Inevitably Agile

somethings are just inevitable …

Coaching Circle – Various Facilitation Techniques

On Monday night a few of  us interested in all things agile got together for our first coaching circle as a group. The topic for the evening was Various Facilitation Techniques.

Part of the learning was to prepare for meetings/events you will be facilitating – so below are my notes from my planning.

During the talk I mentioned that you should reflect on your session and see how you would change it knowing what you know now – my ‘learnings’ are below in blue. The pics were taken during the session. Let me know what you think of our first get together!

If you are interested in joining a circle in the future, please sign up to join our group Agile Coaching ZA and you will be kept in the loop when new circles start.

Overall I am glad I only planned to use 50minutes of the 1.5hr session. It flowed well, and we were all surprised at how quickly time passed – a good sign as we finished on time!

I was thrown a bit by the smaller group as I had prepared activities that needed more people – good lesson in having various tools in the toolbox depending on group size.


1) setup “parking lot area”

As there were only 3 of us this was unnecessary, so I explained what the parking lot was for, but that as we were so few, we could just ask questions anytime.

2) stationary: thick pens, post-its, sticky dots, flip chart, prestik

3) Write on flipchart – Take a card and write your name – large, your title, email address and phone number – stick up here…

Allow people to mingle, chat introduce themselves.

4) Basic Introduction and Agenda for evening:

Start with the topic for the evening : Various Facilitation Techniques which will take around an hour.

As we go through this and questions crop up – we will add them to the parking lot and discuss them afterwards. Stick up Parking Lot Area. Please add questions – scribble on post-its at any time- we dont want to forget them! [10 min]

Intentions for next 2 weeks. [5 min]

We will then discuss and vote on the next topic and who the 2 facilitators for that will be. [10 min]

Check everyone is ok with this?

In future I will write up the agenda and keep it up for people to reference during the meeting/event.


5) Topic Discussion

1- Set the Stage

Introduce topic, explain basic agenda.

We will have a quick check in, then we will see where we need these techniques and what techniques we are already familiar with. I will explain general outline for meetings. We will discuss and vote on a technique to try out tonight.

[2 minutes]

I should not have done this separately from the above agenda – it was confusing. Rather I will include it in the above agenda and keep it visible.

CheckIn – Go around the table and finish the statement with one word: “I am _______”


This is a great technique for larger groups – but felt a bit quick for just 3 people. If the group is small (3 or 2) then in future I will use the interview techniques with 5 personal questions and you feedback on your partner.

2- Gather Data

MurMurGroups – forms groups of 2/3 people

As we were only 3, this was not feasible so we skipped the  murmur groups and just brainstormed together.

“When do you need facilitation techniques? What type of meetings? And outside of meetings?”

Brainstorm – 1 sticky per item,. emphasis on quantity not quality.


Clustering – put together and group


Facilitator led callout/ shoutout – Listing Data

“What facilitation techniques do you currently use?” “Have you heard of others?”


3-Generate Insights

Training from the back of the room – Explain basic outline of a meeting (the items labelled 1 to 5). As I talk through them – stick on sheet with example thus far.

1- Set the stage: agenda – helps people focus on what they will be doing for the next x minutes. try to get each person in the room to talk – makes everyone more comfortable, people are more likely to talk again + participate.

—- Parking lot + Agenda + check in

2 – Gather Data: you want the participants to add data – use wide questions. You need to prevent solutioning here – this is purely data gathering, it includes facts and feelings.

—- Murmur groups + Brainstorm + Clustering + Call Out + Listing Data

3 – Generate Insights: Again ask questions to guide team, open minds to new ideas. Why? What can we do differently?

—- Group Learning + OpenSpace- Organization + Training From The Back Of The Room technique (another session)

4 – Decide what to do: Select 1 max 2 action items (which will come out of the insights) – whom ever will do the action must write it down

—- Dot Voting + Role Playing

5 – Close perspective: thank people for time, ask for feedback.

—- R.O.T.I

I felt I rushed through this a bit too fast – I wanted to use the Training From The Back Of The Room technique 4C’s but didn’t prep enough 😦

OpenSpace Organization – Take 5min and see where the techniques you mentioned fit in.

Which of these are applicable to which meetings?

– Talk through what facilitation techniques have been used thus far in the coaching session. Add them on stickies and start the toolbox wall.

This worked very well. Once we got started everyone remembered other techniques that they had used before and we briefly discussed them.


4-Decide what to do

DotVote – get group to vote on which of the techniques on the wall they would like to try out

Role-Playing (1 facilitator, 3 audience, 2 observing) Feedback – audience, observer, facilitator

[5 min prep

5 min do

5 min reflect]

We chose interview during a data gathering phase. It worked brilliantly and feedback from facilitator and audience was great. Nice insights and notes made 🙂 Unfortunately we didn’t have enough people to have an observer.

5-Close perspective

ROTI – put up value line and ask for sticky with what worked, what didn’t, suggestions on value line.


After the high energy from the previous role playing this felt a bit out of place. Next time I will first go through tips and tricks to wind down and then do the ROTI.


6) Tips and tricks that I’ve learned

7) after meeting/event do some reflection- -What would i do differently

See all my notes in blue above 🙂

Other work:

– all this into a doc

Done the day after – this is what you’re reading!

– add some book suggestions

I did this and placed it in the Tips and Tricks section

– snacks for circle

We had snacks – but should have filled up drinks half way.


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