Six Tips for Facilitating a Kick-Ass Lean Coffee Session

In our latest edition of LCM TV, I shared six tips to help you facilitate an amazing lean coffee session. Check out the video, or read the tips below!


Six Tips for Facilitating a Kick-ass Lean Coffee Session

Have a Theme

All lean coffee sessions need a theme, here’s how to use it properly:

  • relate the theme to the change, or the phase of the change you’re in
  • keep it broad enough so it’s not too constrained to the point where people don’t know what questions they can ask
  • don’t make it so broad that people are confused
  • keep the questions that don’t fit the theme (because the point is to listen to people!

Don’t Pre-Seed the Topics

  • this is obvious, don’t call it a ‘coffee chat’ and use it as an excuse to push an agenda
  • don’t approach attendees ahead of time and give them questions so it looks like people are asking real questions (that should be a PAINFULLY obvious no-no!)
  • if no one has questions, thank them and stop the session then reflect on why it didn’t work out

Make it Safe

  • our lean coffee tool allows you to make it anonymous
  • if running it in-person, instead of people putting their questions on the board, collect them in a hat and as the facilitator, you place them on the wall

Creative Voting Techniques

  • use secret ballot instead of getting people to write dots on the cards
  • our lean coffee tool lets you hide the votes until everyone has voted

Set Constraints

  • give everyone 3 votes, but don’t let them vote for their own topic!


  • when running this in-person with large groups, ask each table to write topics and vote on their number one question
  • have each group bring their number one topic up to the wall (or use any of the other tips on this list to anonymize the questions)
  • during voting, give everyone 3 votes, but don’t let them vote for the topic that can from their table.

Have tips to share? Questions about these tips? Drop a comment below!

(Visited 200 times, 1 visits today)
Share This