Scenario: Eye Lock

As an Action Learning Coach how would you handle the following situation:

The problem presenter locks eyes with you when presenting the problem.

Tags: Action Learning Coach

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Comments (9)

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    Liora Gross

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    I would break eye contact by looking down and busying myself with my notes, so that the presenter would be forced to look at other members of the group. If appropriate I might also move my chair a little out of the circle to achieve the same. If I noticed that the presenter continued to do this throughout the session, I would consider doing a general follow-up question related to body language or listening skills.

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    Edwin Sim

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    I would break eye contact at look at other team members.

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    Jill Bayly

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    I would acknowledge the ‘look’ by smiling at the person, then go back to my designated duties within the group.

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    David Troupe

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    I agree fully with Liora.

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    Simon Hardiman

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    I would lean back, away from the group, and break eye contact. If the behaviour continued I would intervene and ask ‘how are we doing on involving and engaging all the team members in the problem solving acivity?’ ‘What could we do better?’ I would remind the team of the second ground rule that I am the coach and not directly involved in solving the problem. Then it is onto ‘who has the next quesion?’

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    Dee Handyside

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    Perfect timing! When you posted this up last week, the very next day this happened to me! The Problem Presenter locked eyes from the start. I smiled re-assuringly and when I noticed it again, made a point to look around at everyone else and not lock eyes with him. At the de-brief (this was a WIAL training session), he commented that he didn’t even know he was doing it. Most likely this would occur because the Problem Presenter is either unsure OR wants the Coach to intervene. If the process is flowing well, an intervention may not be necessary though.

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    Sumit Bhasin

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    I would do the following in the order of complexity:

    Step 1 – I would look elsewhere, get busy and come back to him/her. This brief moment when I am not looking back at them should shirk them from doing this again. This should most likely solve the issue.

    Step 2 – If they are still looking at me, then I can “may be” point a finger towards the team members, kind of hinting at him/her to talk to the group.

    Step 3 – If they still do not get the message, then I can use an intervention and put a question “Who are you telling your problem to?”.. or “Who should you be telling about your problem?”

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    DrBea

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    Great responses.

    For the eyelock to happen – I must be equally locked on the other person. I’ve found simply looking at someone else will break the eyelock. If it were to happen again, again I would just look elsewhere.

    Happy Coaching
    Bea

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    Louise

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    I agree with the above comments. In addition to the above and depending on how I’m internalising the “eye lock” it might bring up an internal trigger within me as a coach which I would need to deal with. I would breathe into it and name the trigger and focus on “unlocking my eye contact” with the problem presenter.

    I would also include in my introduction of the problem presenter an invitation to present the problem to the group and use “an open hand gesture” to indicate the whole group and away from me.

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