Ruth Cook

Managing Director

Ruth Cook is an independent management consultant and trainer, with over 25 years experience working on leadership development and action learning across commercial and public sectors in the UK and internationally. Having set up Action Learning Associates in 1998 her company is now firmly established as one of the leading providers of training for action learning facilitators and at the forefront of cutting edge techniques such as virtual action learning.

Action learning facilitation and training

Ruth specialises in action learning facilitation and training running regular ILM endorsed open courses for individuals or tailor-made courses for organisations who want to set up in-house networks of action learning sets. Ruth also delivers cross sector action learning sets for leaders as well as supporting organisations in designing and implementing action learning programmes. For experienced facilitators she offers CPD including training in virtual action learning and Masterclasses.


For experienced facilitators Ruth offers CPD including supervision and training in virtual action learning and Masterclasses.


Ruth trains on a range of management development topics, including project management, leadership, creating high performance teams, strategic planning and evaluation, appraisal, business and service planning. She has undertaken extensive training in the voluntary and public sectors in the UK and internationally with Development organisations. She has trained action learning facilitators for VSO in Malawi, for Oxfam in the Lebanon and indigenous cultural leaders for the British Council in Australia. Ruth has also designed and delivered a programme of Learning Coach certification for Heineken operating companies which was rolled out globally.


Ruth provides consultancy on strategic planning, team and Board development as well as organisational development. She frequently facilitates boards and senior management teams in voluntary organisations and non-departmental public bodies. Ruth undertakes short term assignments for international development agencies and has worked in Ethiopia, Sudan, Kenya, South Africa, Zambia, Ghana, Uganda, Sri Lanka and Malawi.

Current and recent customers

Ruth has experience of delivering large scale action learning programmes for senior and middle managers to support leadership development initiatives. Customers include:

  • Arts Council England, Rural Payments Agency, The Body Shop and L’Oréal, Oxford University Press. 
  • Facilitating a learning network of senior women Directors within UN agencies and the WTO based in Geneva. 
  • Facilitating a learning network of Directors within UN agencies and the WTO based in Geneva.
  • Regular accredited open programmes for sole traders and small consultancies in action learning facilitation which attract a range of international L&D professionals from all sectors
  • Master coach training and supervision for experienced action learning facilitators
  • Project management and delivery of a highly successful global programme of accredited action learning facilitator training for 150 managers as part of a leadership programme delivered internationally to 6,000 First Line Managers for HEINEKEN International
  •  Global virtual action learning sets: examples include The British Council, British Council Australia, International Creative Entrepreneurs in Scotland and for senior women in development agencies
  • Innovative work for the Global Land Tools network (within UN Habitat) working on housing and land security for women in Moslem countries bringing together multiple stakeholders
  • Developing and piloting a training programme on action learning for front line humanitarian workers in Africa and Asia for the Overseas Development Institute
  • Facilitating internal action learning sets for staff from diverse backgrounds for a wide range of customers including WTO, Electrocomponents, Coty.


  • Institute of Leadership & Management (ILM)approved trainer for the Professional Development Programme in Action Learning Facilitation (2008)
  • MBA (Open University) 1998
  • Myers-Briggs Type Indicator Assessor (Oxford) 1995
  • Certificate of Qualification in Social Work (London School of Economics) 1975-1976
  • Diploma in Social Administration (London School of Economics) 1974-1975
  • BA Hons (Nottingham) 1973

Watch Ruth’s webinar: Action Learning – Building Lasting Change here.

Ruth can be contacted at or view my recent articles and professional profile on LinkedIn