Final Action Learning Session

I have just run a final action learning session (after 5 sessions) and experienced the Final Action Learning Session script to run like a series of focus group questions I found myself slipping into facilitation mode and lost the benefits of the AL questioning. I was wondering if anyone has any tips how to run a final session to maintain integrity as coach, yet still ask the many useful reflective questions to close.

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Comments (8)

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    Garry Luxmoore

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    Hi Jane, I know the feeling – I’ve felt that way myself in the past and would venture to suggest I’m prone to feel it again! One way I always try to overcome this is to remember to throw a “W” in my mouth and then make the comment/statement thereafter. Remember in the wrap up, the coach is in control of the group and is there to garner learning so to an extent does have an agenda. The script is a process and if the process is about learning that can only be done properly by asking great questions. Was the problem more about discomfort with the set questions? What other questions could you have asked to make it seem less like facilitation?

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  • Avatar

    Choon Seng, Ng

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    Hi Jane

    Let me first congratulate you on completing a multiple session Action Learning Set. Well done.
    I would like to offer some questions you can ask to team at the end of the final session, besides the usual individual, team and organization questions.
    1. What surprised you about the team?
    2. What do you appreciate about each team member?
    3. If you were to attend another AL session with another team, what would you do differently?
    4. What questions do you still have about the problem, team, process?
    5. What was one question from the past sessions that stayed with you?
    6. How is the team different today compared to when we first started. What was the difference, what created the difference?
    7. How have you grown through these 5 sessions?
    8. How can we re-create this positive team experience back to your workplace?
    9. What did you learn from/about the other team members?
    10. Anyone wants to be trained/certified as an Action Learning Coach ? 😀

    Hope this helps..

    cheers

    Choon Seng
    http://www.wial.sg

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    Valerie Lingeman

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    Hi Jane. I have found that teams can have trouble shifting gears to reflect on the course of the action learning experience, and it can be constructive to help them replay the experience before asking them reflective questions about it. Almost like putting your VCR on rewind and reviewing the experience. Some structured individual reflection can help them reconnect with the phases of the AL experience, and/or reflection in pairs. With one set of teams that worked on organizational problems for several months, we did a close-out half-day event, focused only on the learning aspects, and they were asked to develop a fun (no pressure) performance piece (like a skit, poster, song) that captured the essence of their team experience. The teams were very creative and it loosened everyone up to get into the close-out reflective questions. We also did a piece on “what advice would you give to future AL teams, based on your experience?” which helped us (coaches and program manager) learn how we could improve as well. I think a little improvisation with the closeout, to suit the tenor of the group experience, so that everyone can extract great learning from it, is not a bad thing. Hope this helps.

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    Carole

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    In a focus group, the data is gathered for “someone else” to analyze and then use. I always try to remember that our questions are asked primarily for the benefit of the group, not for me or any other third party. I keep asking myself, (silently), ‘what is this group noticing, puzzled about, stumped by, proud of….etc.’ and I ask myself, ‘what’s the next question that I can ask to help them learn and understand more deeply, become ore self-aware and self-regulating and celebrate more their success’.

    As coaches, we might also vary the script by reminding everyone that we are still in AL mode, and then you can periodically ask our standard question–so who has the next question?. In other words, instead of the questions only coming from us, how can we get the group more engaged in this stage of the inquiry? If questions don’t come from them, then I agree with your feeling that it can start to feel like a focus group or evaluation feedback session run for our benefit, not theirs.

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    Maeghan Jones

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    In the final Action Learning session, I have found it useful to refer to the Action Learning Diamond Diagram to help the group identify where they are in the problem solving process. By that point the nature of the questions has changed from divergent to convergent, so as the coach I was less focused on ensuring that members of the team asked open-ended questions. In a recent session, I found that by the final session, the group had taken responsibility of the process and was organizing themselves to implement the solutions they had identified. As a result, I stepped back and let them go. I only intervened when I saw an opportunity for learning. At the end of the final session I used the standard debrief questions.

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    John S.

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    I ran my session exactly as Maeghan described hers. My group did not negatively react or reject my attempts to summarize their learnings by asking the standard debrief questions. The result was an honest free flow of dialogue that created a informal completion to the structured team sessions. The team departed with positive feelings about their contributions.
    John S.

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    Lere Baale

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    The AL Questions like – Who, Why, What, Which, When, Where, Why Not, How, :
    What have we done well during the sessions?
    What could have been done better?
    Who would host or lead future sessions?
    How can we manage time better?
    Why not consider another site?
    Which options?
    When should we review our progress on the issue we have agreed on so far?.
    How could we improve on our sessions Team Leadership and Participation?
    ETC

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    JulietteC

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    Does anyone have the Action Learning Diamond Diagram that they could share with me? It sounds as though it would be very useful for multiple sessions with the same group.

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