Frequently Asked Questions
on the Cooperative Leadership Certification Program


How much of a time commitment is the course?

This is a 10 week online training. The sessions are weekly online for 2 hours. Outside of the live sessions, your homework takes about 1 to 3 hours a week. 
Total weekly time commitment: 3 to 5 hours a week 

Homework note:
Homework includes some video and reading assignments, practicing what you learn to prepare for the sessions, and small group sessions.
There is a minimum amount of participation that we recommend in the homework, but after that, your level of engagement is up to you. These practices could take you an hour or more depending on how much time and energy you’d like to devote to them.

Some of these practices (like facilitating a meeting) may end up replacing some of the work you’re doing, so our hope is that your homework will not always be added-on work to your busy schedule.

What is the attendance policy? What if I can’t make the sessions?

Once the dates have been set by the participants in the course, you may find that you need to miss a session. Our weekly course sessions will be recorded, so you can always listen later if you miss one (or to simply review the materials).

However, if you can anticipate needing to miss more than 2 sessions, we encourage you to wait till the next course launch.

Each class will be packed with experience and opportunities to build community, so even though you can make up parts of a missed class, you won’t get the full experience unless you’re there with the group.

What's the process after I apply?

Here are the steps:

Step 1: Apply

Step 2: Interview with a member of our team to determine if this is the right program for you

Step 3: Determine your financial needs and plans

  • Payment plans and financial support options are available. And, some Vermont residents will be eligible for funding through a VSAC Non Academic Grant.

Step 4: Cohort Placement

  • Then, you will be placed in a small cohort of your peers and an instructor.
  • This cohort model provides space for group learning of collaboration practices, acts as a sounding board, and facilitates crucial feedback for practicing your leadership skills.

Step 5: The Course 

  • Your cohort will spend 10 weeks to take your collaborative leadership to the next level.
  • The course will be delivered virtually and grounded in your real life challenges to maximize your benefits
What is the weekly schedule?

The course meets weekly online for 10 weeks. You’ll notice that we have not listed a schedule! That’s because the course dates are created with the schedule of each of our students in mind.

During your interview, you’ll receive a doodle poll to gather your weekly availability. From there, we select a time that works for everyone who will make up the cohort.

However, you can expect that your course sessions will be a 2 hour time block Monday thru Friday between 8am and 6pm Eastern Standard Time (New York Time Zone).

I can’t make it this time. When will you be running the course again?

We are currently** offering the Cooperative Leadership Certification Program three times a year, skipping the summer season. Applications are always open; so, you can always begin the conversation.

Here’s our yearly schedule for this course:

  • January applications due; February course starts
  • April applications due; May course starts
  • September applications due; October course starts

Sign up for our email list to get an update on the next application due date (in the footer of this website; scroll to the VERY bottom of this page).

**This schedule may change. Don’t procrastinate on your personal development!
1) You’ve read this far, so you likely believe that you could benefit from some concrete support in adding these tools and skills. I encourage you to take the leap on what you’re sensing you need.
2) For transparency, we cannot promise that we will offer this 3 times a year indefinitely. We may need to “pivot” or change to meet our worker member needs.

What are my options if I can't afford the full cost?

Our intention is to make this course as accessible as possible. If you need support financially, please indicate this as you apply for the course.

You have a few options, which we can discuss further in your interview:

  1. You can make the payments on a monthly payment plan that works for your budget.
  2. You can ask for a scholarship from Round Sky (make a note in your application).
  3. If you’re a Vermont resident, you may be eligible for a full or partial scholarship with a VSAC non-degree grantSee more here. (Ask for the step by step process in your interview!)
  4. OR, you may have a mix of a scholarship and payment plan.

The full cost of the Level I Training is $2500. This includes all learning materials, the 10 sessions, coordination, individualized feedback, and the training itself. If cost is a barrier, make a note on your application to start the conversation.

Course Content and Format

Will there be an opportunity to ask questions and get support from the instructors?

Yes! The sessions are interactive and designed for participation. This is not a two hour lecture each week. There will be time to get your questions answered and to contextualize the homework in your real world issues.

You can also participate via the forums to post any questions, comments, struggles, or success stories to both the instructors and the other participants. Other participants will have a chance to respond to posts in the forums. The instructors will also be monitoring the forum to provide extra support throughout the course.

