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My Coaching / Facilitation Toolkit

I was asked recently to document what’s I use for my toolkit when I’m at a client engagement. I’ve experimented with many different options and materials over the last year and so I’ll share with you what I’m currently using.

Before I show you the list, I want to share my philosophy that your toolkit needs to be simple, yet flexible. You never know what might happen during the course of a meeting you are facilitating, therefore you need to be prepared for anything. I’ve found that having an assortment of simple, yet highly effective basic materials gives me the flexibility I need to pull off almost anything.

Let’s begin:

 

Toolbox(es) – I have found using a common toolbox to be a great container for all this stuff. Bonus: it’s tons of fun to carry around and get strange looks from people. A toolbox appears very unusual to creative workers and helps encourage diversity of thought.

I use a 20″ toolbox as my main kit, and a 12.5″ toolbox as my grab-and-go kit.

Both my toolkits

Let’s begin with the small toolbox.

I use this one to facilitate meetings for up to 8 people, like simple retrospectives, or other meetings where I don’t need the full capabilities I have available to me.

12.5" toolkit (link is to a similar, but yellower toolbox)

 

12.5" toolkit full of stuff

 

Here are it’s contents:

Dry erase markers in both standard (Red, Green, Blue, Black) and other pastel colors. I walk into unknown meeting situations all the time. Are there markers? Do they still work? How badly damaged are they? Keeping my own set with me ensures I won't be scrambling.

Fine Point Sharpies

Planning Poker Cards

1" Painters Tape (sticks well enough without taking paint off the walls) Good for taping up papers, making grids, timelines

3x3 Post it notes - your most vital creative tool

Poker Chips - Used for coin games, placeholders, other creative ideas. I use these a lot to play simple coin puzzles while waiting for everyone to show up to meetings.

3x5 index cards (blank) - a most essential tool

Drafting Dots - useful for sticking and moving things on a whiteboard or on the wall without tearing the paper when removed

6 sided dice - just for fun and games

 

The Large Toolbox – I use this for more complex meetings, usually involving some highly creative activities. Enough for 20 people.

Large 20" Toolbox

Large Toolbox - Full of Fun!

The contents:

Star Post Its - Fun, fun fun

1" Painters Tape

1 - 2 boxes of Fine Point Sharpies

Sharpies of Many Colors - Black and White only is boring.

4x6, 3x5 index cards of various kinds

Scotch Tape - Need

Stickers - Everyone loves getting a sticker for doing a good job! Oh, also dot voting.

3x3 Post it notes of many colors - keep things visually interesting

Brightly colored 3x5 index cards - Liven things up!

Pastel 4x6 index cards

Paper Clips - Build fun things, clip things together, the possibilities are endless!

Super Sticky colored Post Its

Foam Sticky Shapes - Unleash creativity

Pipe Cleaners - Build shapes, also helps people focus who need to keep their hands busy during meetings

Rubber bands - shoot people, bind things together

 

Bonus Material:

 

Pencil box with Crayola Markers, Scissors, sharpies, pens -- useful for storyboard activities and other drawing fun

Bucket of tennis balls - useful for the Ball Point Game

Misc Games - useful for estimation, taking a break, or other made up fun

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Comments

  1. So very organized looking. Is this just cleaned up for company or always like this?

    I have one colleague that has a helium tank. And another that has a collaboration room in a box. It works well if you don’t confuse it with the magic suitcase – they all look alike.

    • David,

      Believe it or not, that is exactly how it looks at all (well OK, most) times. I am normally a disorganized person (I like my chaos), but I need my toolkit to be ready for me at a moment’s notice. Sometimes I’ll need to throw in an unplanned activity at the last minute and so having quick access to all that I need, and knowing that it will be there for me, is essential.

      I would love to hear more about a “collaboration room in a box.”

      Magic suitcase — jealous.

  2. Toolbox – great idea. Do you use it when flying places also? Downside is extra space in the suitcase. I met another coach who has a duffle bag and several small pouches, each with some kind of material, similar idea that takes up less space.

    Drafting dots, hadn’t heard of those, will check them out.

    I also like to bring squishy balls, fun little creatures for stretching and throwing at people.

  3. Ray Niemeir says:

    Nice kit.

    I would add a generous amount of Play-Doh brand modeling compound per participant to help invoke tactile as well as verbal and visual thinking.

    Guidelines:
    1) Use it all up. Let it dry.
    2) When tempted to check the net, pick up the Play-Doh instead.

  4. Will need to put something like this together. I have most of the individual pieces around, but using an actual toolbox is pretty cool.

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