Heike Roettgers

Chair Check-in

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This is a very quick and impactful check-in for groups.



WHY? Purposes

Leaders need to be aware of context, of starting and ending meetings and conversations, to increase their focus and presence. This variation of check-in is very quick and impactful because of the combination of reflection, physical movement, summarising in one word ... and it takes less than five minutes with dozens of people.

Reflection points - Impact people notice

  • Calm, relaxed
  • Focused, curious
  • Connected, safe, trust
  • Outcome: boosts effectiveness, improves outcomes —> this is what leaders get paid for!



Structuring Invitation

  • To consciously arrive, let’s stand up(, and check in).

How Space Is Arranged and Materials Needed

  • Circle of Chairs with an option to stand up and move behind my chair.

How Participation Is Distributed

  • Everyone in the training is invited to participate
  • Everyone has an equal opportunity to contribute

How Groups Are Configured

  • Whole group activity

Sequence of Steps and Time Allocation

Speak the instructions below, pacing with the flow of words, give people enough time to reflect. Meditative voice. Adjust the wording to your personal style.

  1. To consciously arrive, let’s stand up. We will now check in. Or: to check in, we will now... (be careful of beverages and devices around you)
  2. Please stand up and step behind your chair.
  3. Now, turn around so that you’re facing the circle with your back.
  4. Now, notice what is happening inside of you:
    • In your body: maybe still tired, maybe excited from coffee...
    • in your mind: thinking about that email, or what’s going to happen here today,
    • In your heart/in your feelings: feeling anxious, happy, angry about traffic jam...

As Facilitator, (choose your own examples so that it feels natural)

  1. Now, decide which of all those things you want to bring into the circle and which you won’t need ... and once you’ve made that choice, turn back around.
  2. Now, summarise what you are bringing into the circle in one word. Pick one word that represents how you are showing up in this course. Once you have that word, sit back down.
  3. Now we will share our words going round the circle (indicate clockwise direction with your hand)
  4. start by saying your word and then looking at the person to your left

After the last person:

  • And now, to indicate that we have arrived and are ready to start, we all say “I’m in” - “I’m in”
  • And now, to welcome everyone who is here with us, we say “Welcome”. “Welcome!”


  • Stand up behind your chair, turn around
  • Reflect and choose what to bring, turn back around
  • Pick one word to summarise, sit down
  • Share one word each around the circle, clockwise
  • All: “I’m in” - “Welcome!”

Tips and Traps

  • Reflection: summarise key reflection points and ask “what difference does having done a check-in like this make?” Ask Multiple times until you get to “increasing results” —> make a point of “this is why you’re investing your time and money in being here, to increase results!” Check-In boosts effectiveness
  • Some chairs are hard to move
  • Chair standing directly in front of a wall
  • When you have tables in the room: ask people how much time they need for getting them out of the way and setting up a circle.
  • Do make a point of setting chairs up in a real circle: ask people to move if they are further in or out than others. Psychogeometry matters.
  • Some people find practices like that too “esoteric”, especially if you use words like feelings, heart, resonance, deeper purpose..... keep the instructions as neutral, accessible, and simple as possible.

Riffs and Variations

  • Some people tend to leave electronic devices outside. That’s ok.
  • If you don’t have chairs, give the same instructions with turning around and back around, then ask to raise hands instead of sitting down when they have their single word.

German Version

  • German instructions attached as PDF.


CC... TrustTemenos - Olaf Lewitz - building on Check-in protocol in Core Protocols by Jim and Michele McCarthy

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