Coach Reflection Cards – a one month experiment

I like the http://www.retroflection.org project, which was initiated by Yves Hanoulle in 2010. Since 1st January 2010 each day one reflection question or statement gets published on the Website and posted via https://twitter.com/Retroflection . I’m supporting the platform since the very first year by providing input via following Google Form .

So as we were thinking of give aways for the Coach Reflection Day I got the idea of creating physical Coach Reflection Cards based on the input of the http://www.retroflection.org project. I asked the contributors of the project for allowance and feedback to improve the idea. As first physical prototype I used 360 questions & statements of 2015 to create 12 different blocks à 30 different questions, see the picture below:

P1170262

So for the last Coach Reflection Day in Fürth we handed out the first prints of Coach Reflection Cards as Give Aways to the participants. As we had 12 different sets I offered an Open Space session for the 11 most interested participants to run following 30 days experiment:

  • Reflect 5-10 minutes on one question/statement per day from 11th of July and until 9th of August
  • Take notes on the back of the Reflection Card or otherwise
  • Optional: Share your insights via Blogs or Twitter, e.g. with Hashtag #reflectioncards
  • On the 10th of August take 30 – 60 minutes time for
    • Selecting the 3 reflection Cards with the greatest Impact
    • Reflecting why they had such an Impact and what are your caused Insights
    • Share your most powerful Cards in a common document
  • Last but not least I offered a one hour Skype call to share our experiences with the reflection cards

It was great to see, that 11 People were willing to run that experiment with me. In the following lines I will share my experience, because I was inspired by Cosima Laube who published her reflectioncard experiences as blog article. Furthermore I hope to lead as example for other participants to do the same.

So one meta observation I made for myself, that it was difficult for me to keep the rhythm. There were so many things going on (e.g. me running a Lego Serious Play Workshop, several facilitations of retrospectives, preparing and being on Agile 2016 conference, etc.), that I haven’t taken the 5 – 10 minutes every day. On the other Hand I felt obliged to do all the Cards, as I have started the experiment and asked others to do so. So group commitment worked for the end of the Experiment (I did all cards), but not for every day.

After I’ve done all the Cards I reflected on the Impact they had. My Impact criteria were

  • made me emotionally affected
  • made me think
  • just wrote the answer

I recognized, that I haven’t been affected emotionally. This might have been caused, that I did several Cards in a row at several days. So I first looked for the Cards, which made me think deeper. Some made me think and stumble, because I thought, why I haven’t thought about that earlier. This is the selection of nine Cards, which made me think harder:

 

  •  If you had one month to live, what would you do? Why are you not doing more of that now?
  • When (x). What would you like to have happen? (x is something person does not want) #cleanquestion #outcome
  • Where and when do you get your best ideas?
  • Why bother? If you can’t answer the question, how can you coach the Team?
  • What is the most important question in life and work?
  • How could you get a valuable outcome by doing just half of what you’re working on now?
  • What is the best time of the day for you? How do you use it?
  • What do you do if you run out of people that help you?
  • Why would you repeat your biggest failure of the past year?

After I selected these cards, that made me think harder, I looked for three, which had or still have the most impact for me. That might be because of the answers I already found or because I’m still thinking about them. I’ve marked them with three stars on the Card and with bold font in the bullet list above. I might share my gained insights of these cards  in a later post.

So although I failed in taking time each day for the reflection cards, I consider the experiment worth the spended time. I especially liked to have a block with me, were I immediately could make notes on the back of the cards. I also liked to reflect on my answers afterwards and to reveal the nuggets of the 30 cards. I definitely will do this again, maybe next time with a trusted buddy to whom I commit to share my daily questions and answers. I assume this commitment will help me to reflect on daily basis. I guess this would also be a trust building activity, because some of my answers got really personal. Thanks to all the participants of the experiment. You helped me to run it for myself 🙂

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