Can I get a session by session overview?

The Level I Collab Facilitator Training includes 10 live weekly sessions (online via Zoom). The Level I curriculum is designed to gradually build upon each session. In each session there will be time given to troubleshoot real problems/scenarios, to connect with each other in the cohort, and to ask questions.


Session 1: Course Orientation & Theory of Collab

  • Orientation to the course, instructors, assignments, and your cohort
  • Get an overview of the theory that informs Collab’s processes for self-organized, collaborative, “teal”, and cooperative management systems
  •  Some tools/frameworks include:
    • The Power Matrix
    • The Seven Conversations: Introduction to the 7 conversations that every team must have to stay on track in all aspects
    • The Pillars and Principles of Collab

Session 2: Collaborative Facilitation in Remote AND in Person Teams

  • Learn in-person and online tools and skills for facilitating productive and inclusive meetings for shared and self-organized teams
  • Get a step by step introduction to facilitating collaborative meetings via effective processes for knowing WHAT you and your team need in just about any situation and HOW to get there
  • Build your facilitation skills such as how to manage difficult dynamics, get accountability, and communicate with clarity
  • Increase your ability to manage the uncertainty that comes up in our team (including conflict and crisis) into positive movement for your team
  • Hone in on skills to facilitate fun and productive meetings
  • Integrate a practice you can use to continuously improve your facilitation

Session 3: Efficient Collaborative Decision-Making

  • Understand a collaborative decision-making tool (Integrative Consent) to integrate different perspectives
  • Gain confidence to facilitate a participatory process to get clear and aligning results
  • Access tools and processes to explicitly define your many roles in order to to understand who makes which decisions
  • Learn how to unravel the dynamic of “when everyone is accountable, no one is accountable”

Session 4: Implementation Tools and Techniques Part I: Embodying the change

  • Learn how to introduce these tools to your potentially hesitant teams
  • Gain implicit tactics for improving collaboration
  • Identifying opportunities for intervention

Session 5: Self-management in a Self-organizing Team

  • Understand the role of personal development in leading and managing
  • Gain somatic awareness for skilled and grounded facilitation, including the better use of conflict in your team
  • Learn a tangible and easily integrated approach to task and project tracking
  • Integrate a project to upgrade or implement your own task tracking system that’s strong and intentional to visibly track your work and priorities in alignment with your team

Session 6: Mapping your Team through Clarifying Who’s Doing What

  • Visibilize and work through how you share power in your team to get more ALIGNED energy and engagement from all team members
  • Understand the purpose and use of core management roles and team based roles
  • Envision and put what you’ve learned into practice with real world work and teams in your life
  • Understand how to confer autonomy and get accountability (give people power over their work!)
  • Create the foundation for collaborative accountability that transforms the patterns that make it difficult to hold people accountable in participatory environments

Session 7: Collaborative Accountability Systems

  • Understand what accountability means and identify who we are accountable to
  • Set up collective project management for crafting that culture of accountability across your team
  • Get tools to become visibly on track and deliver on your goals
  • Learn how to work with people in your team who, despite their good intentions, have not followed through with what they said they would do
  • Learn why, how, and what to track for collaborative impact

Session 8: Implementation Tools and Techniques Part II: Practical Solutions to Different Situations

  • Unpack different implementation scenarios to troubleshoot how to put these practices into place
  • Get facilitation tips and tricks
  • Review the course concepts and practices

Session 9: Practicing and Refining your Collaborative Leadership Skills

  • Get an overview of how to facilitate the other conversations
  • Practice and refine your facilitation skills as ways of managing unhealthy power dynamics in the moment
  • Identify the need for purpose, business model, strategy, interpersonal and personal development conversations
  • Prepare for the certification exam

Session 10: Integrating, Completing, and Moving Forward

  • Review the certification test and training objectives
  • Demonstrate the integration of your new capacities
  • Create a clear plan of action for moving forward for yourself and your team

BONUS & Optional Session 11: Integrating, Completing, and Moving Forward Continued

  • Review the certification test and training objectives
  • Demonstrate the integration of your new capacities
  • Create a clear plan of action for moving forward for yourself and your team
Tell me more about the cohorts.

