Troika Consulting is one of my favourite Liberating Structures. I use this peer coaching activity often, in various groups and contexts, online and offline. It works with small groups as well as big ones. I love the concentrated atmosphere when groups of three are helping each other. There is often some intimacy in these peer exchanges. Troika Consulting creates togetherness and connectedness. “It was nice”, is a reaction I often hear. And smiling faces.

Troika Consulting is not only useful in workshop settings but also in daily collaboration and team meetings. This process supports honest and meaningful conversations between team members dealing with challenges. At the same time, it trains a set of skills – to listen, ask for help, and accept help.

The good news: Troika Consulting works perfectly fine online!

Here is some visual guidance. If your video conferencing platform allows setting up breakout rooms, it is easy to manage. If you don’t have this option, you have to work around technology and invite people to set up their own group calls. As the process takes 30 minutes it is worth the effort.

As a facilitator, you explain the process with the 4 steps. Before you move the people into the breakout rooms, ask everyone to select a challenge: “Pick a challenge that you would like to get ingenious help around. This will be a chance to tap into the imaginations of your colleagues and find inspiration.” While people reflect silently for 1-2 minutes, you have the time to create breakout rooms for three people (clients and coaches).

  1. The first client shares his or her question [1-2 mins]
  2. The two consultants ask the client clarifying questions [1-2 mins]
  3. The client switches her or his webcam off and mutes the microphone. Together, the consultants generate ideas, suggestions, and coaching advice [4-5 mins]
  4. The client switches the webcam on and shares what was most valuable about the experience. [1-2 mins]

Switch roles, now it is the turn of one of the consultants to be the client, repeat the steps. And then once more, till everyone had the chance to receive help. In total, three rounds of each 10 mins.

See the Liberating Structures Website for more information and instruction on how to do Troika Consulting. Also have a look at the blog post from the Liberators: How to use Troika Consulting Virtually

It can be magic. Try it! 

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