This course includes six lessons, which you can access flexibly. You're free to go at your own pace. The content has been designed so that you can dip into individual lessons which typically take 30-45 minutes if you complete all the content and reflective activities.

The full course provides comprehensive learning on the theme which equates to the content covered on a one-day face-to-face course. We therefore believe this can play a significant part in your professional development journey.

You may choose to complete this course all by yourself. But, you’ll get more out of the learning with some support. So, speak to your manager, coach or mentor to help you decide the best way forward. You could review the learning at the same time as a few colleagues, for instance. This will allow you to share your different thoughts and opinions.

Remember, you’re also part of our wider community, with its vast range of experience. So, complete the reflective activities and get involved in the community discussions. Share your unique perspective. We are all there to support each other.

In essence, what matters is that you get as much out of the learning as you can. Take your time to reflect on and apply the key messages in your context. Watch the videos more than once, if possible, and make notes in the downloadable workbook as you go along. Before you know it, you’ll put the learning into practice and making a real impact in your role.

Mapping to the standards

This course maps to the Chartered level of the Professional courage and influence standards. If you just want to gain an introduction to these standards at the Foundation level we recommend that you watch the video below.

This short, animated video provides an overview of the key elements of this core behaviour. It brings to life the five statements at Foundation level for Professional courage and influence in the CIPD Profession Map:

  • Contribute views and opinions clearly
  • Provide information accurately and in a timely way
  • Initiate purposeful conversations with a range of people
  • Understand the impact of different influencing and communication styles in a range of situations
  • Recognise and accept mistakes
Play Video
Professional courage and influence - foundation level video still


Let's imagine. A senior leader at the organisation where you work has called a meeting. He wants to address what he sees as a problem with diversity in the workforce. His answer is to make it a requirement that all managers have recruitment training to try and improve diversity through the shortlisting and selection process.

You're a relatively junior representative from HR at this meeting.

The senior leader asks everyone around the table to provide their views on his idea.

Professional courage and influencing means you need to contribute views and opinions clearly. Everyone has a perspective. And that includes you.

Your idea is to use the organisation’s learning platform to target the training at those who most need it. You claim that this would not only save time and money, it would stop managers getting annoyed at having to do training they don't need.

You are challenged. What evidence do you have that managers resent doing training they don’t need? What data do you have to suggest that some need this training more than others? How much time and money would your idea save? Can the learning platform even do this sort of thing?

You're asked to return with the data in a week’s time when the group will reconvene.

You're a bit frustrated and this shows.

Professional courage and influencing means you need to provide information accurately and in a timely way. That means having the data ready when it is needed.

You take a deep breath and get thinking. What information do I need to gather and how will I do this?

Who do I need to talk to? Perhaps the head of L&D, the person responsible for diversity, the HR data analyst who keeps records from the HR system and the learning platform.

Professional courage and influencing means you need to initiate purposeful conversations with a range of people.

You decide to have an informal chat with the HR data analyst to find out what reports are available that would help you. You make formal appointments to see both the head of L&D and the head of diversity and you organise meetings for the following day. The head of diversity is away on business so that meeting will be online.

Your aim in all this is to gather quantitative and qualitative data that will be convincing for all your stakeholders.

Professional courage and influencing means you need to understand the impact of different influencing and communication styles in a range of situations.

Next, you talk to your manager about how you’ll present your findings to the group when it reconvenes. You discuss how the initial meeting could have gone better and admit that it was a mistake to make a major intervention without any evidence to back up your opinion.

Professional courage and influencing means you need to recognise and accept mistakes.

Your manager's pleased. She praises you for being courageous enough to make what was a very important suggestion at the initial meeting and also for owning up to your mistake. She’s more than a little impressed with your growing professionalism.

And that's what professional courage and influence does for you.

Learning objectives

This course will help you to build your confidence and practice in:

  • challenge constructively and confidently in the face of opposition

  • communicate with impact, and make complex things clear, to enable a way forward

  • proactively develop and sustain relationships with key stakeholders to inform how you influence them

  • tailor your influencing style and select appropriate communication channels to engage your audience and gain buy-in

  • take responsibility for mistakes that sit within your remit, encouraging learning and demonstrating ownership for the actions to make things right


You need to be a CIPD member and logged into the website to access each of the lessons.

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Download the course workbook

This interactive workbook will help you to make the most out of the course. Use the workbook to reflect on your learning and record your notes as you go along.