Scenario: Bad News

As an action learning coach, how would you handle the following situation:

A member checks their voice mail during break and receives disturbing news. For instance – they are an emergency room nurse and one of their patients from the night before didn’t make it.

 

Tags: Action Learning Coach, WIAL Action Learning

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Comments (9)

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    Ivan Lam

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    I will intervene to ask the team: “How is the team performing, from 1-10? )1 is the poorest and 10 is the best). Then I will ask the team to reflect what could they do better. The next question is “What has just happened?” and “What impact will be made to team?” Although I will allow the team to rectify that without my intervention if the team could do it in 5 to 10 minutes. Otherwise, it will become a norm which attract the other members will try to check at their mobile phones.

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    krijn

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    I would bring the event (a patient of one of the team members didn’t make it) to awareness of the team by asking: “Does the team knows what has happened” (what). I would help the team to reflect on team dynamics by asking: “what is the impact of this event on the team” (so what). It is for the team to decide how to handle. So I would ask how the team would like to handle the situation (now what). After the team has decided how to handle, I would ask: “who has the next question”.

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    JLS

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    I would first give the person a quick breather making sure they are ok to continue with the session. Either way I would take a moment to intervene and ask the rest of the team aware of the current situation (not giving away details the individual does not want to share) If the person has rejoined the group I would ask if that individual has anything they would like to add. I would then take a moment to ask “how they would like to deal with this event as a team. Give them a moment to handle the information as needed and the go back to Action Learning core with either who has the next question or go back to the person who had the last question and ask if they could repeat their question.

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    Michele

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    I would ask the person if he wants to share the bad news with the team. if he does, this can affect the team dynamics. there, I will, as a coach, ask the group how this influence the team and the team members. I will give the group the decision how to continue. If he doesn’t want to share the news, I will ask if he is able to participate for about 100%. this is important, because it affect the dynamic of the process.

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    terychua

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    I will continue to observe the member’s behaviour in the team. If he’s contributing as per normal, I will not intervene. However, if he became non-participative, I will intervene by asking the team to rate their involvement in the session on a scale of 1-10. When the member responded a low rating, I will then ask the team what the team decides to do. I will not volunteer to address the cause of it unless the member/ the team wants to. The team decides…

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  • Avatar

    Wai Ling Ho

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    Since I get to know about this during break, I will pull this team member (assume his name is X) aside to privately ask how affected is he by the news and whether he is able to continue contributing fully to the session.

    If he isn’t able to, I will bring the team together after break to share (without elaborating on any detail) that X has just been hit by a piece of bad news and is unable to continue with the discussion. I will then ask the team for their decision on whether they prefer to carry on or to continue the discussion another day.

    On the contrary, If X feels he is able to continue, I will closely observe his behaviour during the session after break. If his participation is affected, I will pose a question to each member of the team: “Ever since we re-started the session after break, what is your individual percentage of airtime to the discussion (0-100%)?” When the affected team member gives a low percentage, I will gently follow up by addressing the team, “During break time, X came to me to share that he has just received a piece of unpleasant news. This appears to have affected his participation.” I will then ask the team to decide if they wish to proceed or reschedule the session.

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    lyeyk

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    Since the news was received during break, I will have a private chat with that person and see what would support him/her.

    If the bad news does not affect him/her badly and we can continue with the session as usual.

    If the bad news affect him/her and he/she does not want to continue with the session, I will resume the session by letting the team know that he/she will not be joining the session due to some emergency matters. Follow by asking the group, given he/she will not be present, “What would the team like to do?”

    If the bad news affect more than him/her and actually concern the entire team, instead of waiting to resume the session, I would get everyone together and discuss about what would they like to next?

    I believe the key here is to let the individual / team decide what is best for them. As an AL coach, my goal is for the team to take ownership of situations and learn from it.

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  • Avatar

    Wai Ling Ho

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    (Reposting using the correct user ID): Since I get to know about this during break, I will pull this team member (assume his name is X) aside to privately ask how affected is he by the news and whether he is able to continue contributing fully to the session. If he isn’t able to, I will bring the team together after break to share (without elaborating on any detail) that X has some personal matter on hand and is unable to continue with the session. I will then seek the team’s decision whether they wish to carry on or reschedule the discussion.
    On the contrary, If X feels he is able to continue, I will closely observe his behaviour after break. If his participation is affected, I will pose a question to each member of the team about their level of contirbution to the discussion (0-100%)? When X gives a low percentage, I will gently follow up by addressing the team, “During break time, X came to me to share about something unpleasant that has just happened. This appears to have affected his participation.” I will then ask the team to decide if they prefer to proceed or reschedule the session.

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  • Avatar

    DrBea

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    I would pass it back to the team to determine how they want to handle it. As we’ve just heard one of our members received some disturbing news during break. How would you like to handle it?

    In this situation I wouldn’t go through the standard 3 questions to start since we’ve just gotten back from break. By asking the team how they want to handle it – they are free to say we can move forward or we need a few more minutes before we can fully refocus or something else.

    Happy Coaching
    Bea

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