Scenario: May I?

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

You say “may I do a checkin?” and a team member says “NO”  

Tags: Action Learning Coach, WIAL Action Learning

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Comments (12)

  • Avatar

    AlvinSim

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    It is a given that AL coach has the right to intervene and so there is no need to ask permission from team member.

    Nevertheless, if this scenario happens I will ask the team:
    – What are the two ground rules?
    – What is the point of having an AL coach when he/she is denied the right to intervene?
    – What is the impact to the team if the AL coach cannot intervene?

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  • Avatar

    Colin Yeow

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    I agree with Alvin that the AL coach should not ask permission to “check in”, assuming that “check in” here means an intervention to highlight a learning opportunity.

    My response as AL coach would be to ask “Was the question I asked an open or closed question?” “What is the impact to the discussion when closed questions are asked?” “What can we learn about the importance of the quality of questions?”

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  • Avatar

    friday10october

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    I agree with Alvin and Colin, that as AL coach I wouldn’t ask for permission when I am intervening.
    At that point I would use the opportunity to ask the team ‘What is the role of the coach?’, ‘What are we learning about team dynamic?’, then I will ask them to check in…

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  • Avatar

    fabienne

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    ups, my earlier entry wasn’t entered under my name…
    Here again…

    I agree with Alvin and Colin, that as AL coach I wouldn’t ask for permission when I am intervening.
    At that point I would use the opportunity to ask the team ‘What is the role of the coach?’, ‘What are we learning about team dynamic?’, then I will ask them to check in…

    Reply

  • Avatar

    fabienne

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    I agree with Alvin and Colin, that as AL coach I wouldn’t ask for permission when I am intervening.
    At that point I would use the opportunity to ask the team ‘What is the role of the coach?’, ‘What are we learning about team dynamic?’, then I will ask them to check in…

    Reply

  • Avatar

    leocastilloph

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    I agree with Alvin, Colin, and Fabienne. 😉 As an Action Learning coach, I will use it as my own personal learning to remember not to “ask for permission” next time and just say “it’s time to check-in”.

    At the moment however, I would probably say, “Thank you for your honesty. Can you let me know what is your reason for saying no?” – handled correctly, that can give more possible opportunities for learning. Either way, we can redirect to the second ground rule; at least we were able to understand the objection first.

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  • Avatar

    Faz_Kamaruddin

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    This scenario is a good reminder for me about what I say when I intervene. I would intervene with – Team, I’d like to do a check in here. But sometimes I might still also ask instead of tell, so I would respond to that statement with – Team, what is the role of an AL coach? – and guide them to understand that as coach, I would intervene when I see a learning opportunity.

    Alternatively, I would ask the team – What is the definition of Action Learning? – and remind them as coach, my role is to support the team as they solve the problem and learn at the same time.

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    Michael Bloemendal

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    I have a slightly different view from the previous responses.
    Usually I start an intervention with something like “excuse me that I intervene, but I like to ask a question”, or “may I ask a question”. The team is seriously working and an intervention, how legitimate it may be, will often felt as disturbing.

    When one of the team members responds with a ‘no’, I will proceed to ask ‘Why don’t you want me to intervene’, instead of pointing to my role as a coach. I feel that in this way the no-sayer will feel more at ease. And after all …. you never know what surprising reason he might have.

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  • Avatar

    xyvivien

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    Build on other AL coaches just said, I think AL coach do not need to ask permission but may intervene in an assertive way – ‘Team, it’s been quite sometime since we start the session, I’d like to do a quick team check-in here.’ This doesn’t mean the most effective way to do so but we may not throw a close question which give participants chance to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to it at this stage. If there’s a participant refuse to do this, as AL coach, we need to self manage our anxiety (emotion wise) and turn it into curiosity. We can say ‘I’m curious about you say no to this. Would you please tell me more about the reason you do not want to have a team check-in?’ Then I will respond per the response. If the response is (s)he wants to continue with the session, I will help the team reflect on the purpose of Action Learning by asking ‘What’s the purpose of Action Learning?’ Then remind them again the two ground rules by asking ‘Let’s review the two ground rules, what are they?’ Following with another alignment on intervention from AL coach on team check in and proceed further.

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    Popsy Kanagaratnam

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    I lean forward and say, “I’m going to intervene and check in …” by stating my intention to intervene as the Coach, they are aware that I am going to ask a question, and as the Coach I have the right. If someone says, “may I ask a question first…” then I will respond to that.

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  • Avatar

    Angela Chen

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    This is a great opportunity to reinforce the role and responsibility of the coach again. I will say “I appreciate your reply. For the purpose of team learning, does anyone know what is the role of the coach? Why we need a coach in Action Learning and why coach intervenes during the session?” I will then reconfirm with this team member to make sure he/she understands the value of coach intervention.

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  • Avatar

    DrBea

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    Great answers. The scenario is intended as a reminder that we don’t need permission to checkin (intervene). As coaches we simply start with something like – here is a great opportunity for learning …. and follow with our questions.

    If I should slip and someone calls me on it by saying no – I love the follow up question many of you stated of – why not? Usually, this leads to simply since you were giving us a choice i’d rather continue with the problem solving – go ahead.

    Happy Coaching
    Bea

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