Scenario: Firing Line

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

All of the questions are directed at the problem presenter. During the check-in the problem presenter says – “I feel like I am on a firing line.”

Tags: Action Learning Coach

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Comments (13)

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    tman

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    I would intervene and ask the group if they were fully leveraging the diversity of the group. After getting responses I would follow up with what is the value of asking each other questions?

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    Cleo Wolff

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    I am assuming that the Action Learning Coach let the team going on without doing any learning intervention, even with all questions being addressed only to the problem presenter. First of all, if I was this coach, my learnings would be: Keep my eyes opened to what is happening during the session. I should have intervened before the first check in because the problem presenter was probably not feeling free and showing that through gestures, behaviors. And it is a AL Coach’s responsibility to build a trust environement for everyone.

    2. If the AL Coach would have realized the situation before the problem presenter comments, doing the learning intervention I would ask: What is the quality of participation of everyone in the team? What are we doing well concerning our participation in the session? What we could do better? Probably, the problem presenter would say about his/her discomfort. And the team could be aware to share more questions across the team.

    3. Having realized the situation only after the problem presenter had spoken about his/her feelings. I would immediately ask the team: What is the impact on the team when we focus only in a person to get the answers? Why is important in a AL session that most of us participate? What can we do in order to guarantee everyone’s participation? Who has the next question?

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    Danny Slater

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    First up, I would see what came out of the ‘what are we doing well, what could we be doing better’ section of the check-in.
    If nothing comes up from this discussion, I would consider intervening at this point.
    ‘ XXX, our problem presenter, mentioned that she is feeling like she is in the firing line. What is the effect on the group when all questions are directed at the problem presenter? And see where this conversation goes.

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    Jennifer Stanigar

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    One of the advantages of prior experience in Action Learning is the developed awareness of the directionality of questions and the importance of asking questions of all team members. Since the problem presenter made this statement during the check in, it was a missed opportunity for the coach (or other experienced team member) to intervene earlier; i.e., while the unidirectional questioning was taking place. At this point, the coach should ask the team what they can do to help the problem presenter not feel like he/she is on a firing line. A further question could be, “how will the team respond if this kind of questioning continues in the next part of the session?”

    In my experience, once this awareness is raised within the team members, they begin asking each other questions. It also invites the problem presenter to ask questions of others in the room.

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    Teresa

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    Say, “X feels like he/she is on a firing line.”
    “What’s the impact of this?”
    “What would the group like to do about it?”

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      Colleen Carruthers

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      Like your concise and direct approach – another option on the same line would be “How do you want to move forward at this point as a team at this point?”

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    Frank Fulton

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    The problem presenter has already laid their concern on the table. Let’s let the unconscious mind of each team member work on it. I’d ask who has the next question. If after a few minutes, the questions continue to be too pointed or 100% focused on one person, I’d interject again and ask if we’re using all our available resources. Or if I observe aggressiveness or body language issues, raise that instead and take the group through the what, so what, now what questions.

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    Colleen Carruthers

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    Might ask “What are you noticing about the direction of participation so far today”?

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    GurpreetSchhabra

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    The coach should intervene and ask a question to the group ” How are we doing as in group / are we really understanding what the problem is?”

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    DrBea

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    Given that the PP brought up the situation – I would ask PP – What could you do to deflect all the questions from coming to you? (I could ask questions)
    Why is it important that we leverage the knowledge of all the participants?
    How can we better tap into all the knowledge at the table.

    Happy Coaching
    Bea

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    Narendra

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    Since the problem presenter has raised it towards the end, my question to him/her would be : how could you have handled this better? Could you have asked some questions of others while this build up was happening?

    My question to group would be: how could we have handled it better or how could we have handled it differently?

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    najiresearch

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    I would ask the problem presenter what can he do to take himself off the hot seat, but at the same time leverage the group.

    I would also take the opportunity to ask the group questions such as:

    What have you observed about the group process to date?
    How can the group improve the process and the benefits each member derives from the discussion?

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    William Chew

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    I would perhaps start with asking, ““What are we doing well concerning our participation in this session? What we could do better?”

    If the team is able to identify that all the questions were directed at the problem presenter, I followed up with “What’s the impact when all the questions are directed to only one person?”

    If not, I would follow up with “Do we notice to whom are all the questions directed to?” If by then the team is able to identify that all the questions were directed at the problem presenter, I followed up with “What’s the impact when all the questions are directed to only one person?”

    I would then draw the group’s attention to the ground rules by asking, “Can someone volunteer to repeat the first ground rules?” followed by “What would we like to do about it?”

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