11 October 2016

Agile Coach Retreat 2016 - Fall Edition

It happened on a Saturday morning at 8:30, in Financial district of Toronto on the first day of October. It was nice to see new faces and the old mates. It was a rejuvenation of the old habits and learning new techniques on coaching. At the core, as always, it lived the same great spirit of community, to help each other and to grow together. I can't imagine that I grow this much since the time I attended the first Agile Coach Retreat. I am astonished how many new faces showed up.

Early Morning - Ready for Agile Coach Retreat
The format of this coach retreat was different, the organizers (one of them being me) learned from the past. In the morning, a session has been held by Don Gray talking about container based analysis. It was a very powerful approach looking at a topic from different angles, the relationships between them, their correlations, and most importantly how you can use it to pinpoint the main problem for the person you are coaching and helping them realize it.

Don Gray - Teaching From Back of The Room
In the above picture, you can see Don Gray introducing the technique and helping with different groups on their approach (This is the presentation from Don Gray). We have dispersed three times into smaller teams to create the model, discuss the differences and come up with the relations in it.

Discussion Panel

Discussion at the same time
In the two pictures above, you can see people are discussing in pairs or triads on the problem space and trying to come up with a container-based model and have a better understanding of the situation.

One Model
Similarity / Difference
Another Model
The above pictures show an example of using the methodology and how to apply it to your problem space. You can see that how unique each model could become, depending on you, your problem and your personality. Obviously, in that small period of time, you can't discuss all aspects.

Coaching Basics - Coaching Arc
In the afternoon, we transitioned into practicing coaching with a slight change from the previous retreat; No one was using the sample scenarios anymore. Individuals were encouraged to use the real life examples. This was the part that helped me a lot, it boosted my confidence on my coaching skills and how good I am. Also, it helped me as a coachee to evaluate and re-assure my solutions to some challenges I have. It was very nice to be able to coach some awesome coaches and be coached by them! The afternoon session began by Sue Johnson introducing everyone to Coaching Arc (you can find a presentation on the Arc here).

At the end, we had a retrospective for the whole day and how we can make it better. Gillian Lee ran an exercise called "35". It is a great exercise to facilitate with big teams for retrospectives. You would ask each person to write one item per card. Then 5 times in a different couple and on a different topic, individuals rank two cards up to 7 points in total. The maximum point for a card could be 35. Then you just need to look at the highest points and address them.

Agile Coach Retreat wasn't possible with the help of Jason Little, Sue Johnson, Mike Kaufman, Joanne Stone, Patrick Li and Gillian Lee (I played a small role). A great thanks to all of them!


  1. Thanks for summarizing the day Shahin. It was a great day and I loved the triad coaching we did in the afternoon. I can't wait until the spring coach retreat!

    1. It was a great day. I liked it a lot. It is getting better and better every time.