When you join the program, you’ll be placed within a small cohort of your peers and an instructor. The group will be about 5 to 10 people total.

This cohort model provides space for group learning of communication practices and acts as a sounding board and a crucial feedback mechanism for practicing your leadership skills. This small group learning model generates dynamic social development opportunities and deepens your understanding by learning from the experiences, questions, and wisdom from others in the cohort.

Course Participants

How do I know that this course is right for me and my work?

Again and again, we have found that the system, processes, and tools that we teach can be applied in any organization from any position. It’s designed for teams that already value collaboration in their team work (whether that’s living mostly in theory or in practice).

Specifically, many of our participants work in cooperatives (worker-owned, consumer-owned, food cooperatives or as cooperative developers). Some of our participants are in non-profits. And, some are in businesses that are more collaborative or orienting to a “teal” framework.

The bottom line is that our course is a practical learning experience for collaborative management. The things you’ll learn will be helpful for both completely horizontal/flat teams and teams that want to bring in only some aspects of collaboration.

You will learn tools and approaches for streamlining personal development, effectiveness, efficiency, and collaboration in any organization that you find yourself a part of.

Because the course focuses on both individual and organizational development, it provides you with a skill set and training that you can take anywhere. Even if your job changes next month or next year, you’ll find that your new abilities will be useful to you wherever you are. Our past participants have found that what they learn in this training has been useful for how they listen and relate to others in almost any setting.

If you’re unsure, that is okay. Once you apply, you’ll also get a chance to talk to someone on our team to see if this is a good fit for you.

Can you say more about who this course is for?

We’ve found that this course can be helpful for people in slightly collaborative and also in fully democratically operated teams. People take our course that have positional power and that are not quite leaders yet.

People tend to find this course particularly helpful if they have some capacity and authority to bring in new meeting tools and decision-making tools to guide their team’s work. This could be a director, manager, or a member that is taking lead on a project.

However, sometimes, as members or leaders in teams, they are sensing that things could be done differently, but for whatever reason their team isn’t ready for the change. This course addresses some micro changes that they (you!) can make in order to bring in the concepts of more intentional collaboration into the team.

The best next step is to apply and then interview with one of our team members to make sure it’s the right fit.

Should I take this course if I’m a trainer or coach myself?

We almost ALWAYS have a consultant, coach or cooperative developer in each cohort of our course. If that’s you reading this, you will learn so much from being in a course full of people who are putting these tools into practice. You also help to bring some of the coach/developer questions that others won’t. This course will be helpful for your work if you work with team dynamics and collaboration.

Who are the previous participants in this program?

Over 100 leaders from all over the world have participated in this training. All are connected around this question of how to meaningfully collaborate together.

Meet some of them here!

As someone whose background is in racial equity and social justice, I work with a lot of folks who are interested in shifting power structures and collaborative leadership. I appreciated how this course gave structure to sharing power in collaborative spaces and processing tensions in a way that feels generative rather than harmful.

I think it can benefit anyone who is open to learning and willing to spend the time and effort in creating a space where all voices are valid and heard.

Lia Carpio, Level I Graduate 2022
Former Regional Project Administrator at The Colorado Trust

If you want to learn a practical system for collective decision-making, mutual accountability, collaborative governance, and self and group reflexivity in a supportive and patient environment, I highly encourage you to enroll in this course.

If not for the wealth of content, then for the community we built that was, for me, a model of what a work environment attentive to our humanity could look like.

Alyssa Moncure, Level I Graduate 2021
Former Northeast Grocers Project Coordinator at Groundwork Northeast Revitalization Group

This course helped me see all the ways I'd been blocking my own dreams for more democratic organizational structures just by relying on the same old ordinary meeting practices I'd been used to.

This was life transforming. And in the most powerfully practical way.

Omar Freilla, Level I Graduate 2020
Co-Founder at Collective Diaspora

The Collab system is an exploration of power. As a member of a self-organizing team for 12 years I have seen so many different manifestations of power in a non-hierarchical setting and wanted to know how do we really organize ourself in an efficient way without replicating toxic social norms?

The tools we explored in this course aim to increase autonomy and accountability while building better business strategies that are actually driven by the workers. I highly recommend this course for any leadership team.

