Slow down, look around

Did you know that our InspireMe! coaching deck includes exercises to try?
Here’s how we used them to slow down as we kicked off a coach retreat.

(Let me know what experiments you try!)

InspireMe! self-coaching card deck
Real Advice for Change Leaders

where to order the InspireMe! deck


I recently had the honor of helping 40 agile coaches kick off a CoReDay in my own city, Karlsruhe, Germany. Knowing they’d be coming off of trains, buses and bikes, I wanted to offer them a few moments to slow down, breathe, and choose a direction, before the delicious day began.

I invited them to “clear their desk,” to put aside urgencies and other people’s opinions, and to get a feel for what was really important for them today – it could be anything from problem solving to skill building or listening or teaching.

Then I invited them to consider the “stance” in which we’d approach our interactions that day, drawing particular attention to Generosity, Authenticity and Courage.

And at the end of my talk, I wanted to experimented with the InspireMe! cards that Lyssa, John and I crafted this year. Their arresting images and heart-felt encouragement are designed for *exactly* this crowd… but there was no way they could thoughtfully read even a few! What to do? I found inspiration the  Try This  card called  Pro-spective.

I offered them 5 minutes to set a direction or intention or goal for the day, in any way they liked: sit quietly, write, go for a walk … or peruse the InspireMe! cards for a spark or impulse (with a warning: do not try to read them! Just grab one that sends you in the right direction.) I’d laid out two decks: on one side of the room with the pictures facing up, and on the other side of the room, another set, flipped so people could see the big words at the bottom of each. (I find words harder to process fast, but some people prefer them.)

At the end of 5 minutes, I invited them to rejoin the circle, and NOT share what they’d decided on. (We who facilitate groups know: even the most inspired plan must be held very lightly, with readiness to throw it out the window when something more resonant appears.)  Instead, I asked “what two words do you want to speak into the room, as we start the day?” We quietly went once around the circle, and then on to our practice sessions!

I was surprised how many had chosen words from multiple cards … and then were reluctant to give them up afterwards! A smartphone photo would have to do…

(click to enlarge, to read these cards)

Just a few InspireMe! Cards

Since then, I’ve thought up several more ways to use them with a group, for example:

  • for a large group, shuffle two decks (same number of cards as people in the room) and have each pick a resonant card on a theme (your teams, your future, etc.). Then find the person with a matching card and take turns explaining your card’s significance . It will be noisy!

The advice, exercises and images on the cards were carefully selected to address, and sometimes challenge, the work of Agilists and other change agents. We hope you’ll pick a random one for yourself when journaling, or put “the right one” on your desk for encouragement for a week, or try the 15 Try This exercises… and create your own!

How do you use them for personal reflection? How will they inspire your teams? I’d love to hear what you try in the comments section below!

Have fun,

By the way: these decks ship from the US, as well as from Germany to international destinations.

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