Inevitably Agile

somethings are just inevitable …

Coaching Dojo … in Cape Town :)

The Coaching Circles in Cape Town are immensely powerful. They have grown from strength to strength and have evolved to become much more than we originally thought possible 🙂 Many people from various roles and with varying ranges of experience are getting to learn new things, seeking advice from peers and bounce ideas around like minded individuals.

I am looking for something a little different though. I would like to practice my coaching skills with other coaches and learn from them, perhaps show them something new. Amongst these skills are: Listening, Observing, Questioning, Feedback and many more. I stumbled upon the idea of coaching dojo’s and would like to try it out. Essentially it is role playing with team members taking a turn to seek coaching, be the coach and observe the interaction.


“When Japanese martial artists want to deepen their knowledge, learn new techniques, and advance their skills, they gather in a training center, the dojo. “


The Learning Objectives:

  • Practice listening without judgement
  • Gather information more effectively
  • ask different kinds of questions to understand real problem
  • Become aware of how you coach
  • Observe other coaching techniques and styles
  • Gain fresh insight into a problem you may face at work


Basic Concept: 10 minutes per round (min 3 rounds, max 4)

Form groups of 3 (if uneven can have 1 or 2 groups of 4)

  • 1 “Seeker” of coaching
  • 1 “coach”
  • 1 (or 2) “observers”


Pick a card with a challenge or discuss a real challenge for you (Seeker). Then Coach and Observe. 5 minutes total

Each provide feedback (seeker 1 min, coach 1 min, observer 3 min) 5 minus total

Switch Roles – can change topic – seekers choice.


At end – group Retro: 10 minutes

(depending on size of group can use various facilitation techniques for this)

  • What was your experience with your group?
  • What did you learn?
  • What did you like?
  • What are your ideas for improvement?


 Who is this for?

This is not intended to replace the coaching circles. It is for those particularly wanting to improve coaching skills. With that in mind, you need to be actively practicing coaching for at least a year to join the dojo. This means you regularly coach/encourage/train others you work with. If you think this could be for you PLEASE let me know by leaving a comment – thanks!

When will these start happening?

From what I can see the current Coaching Circle session will be ending with a group retro on 26 September 2011.

I’d like to propose the first dojo happen in the second week of October (10th to 14th). I reckon it will take a minimum of 60min – but would like some chat time before/after – so 90minutes should be perfect.


I’m open for ideas – ideally a company with bigger open area, or house with large lounge? Very casual. Very social.

Ideas / Thoughts???

Please leave comments below with your thoughts or questions or suggestions … I would LOVE to hear from you 🙂



Inspiration and formats from here:







7 responses to “Coaching Dojo … in Cape Town :)

  1. Adrian September 1, 2011 at 11:21 am

    Wow, look’s great. Would love to join, not sure if I meet the ‘have been coaching for a year’ req though..

  2. Karen Greaves September 1, 2011 at 5:43 pm

    Sounds awesome, definitely a next step as I think the coaching circles need to split to cater for 2 needs, those new to Scrum looking for mentoring and those experienced people looking to grow their coaching skills. Would love you to present this idea at the retro on the 26th.

    And I’d love to join, and even offer my lounge as a venue, I’m in London for your first suggested session though 😦

  3. Austin Fagan (@austin_fagan) September 1, 2011 at 9:15 pm

    role playing, martial arts- wow i like the sound of this, yes please!

  4. Gerald September 1, 2011 at 9:26 pm

    Sounds awesome Sam…what sort of space? Alacrity has a fairly big board room and is available for any agile event.

  5. sam September 2, 2011 at 9:34 am

    Thanks Karen and Gerald for offers of locations 🙂
    About broaching the topic at the retro – perhaps we can talk about it towards the end? The retro should focus on those who attended the circles last (I skipped this round 🙂 ).
    But I will come and present my idea at the end … if that suits?
    Some people might want to be part of a circle and join the dojo every now and then – so we should keep that in mind.
    Also the dojo doesn’t need commitment – the people there are the right people at the right time – so might be a bit easier to organise than the circles…
    What about a SUGSA session with ‘coaching dojo’? So that everyone can experience it?

  6. Pingback: Our first Coaching Dojo « Inevitably Agile

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