Kristin McRay, Level I Graduate 2020
Community Bicycle Mechanic at BICAS (A Worker Self Directed Non Profit)

“This course was super informative and practical - it gave me some really important tools for working more clearly and compassionately in group/collective settings and facilitating collective decision making. These lessons continue to inform my work and facilitation.”

Lila Arnaud, Level I Graduate 2020
Cooperativistx & language justice worker

The Collab CLCP course allowed me the opportunity to hone my understanding and experiences of cooperative and democratic governance and leadership that I've internalized over decades of participation; while also providing me with new models and templates of autonomous interdependence and accountability which I perceive as a constant and major failing of many group processes and participants. 

Frank Cetera, Level I Graduate 2020
Advanced Certified Business Advisor at New York Small Business Development Center

This was a great course, something that I will continue to use and refer to. I appreciated the theoretical framework but was grateful that we had the opportunity to implement with each other and to apply with our organization. This [implementation] is usually the difficult part that I have been finding as I've been researching and learning about the cooperative structure.

Edith Arias, Level I Graduate 2019
Co-founder, Semillas Wellness

Through the implementation of several Collab documents, I can visibly see my own team’s efficiency and organization coming together rapidly and with pinpoint accuracy. We better understand the work we each need to do, and we know how to go about doing it; without checking in upon one another’s own table. 

Kirsten Sunesen, Level I Graduate 2019
National Claims Specialist, The Co-operators

On a chilly Sunday afternoon with some tea and mellow music in the background, I have read through Cecile Green's article, "The Organizational Power Matrix". I immediately reflected how much more I now understand about power. What a fantastic resource in learning for me in thinking about this area - informing my somatic response to delving into this work with you wonder my body knows through shivery excitement that THIS is what I needed to dig into.

Elly Wood, Level I Graduate 2018
HR Assistant, Hunger Mountain Food Coop  

Learning to use Collab tools has dramatically increased my level of confidence in addressing complex situations in my organization and with our clients and partners. Where before I had vague intuitions and far more desire than knowledge about democratic processes, now I can competently assess trouble spots, suggest processes that address people’s needs for participation as well as structure, and use these processes myself to make concrete progress.

Noemi Giszpenc, Level I Graduate 2017
Former Executive Director, Cooperative Development Institute

My time with Round Sky and the Collab model has completely changed the way I move and work in the world. It is so comprehensive in it’s attention to detail as well as the big picture, in understanding how business works well and efficiently as well as understanding the psychology of whole human development.

Amanda Franz, Level I & II Graduate 2015
Somatic Movement Educator and Embodiment Activist

The Collab course has really broadened my horizon in the space of organizational management for effectiveness and efficiency. I have begun implementing the Standard Meeting Practice with my team, and everyone seems to have found the "Aha" moment in their professional journey.

Francis Ghunney, Level I Graduate 2018
Managing Director & Mining Consultant, Mining Tool Ghana Ltd


I found this training incredibly inspiring, mind expanding, practical, and life changing. The scale of what this system can do, and its capacity to reshape and upgrade how we work together cannot be overstated.

Jamie Kearney, Level I Graduate 2015
Certified Massage Therapist, Holistic Bodywork and Integral Coaching

Collab makes the conversations we're all already having distinct and identifies exactly-right processes to turn those conversations into actionable outcomes. Collab is the most powerful set of tools I've encountered for empowering well-intentioned people and teams to streamline the processes of doing great work, while retaining the humanity that makes the work worth doing.

Jan Sage, Level I Graduate 2018
Learning Experience Designer, MediaSage

Collab is a holistic approach to personal and group development that harnesses creative tension through well structured practice. It celebrates and leverages different ways of knowing and embraces embodiment as a tool of self-awareness.

Mike Crowley, Level I Graduate 2015
President, Yestermorrow Design/Build School

The Level 1 training, in particular, helped me to focus on my own work practices and development as a leader, deepening my effectiveness and my conceptual grasp of how and why Collab works. Also, it’s sharpened my commitment to leadership development for myself, my coworkers, and our clients. We can all be better leaders, and it’s not a mystery how that can happen!

Noemi Giszpenc, Level I Graduate 2017
Former Executive Director, Cooperative Development Institute