What is a coach retreat?

Yesterday Oana Juncu and me organized a Coach Retreat in Paris. Lots of people asked me about the format. This is version 2 of the Coach Retreat format. I expect it to change a lot the coming years, only step by step. We have already lost of idea’s and the trick will be to be patient and only change in small steps.

In agile we use a lot of double loop learning. While writing this up I realize that CoachRetreat is quadrupple loop learning. Not because I want mine to be bigger/better etc, it’s because I stand on the shoulders of giants.

Rachel Davies invented Coaching Dojo.

Coray Haines co-creator of Code Retreat.

Coach Retreat = Coaching Dojo + Code Retreat
(Oana invented this tag line, did I mention already I love working with people smarter then me?)

Very nice yves, could you know become a little more practical?

Yes: 1 hard rule, at coach retreat we speak the local language. (In this case French)

We started with a group Check-in

We had 6 situation agile coaches encounter at clients. These 6 situation we put on the walls of our retreat center. We asked our coaches to DotVote on the situations. The winning situation we worked on the whole day.
Really? Work the whole day on one situation?
yes, one situation. That works fine for code retreat, so we do the same.
Well you don’t have to copy everything from Corey do you?
True, but we should not reject anything without trying too. Actually the coaches in Paris initially had the same reaction you had. Yet we stuck to our plan.
That does not sounds really agile…
I actually think it was, read on and then judge.
Just like CodeRetreat we work on the same story but with different techniques.


We experiment with one technique during 65 Minutes.

5 minutes explaining the problem
10 minutes of working
5 minutes local debrief
10 min replay with the same actors
5 min local debrief
10 min replay with the same actors
5 min local debrief

15 min of group debrief (retrospective)

>> this is the first learning loop (actually the second but that will become clear later)

Then we redo the story with another coaching technique.
In total we do 4 to 5 different coaching techniques==> this is the second/Third learning loop.

His were the coaching techniques we used this CoachRetreat


We ended the day with a Circle of Questions

The click rewind is where the first learning loop comes into play. Because anyone can stop what is gong on, while it is going on and people replay what they did, you have a learning loop right in the action.

The fourth learning loop is when we will have more CoachRetreats. Then we loop at CoachRetreat level.

Already after the second sessions, people that said that they did not wanted to replay the same story the whole day had changed their mind. Participants found lots of value in the replaying of the story and experimenting with coaching styles.

One of the places were people did coach, we asked everyone (even observers) to paint.

I have also created a google group for CoachRetreat:

something I forgot:

  • use #MyDailyThankYou
  • mention I give FLS (Free Lifetime Support) on everything I do.
  • mention that I’m writing the Who Are agilist book with answers from Oana, Rachel & me (together with already 27 others..)

I already received a request for a CoachRetreat in Bordeaux & Lille, Montpellier. Where do you want to organize one?