Programme Overview and Design

The Bath Future Talent Programme is curated, designed, and delivered by Farleigh Performance in partnership with Bath Bridge. Bath Bridge is a community interest company with the key purpose of bringing about greater connections within the city to bridge the divides (current focus on the digital divide) and nurture and support future talent. This year, 2023, will be the seventh year of the programme. It is aimed at early career leaders or those who may be in leadership roles but have never undertaken any formal development. It is fundamentally a programme designed to support personal growth and development with a focus on building leadership capability and leading in complexity. During the programme, participants are presented with an opportunity to:

  • Learn more about themselves through building their self-awareness and capability to reflect
  • Develop their awareness and understanding of others
  • Explore the complexities of leadership and the qualities that make effective leaders
  • Consider and experiment with being more purposeful as leaders
  • Practise new and different ways of leading within their own work contexts

The programme offers a rich learning environment together with an opportunity for participants to extend their local network. Participants are drawn from across all sectors in and around Bath & North-East Somerset. Typically, a cohort is between 10 and 14 participants. The programme is run in central Bath between April and November, and comprises:

  • Four x three-day in-person modules
  • Four x 1-1 professional coaching sessions
  • Two x 1-1 business mentoring sessions
  • Strengthscope profile (strengths-based assessment)
  • Participation in a social community project (working with local charities on digital inclusion)
  • Each participant receives a Reflective Journal at the start of the programme and a Certificate of Achievement on completion

Each day runs from approximately 9.30 am to 5.00 pm. Coaching and mentoring takes place outside the face-to-face modules. For the social community projects, the cohort is divided into two project teams. Time is allocated within Module 3 for project planning and preparation with the project itself being undertaken outside the modules between Modules 3 and 4. The amount of time allocated is decided by the individual participants, to be negotiated and agreed with their project team members.

Post-programme, each participant is invited to join the Alumni Network and participate in regular monthly sessions to support their continuing professional development and continue to increase their connections within Bath & North-East Somerset across all sectors.

Design principles

  • To introduce the concept of personal and professional growth, within the context of purposeful leadership and leading in complexity, building on this as a ‘golden thread’ to run throughout the programme
  • To challenge participants’ assumptions and provoke their thinking beyond their own spheres of knowledge, experience, skills and understanding
  • To build their own capacity to continue their development as a leader, both during and beyond the programme, recognising the different contexts within which they work
  • To introduce models and theories in ways that enable experimentation and practical application within the workplace
  • To create a series of ‘touch points’ throughout the programme to facilitate growth and development, both individually and collectively as a group (these include coaching and mentoring outside the four module)
  • To recognise, and take account of, the extent to which participants have the capacity to grow, learn and develop during the programme, in and outside the formal modules
  • To support participants to engage in reflective practice (i.e., KOLB/Gibbs)

To create a space within which every participant is able to step into personal and professional growth and development, we hold four principles at the heart of our design. These principles have emerged from our experience of working in organisational development and the research on complexity, so we use this as a guide in our work for supporting people to explore acting into complex and uncertain challenges.

Theories and Models

Throughout each module, we scaffold the participants learning and reflection with a range of different theories, models and frameworks. Those we use, are selected specifically to enhance participants’ development, and help them make sense of their own personal and professional contexts. We do, however, always hold these lightly in order to avoid management theory overwhelm as this may reduce the learning opportunities for each participant. This programme is not about ‘training’, it is about supporting the participants to open their minds to learn more about themselves and the people around them.

Some examples of the key theories and models we use are as follows:

  • Integral theory and AQAL (All Quadrants; All Levels) – Wilber, K. (1995)
  • Theory U – Scharmer, O. (2006)
  • Deliberate Practice – Ericsson, A. (1993)
  • Growth Mindset – Dweck, C. (2006)
  • Managing our State (Above/Below the Line) – Dethmer, J., Chapman, D. et al (2015)
  • Transactional Analysis – Berne, E. (1961)
  • Teaming – Edmondson, A. (2012)
  • Teams Flywheel – Abbey, G. P. (2021)
  • The Power of Vulnerability – Brown, B. (2013)
  • Dichotomy of the Brain – Peters, S. Prof. (2012)
  • ICS Connect – the four energies – Huiras, D. (1992)
  • GROW model – coaching skills – Whitmore, J. (1992)

We create a psychologically safe space throughout the programme to enable every participant to maximise their learning, as individuals and in the collective. Within this space, we also seek to disrupt the participants’ thinking and use a range of provocations to do this. During the six years of the programme, our experience has shown that the way in which the participants come together as a cohort, enhanced by their diverse roles and backgrounds, creates a rich learning environment within which they learn as much, if not more, from each other, than from the range of interventions and activities they participate in. It also provides an opportunity for Bath-based leaders to create new connections, with their cohort and the wider Alumni network.

Social Community Project

In Module 3 (Team Up), the cohort is divided into two project teams and set a challenge working with local charities around addressing the Digital Divide within the city. The teams are given six to seven weeks between Modules 3 and 4 to come together as a team, step into an unfamiliar, uncertain and complex context to explore how they might add value and bring about sustainable impact for their particular charity. This project seeks to challenge the participants’ skills and capabilities on a number of levels:

  • Navigating a new, unfamiliar, and complex context
  • Stepping into, and forming, a new team within tight time constraints
  • Organising and managing their time to fulfil the project outside the formal structure of the programme
  • Engaging key stakeholders and building insight and relationships at pace
  • Gathering and analysing data to inform direction
  • Exploring their leadership, of the project, and each other – how do they show up when faced with complexity

The project teams are encouraged to consider and explore their Strengthscope profiles as a way of identifying where each person’s core strengths lie and how they might best utilise these during their project, and as a team.


This is a strengths-based assessment and profiling tool designed in 2006 by organisational psychologists. Used widely across the globe, this tool offers individuals (and teams) greater insight into where they take most energy from and, in turn, where the significant strengths lie. It has been designed to accelerate people’s appreciation of themselves and help them bring their strength energy to work, recognising where their performance risks are and how they can better draw on their strengths to manage these more effectively.

Further information and/or an introductory conversation, please contact:

Sarah Williment, Programme Director, Bath Future Talent Programme
t: 07957 519066