or imagined) where you'll apply what you learn in this workshop.
    • What is exciting about your scenario?
    • What is puzzling about your scenario?

group session online

In this session you will meet everyone, align, design your experience, make "working agreements", and plan our remaing workshop dates and times together.

We will also discuss the pre-work in break-outs and in the full group. (You choose what to share from the personal reflections. You choose what to hold for yourself. Everything is welcome, and everything is optional).

If you don't already have a workshop partner, you will also pair with a partner for the rest of the workshop.

workshop session 1 (Day 2)



Please prepare before session 1 (~1 hour).

  • Personal Reflection Work through "Day 2 - Taking care of what’s important" in your workbook.
  • Read the suggested pages in The Tao of Holding Space by Chris Corrigan (from the workbook Day 1 — if you haven’t already read it).

The Tao of Holding Space is available as a free ebook. You'll find the suggested reading and the links to the download in the workbook (under

Partner Work Check in together about your learnings and what's coming up for you both now.

group session online

We will focus on waves.

Part of Open Space is creating the waves and riding the waves that bring passionate authentic leadership into your open space.

We will explore your open space mindset. We'll also work with your organiser's spark and how to fan it.

workshop session 2 (Day 3)



Please prepare before session 2 (~1 hour).

  • Personal Reflection Work through "Day 3 - The Right People" in your workbook.
  • Read the suggested pages in Michael Hermann’s Inviting Leadership Guide (available to download free online).

You'll find the suggested reading and the links to the download in the workbook.

Partner Work Checkin with each other.  Then discuss "What is Space?" with your partner. We will continue discussing this together when we meet as a full group.


group session online

We will focus on Space.

What is Space? What does it mean to Hold Space?

We’ll ask, "What happens if the right people don’t come?"

Workshop Session 3 (Day 4)



Please prepare before the 3rd session (~2-3 hours).

This work takes time. You can plan to spend more time on this pre-work than the previous pre-work.

  • Personal Reflection Work through "Day 4 - How does
    Open Space support
 new thinking/doing?" in your workbook.
  • Draft a Script Draft your "script" to use as the open space facilitator in the opening circle of your next open space event.

How will you use this draft?

Many facilitators keep this draft to continuously refine it each time they open space.

And, many facilitators will find other ways to prepare for the opening circle after this session.

Whether you use this draft again, or not, the intensive reflection and practice of drafting your script here is an excercise to hone your way of preparing for an opening circle. We will also work with your draft in the workshop session. So if you don’t complete it (by writing it out) you’ll have a harder time participating in the last session.

  • Partner Work Review your draft script with your partner. What comes up for you both now?
  • Read the (new) suggested pages in The Tao of Holding Space by Chris Corrigan.

group session online

We'll ask "What is it to Open Space?".

You will refine your scripts with different partners (when they are available).

This is a session about paradox. It's also a session for your puzzles.

1-on-1 Mentoring

holding your space

This is one hour (each), 1-on-1, with your guide, to plan or to look at concrete questions, for your own events. Use this now, or in the future when you are preparing your next event.

updated 20 October 2020 by Steve Holyer