In this paper we consider the nonlinear Hartree equation in presence of a given external potential, for an initial coherent state. Under suitable smoothness assumptions, we approximate the solution in terms of a time dependent coherent state, whose phase and amplitude can be determined by a classical flow. The error can be estimated in L2 by ε being the Planck constant. Finally we present a full formal asymptotic expansion. © 2011 Springer Basel AG.