Coltrain Method Training Workshops

The Coltrain Method is a unique, protocol-based facilitation system for use by leaders, managers, facilitators, Human Resource professionals, and anyone who faces the challenge of efficiently and effectively leading groups and running meetings.

In this comprehensive training workshop you’ll learn a reliably proven methodology and a structured, yet flexible, skill set for working with groups. You’ll gain access to a large library of powerful, specialized tools and protocols designed to accomplish specific goals quickly with reliable, action-oriented results.

The Coltrain Method is a “real world” system, not a presentation of abstract theories and concepts. Your training will include hands-on experience in guiding groups through collaborations and discussions to meaningful concrete conclusions and solutions.

Working Together, Better

Do you have an excellent team that doesn’t consistently produce excellent results? Or are the results pretty good, but getting there is painful and inefficient? Maybe you have a group that you know could perform well, if only they could work together more effectively.

If you’re fortunate, you might have a team that works incredibly well, but you know they could be even better. And if you’re unfortunate, your once bright and enthusiastic team members may have drifted into apathy, frustrated by the difficulties of group dynamics.

As a people-oriented professional, you know that workplace interactions are not always smooth and easy. Especially when the stakes are high. Even groups of smart, well intentioned people who want to work together face many obstacles and challenges.

The complexities of human egos and personalities are wide and deep. Combine that with company power structures, workplace culture, differing social and ethnic backgrounds, and a host of other issues, and you have a recipe that is cooked up daily in workplaces around the world. The dish has many names, but we all know the flavors: anger, disappointment, frustration, and disillusionment.

People who are individually very talented often end up performing at only a fraction of their combined potential when working as a group. In other words, instead of the whole being greater than the sum of the parts, the whole output of a group often seems to be less than the sum of all the group members potential. In many cases, much less!

That’s not your fault, nor is it the fault of your people. Many if not most businesses and organizations face this same challenge, which leads some to believe that this problem is just a result of human nature, and there is nothing to be done about it. But it does not have to be this way. The solution lies in the way you structure group interactions.

If you don’t have a way to engage ALL of your smart and talented people, you will lose them. They will leave to find a place that they feel they can make a difference, or that they think they’ll have room to excel. Or worse, they’ll stay with you, but they’ll tune out and just do the minimum. Either way, you and your company lose.

Imagine How You’d Feel If…

…You’re leading your group through solving a tough problem. Instead of 3 hours of circular arguments and inconclusive discussions, you guide them through 1 calm hour of clear headed conversation, in which everyone contributes, and you all walk away with a clear set of agreed upon action steps designed to fix the problem.

 …You need to update your strategic plan, and everyone is dreading another long day in tedious discussions when they could be getting their “real work” done. But this time it’s different. You start at 9am, and a few efficient and productive hours later your excited team is enthusiastically reviewing their completed strategic plan. A plan far better than those that they spent all day hashing out in previous years.

 …You’re tasked with the facilitating a crucial meeting of senior executives. The room is full of type-A personalities and big egos, all anticipating a grueling afternoon of heated arguments and power plays. They are pleasantly surprised to find that you lead the group with calm confidence, in a way that allows everyone to contribute, without the typical high emotions and ultimatums. At the end of the meeting, they all look to you with a new respect, knowing that you have efficiently guided them to a productive conclusion and helped them achieve results beyond their expectations.

 …You are asked to facilitate a conversation about race and diversity within your company. This is a very sensitive issue, and the stakes are high for everyone involved. In spite of good intentions, similar attempts in the past have been painful and unproductive. But this time it’s different. You know exactly what to do and how to structure the process. You lead the participants through a safe productive conversation that yields real results and concrete action steps. The atmosphere at your company begins to improve, and so does the quality of everyone’s work. Your boss starts describing you as “amazing”.

The Applications Are Almost Endless

What if you had a reliably structured method for working with groups of all kinds? A vast set of tools that could be combined to accomplish most of your collaboration, training, and group leadership goals, along with a framework that allowed you to confidently select the right tools for each situation.

What if you could go beyond training and putting out fires, to begin leading work groups to tackle some of the toughest problems facing your company? Helping your people move beyond their day-to-day thinking to become creative, forward-focused powerhouses.

What if instead of causing conflicts and stalemates, the diverse backgrounds, personalities, and opinions of your people actually made your group interactions better? Imagine what you and your team could accomplish!

