Company Retreats: Fruitful or Frivolous?

David Graham September 30, 2015

Business Building, Coaching Tips, Leadership Insights


As an executive coach who plans company retreats, its hard to be objective, however, I understand a leader’s reluctance in hanging the “closed” sign on the door, and hauling an already overworked team to a pricy out of town venue.  Sounds frivolous right?

First of all, a retreat need not be exotic or overpriced to be effective.  There are spectacular venues close to most major Canadian cities and your coach should always have your budget in mind.

Secondly, consider shifting from “team building” to “team coaching”.  While obstacle courses and trust falls have their place, it is more important to deepen relationships and hone in on the specific challenges that are currently on the table.

After a successful week of three consecutive EDGE 3 retreats, here are some key ingredients to our secret sauce for an impactful team retreat.


Once you’ve got everyone on the bus, be intentional about what you want to achieve.  Your GPS will take you there only if you input the address.  While you may not know the exact route, be clear on the final destination.  What would success look like?


In a fast paced work environment, we don’t always have the time to dive deep and really hear each other’s thoughts.  The more you understand your team, the more you are able to motivate and inspire them.  What don’t you know that would provide greater insight?


Whether it’s a guided meditation or a silent hike through the woods, the power of nature can distill the learning, deepen our understanding and provide unbelievable clarity of thought.   What’s got the team stuck?


Without anchoring the time away with clear deliverables, it’ll just be a day away.  What are you committing to?  How will you hold each other accountable?  What will be different when you get back to the office?


Be sure to carve out the time to recognize individual wins and team successes. It’s important to identify what behaviours you have noticed in the retreat that will benefit your team moving forward.  What do you want to see more of?

So take a brave step out of the boardroom and into the great outdoors!  Nature clears our mind, offers us a fresh perspective and can be the ultimate leadership tool.  To discover the possibilities for your team, contact EDGE3.

David Graham

Dave coaches good leaders who want to be great leaders and he works with leaders to build high performing, super-focused teams. For transformational experiences, he takes teams out of the boardroom and into nature.