RETREATS without COACHING are not worthy of doing…

RETREATS without COACHING are not worthy of doing…

Don’t you love that reinvigorated feeling that you get after a successful retreat?  The energy of your staff and board are high, the ideas are flowing, a brighter, better future for your organization is within your grasp…and the sky is the limit!

Fast forward to a month after the retreat.  What’s the energy like now?  Where did that million dollar idea go?  The hope for a better tomorrow … how realistic does that feel now?

If you’re like me and have experienced the loss of momentum that often occurs after a retreat, then you’ve also grown to have a love/hate relationship with retreats.  You love them for their potential.  You hate them for the potential that gets lost.

And that’s precisely why I insist to only facilitate retreats for organizations which commit to post-retreat coaching.

What is the role of coaching in retreats?

To ensure that your best intentions from the retreat don’t fall flat, schedule some coaching sessions after the retreat to put your ideas into immediate action.

During retreats we often decide “what” we want to do in terms of our programs and services or  “where” we want our organization to go.  Often these exciting goals and objectives get stalled after a retreat because the “how”, “who”, “when” haven’t yet been figured out.  And even when those things HAVE been decided upon during the retreat, plans fall flat afterwards for a variety of reasons.  A coach can help bridge the gap between the vision and the action.

Coaching also provides ACCOUNTABILITY.  By having scheduled coaching sessions after the retreat, you’ll create a structure to check in, create action plans, break down big goals into smaller steps, explore any obstacles that may be holding back individuals and teams, and help you look at situations from fresh perspectives.  Essentially, a coach helps take your organization from where you are now to where you want to be.

A little bit of coaching can go a long way.

Three coaching sessions for each of the three months following a retreat may be all you need to form a foundation to propel your team into action.  Depending on the size and structure of your group and your overall goals, the coaching can be focused on individuals (i.e. chair of fund development committee, executive director) or teams (i.e. board chair, executive director, and chair of strategic planning committee).  If your group is small enough, your entire group can be coached at once.  Discuss the arrangement with your coach upfront and design customized coaching sessions based on your organization’s needs.

As you start planning your next retreat, start here:

If you’ve already selected a facilitator for your retreat, find out if he/she also can coach your group.  Otherwise, consider working with a certified coach, ideally one who has some experience and familiarity with an organization like yours.  You will want to debrief the coach immediately after your retreat since she/he was not there, and make sure to share any notes and assignments that resulted.  Ideally, the facilitator and coach would be the same person.

As you start planning for your retreat, identify the members of the staff and/or board who are going to be a part of the coaching sessions.  When you schedule your date for the retreat, also take a moment to schedule the three post-retreat coaching sessions at the same time and get them on all the participants’ schedules.  As you start viewing the retreat and the coaching as one package, you’ll soon see how the coaching complements the retreat.  Don’t be surprised if you wonder how you ever did things any other way.


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