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Leading a Debrief

So the coaching conversion is over, the first workshop completed, the game ended and now it is time for the debrief. How do you lead a good debrief? Here are a few of my guidelines:

The Set-Up

  • As the leader you

    • Set the agenda at the beginning so everyone knows what you are collectively there to accomplish

    • When setting the agenda, check to see if there is anything to add

    • Let everyone else speak before you do

    • Make sure you have someone who will take notes / minutes

    • Summarize everyone's comments as you go through each point (see below)

The Formula

  • The amazing Rob Hartnett shared a version of this with me years ago, I've adapted it slightly. I use WWW.EBI.NS

  • What Went Well: What was good, successful or worth repeating in the future? Listen carefully and tease out as many insights as possible. (Note, as you lead this point some may go to the what could be improved. Stop them and ask them just for the good at this point)

  • Even Better If. Where are the areas for improvement? What would have made it, the project, workshop, game even better? (note that we want to keep the tone positive, where is the improvement, not what didn't work)

  • Next Steps. So what is next? Who needs to do what to keep the lessons from the conversation? And who owns what to do with the insights around areas for improvement?

Keep in mind

  • Remember to use cappuccino listening to go deeper than just what is being said, but to listen for assumptions, judgments and values

  • Ask open ended questions to encourage the participants to answer in their own words ("What", "How" and "Who"?)

  • Use a combination of whiteboard / flipchart and discussion to go through the above

  • If running the session virtually, cameras ON!

  • Liberally use the Michael Bungay Stanier "AWE" question (And what else?") to draw out more comments

  • Use golden silence in conjunction with the AWE question to get the most from the insights of the group

  • Circulate the notes to everyone at the meeting (and stakeholders if appropriate)

  • Monitor progress on actioning next steps

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