You Can Do All This And More

The Coltrain Method is an active, hands-on training in which you’ll learn a reliably structured process for working with your group to achieve almost any goal or objective. You can use the Coltrain Method to improve a product or service, confront difficult business or interpersonal challenges, develop and refine strategic plans, change workplace culture, enhance training results, make your meetings more efficient and productive, or even deal with a sudden crisis. And these are just a few of the many possibilities.

The Coltrain Method gives you the leverage you need to force your group past “off the cuff” reactions and into deeper thinking and genuinely new ideas. The true talent and brilliance of your people is often smothered by layers of interpersonal complications and distractions. In the Coltrain Method Training you will learn a reliably structured process for getting past the noise and interference that blocks so many great ideas and contributions. Arriving at innovative new solutions with a clear plan on how to proceed.

You need a way to balance power differentials so that all of your group members can contribute to their full potential. This is just one benefit of using the Coltrain Method, and it can have a monumentally positive impact on your groups ability to get things done. It also provides a safe way to have conversations about race, diversity, and inclusion, that are usually considered to “risky” to initiate.

One of the biggest benefits of learning the The Coltrain Method is that it also allows you to make better use of your current knowledge and strengths. It gives you a way to use other tools or techniques you’ve learned but found hard to apply in the real world.

What is the Coltrain Method?

At the core of the Coltrain Method are 2 special tools “Coltrain Method Protocols” and “Coltrain Work Groups”.

Coltrain Method Protocols are structured processes or sets of guidelines proven to promote meaningful and efficient communication, problem solving and innovation. Protocols give time for active listening, analysis and reflection so all voices in the group are heard and honored. When appropriate, they lead to clear outcomes and action steps.

Once you learn the proper techniques for conducting the different protocols, they can be used in your Coltrain Work Groups, and in other communication, training, and facilitation situations you may encounter in your work.

Coltrain Work Groups are a special kind of professional peer group developed by Coltrain. They are designed to allow people in businesses and organizations to work together in a focused way with maximum effectiveness and efficiency. Coltrain Work Groups unlock the power of your people and give you a way to focus their energy on a common goal or task.

The tasks that a Coltrain Work Group can address are almost limitless: creating innovation, solving problems, giving or receiving feedback, customer service, management, strategic planning, leadership, development and testing of products or systems, mergers and acquisitions. Even sensitive issues like diversity and inclusion, conflict, workplace culture, etc., can be addressed effectively, and in a way that is “safe” for everyone involved.

What Makes The Coltrain Method Better?

The Coltrain Method employs a proven process and structure that has been tested in hundreds of organizations around the world. Based on research conducted by the Annenberg Institute at Brown University*, these methods have been expanded and refined in some of the toughest organizational cultures imaginable, including international organizations, schools, universities, government, and corporations.

This training teaches you “HOW”. Often trainings tell you what you need to do and why you need to do it, but they fall short of showing you exactly how to do it. The Coltrain Method is all about the “how”. It’s the bridge from aspirations to actions. You’ll learn a reliably structured process, a set of tools to use in this process, and how to apply these methods in many different situations.

You really have to DO IT to GET IT. At some point in their Coltrain Method Training, each participant has a moment of insight, which we at Coltrain refer to as “The Experience”. It’s nothing mystical or spiritual, just a moment of clarity when the Coltrain Method skills and concepts click in for the participant. And they suddenly understand why this unique method is so effective and how they can apply it to so many challenges in their own work.

A few quotes from trainees:

“Excellent training! Very important for [organizational] improvement. We will definitely send a group next year. It was great to see different facilitation styles in one place.”

“The individual protocols are incredible – if you are tired of trying brainstorming over and over, this is exactly what you need”

“The facilitation was excellent – supportive, skilled, knowledgeable. Evidence of thoughtful, exceptional planning.”

“I had huge misgivings about [being sent to] this training … even resentment. It was based on past trainings [which] left me feeling powerless. . . . this was entirely different! I feel like we now have the tools to improve meetings, communication and the community at [our organization].”

“The Big Picture protocol was completely freeing … it was a safe place to let the imagination run wild …”

“I learned more about how to ask great questions than I thought there was to know …”

The Benefits Of Using The Coltrain Method:

Get better and more consistent results from your teams and groups. The solid structure provided by the Coltrain Method allows you to dramatically improve the quality and reliability of your team’s performance.

