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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

Lunch – A Crucial Coaching Technique

Make time to go to lunch with the people you are serving.

I’ve learned far more about the organization, the people I’m working with, and the challenges that lie ahead by going to lunch with someone almost every single day I’m on site.

I believe that lunch is one of the least respected and valued times in American culture. It is a critical time of day to step back and release from the focus of our daily work. It is an ideal opportunity to restore sustenance not merely to our bodies, but our minds as well. I’ve forged or solidified many relationships over a simple lunch. The more you can talk, laugh, cry, and share life with those around you, the more human you become, the more influence you will be permitted to have.

Lunch is a powerfully simple tool to leave behind lasting change.

P.S. This is doubly important for those who are in a consultant role. There are many barriers to overcome when you are from the outside, especially with those who do not understand what you are doing here. Lunch is that safe opportunity to share a meal to reveal yourself as the amazing person you are. (without making it inappropriate, formal, or just plain weird, like a dinner with someone unfamiliar can be)