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One-on-One Executive Retreats

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Having provided executive coaching for over 20 years, I have seldom found executives who have the time to allow long-term strategic thinking and break-through innovative thinking in their week. If I do coach them, we can spend an hour every week, fortnight or month in quiet reflection. After the hour, however, these executives return to their busy day, and most of the insights they have gained seem to fade as urgent issues take over. 

Executives do spend time with their teams off-site, but they seldom know how to set aside time as an individual leader -- except in the shower or on holiday.  They also have no one to "spar with" who can witness and prompt new thinking, capturing their thoughts as we go through the day.  

In a post-COVID world, we will be facing more and more complexity, thus needing more and more time to think and "be" rather than "do" all the time what we have always done before. 

I facilitate a tailor-made one-day retreat that focuses on: 

  • Long term strategy conceptualisation

  • Short term implementation challenges

  • Effective team and direct report activation

  • Personal resilience and leadership presence in the context of a life that has purpose and meaning 

Why spend a day on a 1-on-1 Executive Retreat?

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What are typical topics we could cover on a one-day retreat?  

I tailor the day according to your needs. My recommendation is to spend the day itself on four domains: strategy, implementation, team and self. Here are some questions that I have explored for years with my clients:  

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What is a sample agenda of a one-day retreat?  

Example of a generic one-day schedule (this schedule changes depending on the needs identified in the introductory meeting):  

8:00-9:00  Setting the mindset, purpose and context for the day -- getting ourselves mentally and physically prepared to arrive in the alpha-wave brain (if not the theta or even the delta-wave)


9:00-11:00  Jumping ahead strategically  to two years' time and creating the definition of success in terms of your people, your customers, your market penetration, your suppliers, your investors, your culture, your way of operating rhythm

11:30 -1:00  Examining implementation in the next year -- identifying the critical achievements in the non-urgent but extremely important  basket -- and what success looks like in each of those achievements as well as the way you are going to use your time this year

1:00-2:30  Lunch and a walk in nature -- reflecting on your life and what is important -- and how you honour this today, how you balance family, community, outside passions exercise, nutrition and sleep

2:30-4:00  A review of your team and your direct reports -- how do you make your team stronger in terms of overall direction, individual accountability, team decision making, and psychological trust?  How do you address both high-performers and low-performers?  What does effective delegation look like -- and how much of your personal accountability is being taken up in doing your people's job? 

4:15-6:15  An in-depth look at your own leadership -- what do you stand for -- and how are you falling short?  How can you better address psychological obstacles in terms of the impostor syndrome, fear, anxiety, lethargy, motivation, politics?  What part of leadership do you want to improve and how will you do it (strategic thinking, getting things done, managing your team, managing yourself)?  What are you aiming for in terms of succession or a completely different world? 

6:15-6:30  Wrap up -- key insights learned, declaring new habits, establishing development plans, identifying mentors, and planning time allocation and weekly rhythm

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What is the follow-up?

There will always be an output for the day, and how extensive you would like to be will depend on how much time you would like me to spend after the day's workshops.  

At the minimum, I will summarise the multiple pages of butcher paper notes we will take across the day. Only you will receive this report and be able to edit it -- and only you will be able to determine who gets the report. 

Other options could include: 

  • A detailed report that incorporates the day as well as the assessments and interviews I conducted before the day to reflect your strengths, your development points, and how you would address this development

  • Meetings with you and your manager (or with anyone you would like) to help you present what you have learned.  I can do this with or without you.  I will NEVER present anything or discuss anything with anyone else unless you have agreed to what I will show

Also, you may wish to continue working with me through individual executive coaching or facilitation of the various teams you manage. We would continue working on the issues we discovered in the retreat or new issues that arise. 

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What is the preparation for an off-site?

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At the minimum, we would need at least one hour on the phone or in-person to determine your key objectives -- and then we will essentially start with a "blank slate" for the day.   I won't know much about your organisation, your leadership challenges, your team members, and your implementation issues. 


I can also spend a pre-set number of hours or days to investigate many aspects of your leadership, which include: 

  • Reviewing any documentation you would like me to review beforehand: strategic plans, organisation charts, performance reviews, project plans 

  • Several one-hour coaching sessions with you as we explore the key challenges you face strategically and psychologically (see more about coaching services)

  • 1:1 interviews or focus groups with your manager, your direct reports, your peers or other people (including family and friends) on the way they perceive you -- your strengths, your development needs, where you motivate them, where you frustrate them

  • Online surveys -- that you can either do yourself or in "360" style that will help us understand even more patterns in the way you see the world and how people see you (see the range of surveys I can provide: a specific "NeuroLeader" 2020 360 I like to use with clients or other types of 360s and psychometric assessments including team assessments)

Depending on what your manager and you would prefer, I would then write up the results of these reports so that we can either review them before or after the one-day retreat -- and use the results to inform the next steps of development following the retreat.   


Regardless of what we do beforehand, we will make a formal agreement as to what information is held confidential and what and how you would like to share with your organisation

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Where could we retreat for the day?

One possibility:
Little Bay
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Little Bay Beach is a 10-minute walk from my office, an option for hosting the retreat. The local surroundings make it an excellent location to have some quiet talks and reflection during the day. There are many beautiful locations and walks in this area, including two National Parks: 


Little Bay is 20 minutes from the city by car and 40 minutes by direct bus to my office.  Parking is plentiful. You can find more photos and information about Little Bay and its environs by going to this page. 

Regardless, get out of
the office and off Zoom.

If that doesn't appeal to you, I am happy to search out venues in a setting that is conducive to a quiet and reflective mind.  Fresh air is essential. Places near Sydney I have facilitated over the years include: 

  • Blue Mountains

  • The Quarantine Station at North Head (Manly)

  • Coogee, Bondi, Maroubra, Watsons bay

  • Whale Beach, Newport

  • Southern Highlands

  • Wollongong

  • Various places on the Sydney Harbour

  • Various places along the Parramatta River