Solve a wide range of problems and challenges. The depth and adaptability of the Coltrain Method will give you the capability to address almost any situation confidently and effectively.

Productivity is enhanced, output is increased. Because the Coltrain Method gives you a reliable way to ensure that everyone on your team is able to contribute to their fullest, you’ll enjoy greater productivity and get more done.

Diversity will enhance your results rather than stifling them. Coltrain Method Protocols give you a way to turn differences into strengths. Friction between different backgrounds, styles, power levels, etc. will be converted from a negative quality to a positive one, and can actually make your group work together even better.

Reduce attrition and stress, and work on sensitive issues. You will now have a way to address even sensitive issues and tough topics, in a way that is “safe” for everyone involved. Festering animosities and lingering conflicts will no longer poison your team and damage morale. You can confront these issues head on, reach a conclusion that is meaningful to those involved, and then move past the roadblocks and on to higher achievements.

How Is The Coltrain Method Training Structured?

Flexible 5 Day Format: Most trainings are structured as a 3-day session, followed by a 2-day session a few weeks later, for a total of 5 days. This helps relieve the pressure of being away from the office and gives you time to try out your new skills and tools, and then come back with real world questions to discuss. We sometimes offer the 5-day agenda condensed into 4 longer “boot camp-style” training days. However, we find that most participants prefer the 5 day format.

Public or Private Option: You may attend one of our trainings that is open to the public, or arrange a special in-house private training for your staff.

Real Word – Hands On: During the training you’ll get hands on experience and receive personal instruction in this dynamic new method of group leadership and collaboration while working with other program members on real world issues and problems. The five-day Coltrain Method Training will prepare you to tackle challenges with confidence and efficiency.

Continuing Education Credits: Continuing education credits may be available to you upon successful completion of this training. Please contact us for more details.

Program Certificate: When you complete your 5 day training and perform to the satisfaction of your instructor, you will receive a certificate documenting your successful completion of the program.

Advanced Training Options: As a graduate of the Coltrain Method Training, you may be eligible to pursue an advanced training path to become a certified Coltrain Method Facilitator if you desire.


Your training also includes a one year membership in the Coltrain Community, which gives you access to the following:

Monthly Conference Calls: Join other Coltrain Community members and professionals for our monthly conference call. A Coltrain Method Instructor will introduce new tools, offer a solution to a common problem, or discuss an interesting case study. This will be followed by a Q&A session in which you and other members can bring up a questions, problems, or cases you want to discuss. Anyone in the group can chime in with questions or suggestions, making it a truly collaborative experience every month.

Online Community: Become a member of our on-line community, which will help you continue to grow and develop your skills. There, you’ll participate with fellow professionals who’ve completed the training with you or in other sessions. Together you’ll gain more experience working on each other’s challenges, and have ongoing access to Coltrain Method Instructors and Coltrain Group’s Senior Consultants. These regular interactions will keep you fresh, connecting you with like-minded Coltrain Method practitioners.

Online Tools: As a Coltrain Community Member, you’ll also have 24-hour access to our searchable on-line library of protocols and communication tools. This is a great reference resource, and a wonderful way to find new ideas to apply in your daily work.

The Coltrain Method Newsletter: You’ll receive a regular newsletter containing all the latest info on what’s happening in the Coltrain Method universe. Featuring articles, event highlights, member recognition, continuing education, member opportunities, and more.

Publication Opportunities: As a Coltrain Community Member and Graduate, you will be eligible to submit articles and protocols for inclusion in the Coltrain Method online library, newsletter, and future publications. All submissions are subject to approval of course.

Is The Coltrain Method Training Right For You?

We have carefully designed the Coltrain Method Training to meet the real world needs of HR professionals and facilitators who face the challenge of efficiently and effectively leading a group.

The Coltrain Method Training Is For You If…

…You want to transform your people into a focused effective, action oriented team that can tackle even the toughest challenge, producing powerful results consistently and efficiently.

…You would like to gain a new set of in-depth skills and tools that can be applied to many situations.

…You need to gain a competitive edge and take your training or facilitation career to the next level.

…You would like to be a member of a community of supportive, like-minded professionals who want to grow professionally.

Click here to get more information on upcoming public Coltrain Method Trainings.

Contact Us to find out more about scheduling a private in-house training for your staff.

*Please note that Coltrain Group LLC is not affiliated with the Annenberg Institute or Brown University.