An Insider’s Guide to MOE by Joy Blundell

The MOE Foundation, can you tell me some more about it? The question has been asked enough times to warrant time spent to tell the story, so here’s my low-down of the MOE Foundation

MOE Foundation was founded by Darren Robson. The story is moving: raised in hardship as a young person, Darren was inspired to give back when his dear mother passed away, herself being a great pillar of strength for the communities and lives she touched. Her children, his siblings, decided to create MOE as part of her legacy, and with that they started a coaching movement.

With the help of Carol Wilson, they re-bundled her executive coaching course so that resources for this movement could reach as many people in need affordably. The aim is still to help young people in tough circumstances, but it also helps those looking for a way to transform their personal and professional careers and relationships. And it really does.

How it Works

The course runs about 4-5 times a year; each cohort ranges between 15-25 people. The cohort will spend 5 full days together: the first three days learning, the next 6 weeks practicing offline, and the last two days learning some more and finally getting assessed.

During the 6 weeks, students pair off to practice with each other over four sessions and produce a case study report which will be reviewed by a supervisor, in addition to a check-in call the week before they return for the final couple of days.

The course is paid for through nominal donations. It covers those who are not able to afford the course, and other expenses. Trainers give their time to the cause, so donations go straight to other participants.

The Cohort

Composed of people from all walks of life, the diversity makes the course extremely valuable. We have folks who know the ropes of coaching, those like me who have little clue, professionals, entrepreneurs, freewheelers, parents, transitioners, all at the brink of a deep tissue transformation they did not see coming.

More than that, the quality of conversations we have with each other in the name of coaching exercises are deeply meaningful and open that they gift a special bond between the cohort; we are friends who support each other and want to see each other succeed.

The Results

With the little I have done with MOE, seeing two classes go through some significant shifts has been hugely rewarding. The level of awareness the course brings to you, and tools to create interventions is practical, looks small, but transformative. The emphasis on listening, looking for non-verbal cues, breaking assumptions about the way we communicate are learnt by observation. The style of teaching is largely facilitative, allowing the group to reach their conclusions, and share their learnings in an open way. Which broadens scope for reflection and individual self-directed learning.


Once you have passed the course (yay!), the MOE certificate qualifies you for membership with the Association for Coaching: this gives you discounts to coaching publications and events run by AC. If you enjoy decorating your business card, you may suffix your name with additional letters. 

Where Are They Now

There’s a path sketched for those who wish to give back with their time through MOE. For those who wish to return as trainers, they run a full-day workshop featuring exercises on the materials, presentation, vocalisation. There are Coaching Accelerator days for those who wish to refresh their coaching skills by practice, and bi-monthly meetups to check in on how other MOE coaches are doing.

My Version

This is the version I tell everyone who asks: I took the course without the intention of becoming a coach.

My first encounter with MOE was at their inaugural MOEvement Conference (big thanks to @nicolejberg), where I heard a series of entrepreneurs and MOE coaches speak about their personal journeys. There was something so special about the group of 150 people in that room that day; it is hard to put into words.

Possibly the best description is their quality of human spirit, an openness and vulnerability they could trust to share over an implicit acknowledgement that each one of us had or were going through something similar.

It was an instinctual choice to find a way to grow closer to this community, and one of the more obvious ways was to take the course, and now return as a trainer to the course, helping and witnessing great personal and professional transformations take place.

Two Cents

As a non-coach participant, I cannot state enough how much this course has done for me. It came during a pivotal time, and enhanced the mileage travelled during my months of training as a facilitator, making new friends, running new projects, and so on. It served my personal relationships as well, inquiring more, hijacking less, and trusting that the person sitting across from you knows best about their problems, shifting your responsibility to facilitator, not advisor.

More importantly, the course rewires your instincts to notice more, and surrender control over discussions, and allow the other to explore possibilities not usually available to them. In a way, you become a channel for reflection and introspection.

All that to say, becoming a coach is not essential to choosing to take the course, but what you learn from the course is essential for life.

And with that, I’ll end with a sketchnote about the Reticular Activating System which was part of training delivered last week.

Joy Bundell



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