Scenario: Going Through the Motions

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

The participants have been directed to participate in the Action Learning session but believe it’s a waste of time.

Tags: Action Learning Coach, WIAL Action Learning

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Comments (9)

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    Aaron Nunez

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    As an action learning coach, this is what I will do:

    1. I will check with the group one by one if they do have the same sentiments by asking who believes here that this session is a waste of time.

    2. Regardless if majority or one person things that this is a waste of time, I’ll ask another question to the group how would they like to proceed. If they would all like to stop, I’ll respect their decision.

    3. If they would like to continue, I would still take this as a learning intervention and ask them, what will be the impact if we proceed yet some of us think that this is a waste of time. Will take the learning back to the organization by asking this question, “What insights from this experience can we bring to our respective organization?”

    4. I’ll ask another question which I will also ask everyone to respond: ‘Given that time is valuable to each and everyone of us, how can we make use of this session in the next xx minutes that would make it worth while?’

    5. Will end the intervention by asking who has the next question.

    Thanks,
    Aaron Nunez

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    Tasha

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    As the Action Learning Coach I would ask “what can we do as a group to make this session more meaningful?” There could be a number of reasons why the group members believe that the sessions are a waste of time, one could be that they have not had the opportunity to have their problems be addressed- for example the problems for deliberation could be submitted from management and not necessarily from group members. Consequently by hearing from them what they think could make the sessions more meaningful could change their outlook on Action Learning.

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    mpersily

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    First of all, I would always get the background on a team before coaching them. Why is the organization investing in action learning? How were these participants selected? Why is the organization committing these resources to the team and what do they hope to achieve? I would make sure that this background is presented to the participants. Recently, I worked with a team that was resistance because they thought their recommendations would sit on a shelf. The sponsor then came and spoke to the team and talked about why this time was different and how they intended to use the recommendations. As a result, these team members completely shifted their attitude and said, ok, I will give it a try. It helped the team get off on the right foot. I also really like Tasha’s response above to kick the team off with the question around making the session meaningful or how to shift an experience from being a waste of time. This would be an interesting problem to explore if given the space to do so.

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  • Avatar

    Anna Maria LIM

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    As a Action Learning Coach, to handle the situation, I will do as follow:
    1. I will ask the opinion of other members regarding the situation, i.e. Team, how are we doing now? How can we make the discussion better?
    2. I will ask the participant that think AL is a waste of time to express his / her feeling, by asking “Why he / she think this session is waste of time?”, also ask how he / she can suggest to make the discussion better?
    3. If the situation is not favourable, I will check the rest whether we need to continue to the session, and do voting if necessary.
    4. Will honour whatever the group decide to continue or to stop.

    Regards,
    Anna

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  • Avatar

    jkenger

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    I would ask the group, “What feedback have you heard about Action Learning that makes you believe it will be a waste of time?”

    Based on the responses, I would ask the group, “What would you suggest would make our time most valuable?” and follow-up with “Would the group be willing to give Action Learning a chance, and decide after this one session if you don’t feel like it is a valuable process?”

    If they agree, I would move forward with the session. If they don’t, I would go with the flow and ask, “What would help to better explain the value of Action Learning to your group?”

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  • Avatar

    DrBea

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    I would ask the team to trust the process for just this one session. If at the end of the session they still felt it was a waste of time, we could discuss alternatives. To date this has not failed me. It’s typically enough to get the team to buy in to the process and once experienced they see the value and how it differs from other experiences.

    Happy Coaching
    Bea

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  • Avatar

    Lisa James

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    As Coach my aim would be to check-in with the group to confirm my observations, determine the impact of participant dis-interest and identify next steps.

    1. If I’m only going by people’s negative body language, I would start with:
    I’ve observed from reactions that some people may not wish to be here….has anybody else observed this? OR
    2. If someone has verbalized that the session is a waste of time or words to that effect, I will ask the person: Why do you feel that way?
    3. I would follow up with a question to the group: Does anyone else feel this way…and Why?
    4. Having got that feedback, I will then ask the group: What is the impact of persons not wanting to be here?
    5. As a call for action, I will pose to the group: How would you like us to proceed? OR alternatively I might ask:
    6. How can we make the best use of the time we have here today?

    *I also like like Bea’s suggestion, and may try to appeal to either their emotions or good sense by asking them to ‘trust the process’, by giving it a try on this occasion, and then we could take it from there.

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  • Avatar

    ina.b.teves

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    1) Validate your observation about how they feel about having to be in the session.
    2) Ask them how the session could be the best use of their time. Would they like to try it on a pressing concern, so that they would have something useful at the end of the session?
    3)When introducing AL, give examples similar to their work context
    4) Explain rules, roles and process clearly.
    5) Work on a current problem in their context to ensure industry

    Reply

  • Avatar

    Vivien Reyes

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    I will do the following:
    First, ask who among them believes that this is a waste of time and what makes it a waste of their time.

    Second, will then ask the team, “What does the team want to do now?” If all of them say they would like to stop, then I shall honor that because the team has made the decision. I will then use that experience to reflect what could be done better in other AL sessions in the future, for me as a coach, and for that team and/or organization.

    However, if there are members who want to proceed with the session, I will ask them, “What is the impact of continuing knowing there are those who do not believe in continuing?” I will then ask, “How can we make it a useful session?What should we do to make it worth everyone’s time?” Will then proceed to ask, “Who has the next question.”

    Then during the reflection learning, I will loop back the learning and ask, “What have we learned from this session? What are things we can apply back to our teams and the organization?

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