Scenarion: Long Problem Statement

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

You ask the problem presenter to briefly state the problem but the person continues on for an inordinate period of time not only stating the problem but also describing contextual details related to the problem.

Tags: Action Learning Coach

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Comments (17)

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    olusadepaul

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    in a case where the problem presenter has gone beyond presenting the problem and going on to describe the details related to the problem. i will simply ask the problem presenter to make it brief. another thing i can do is ask the team whether they understand the issues being presented. I am hoping that someone will say the problem is too long and then i will ask the problem presenter to represnt the problem again in a brief manner

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    Julia Storberg-Walker

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    Hello- I have had this happen and so I really ‘prime’ the problem presenter before the session to keep it short. If I don’t have the opportunity to do this and the problem presenter starts to go long, I would intervene with a question like “Please describe what you see as the problem in one sentence.” Depending on the result of that question, I may probe further “Of all of the issues surrounding your problem, please describe one that you believe is most critical at this time.” Alternatively, I may pose a question to the group “How are you understanding the problem presented to you so far?” or “What questions would you like to ask the problem presenter that can help her/him flesh out the important aspects of the problem?”

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    Ivy

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    I would do a quick intervention with the question, “How would you like the group to help you?” In response the problem presenter will be more specific. Then I would ask the team,”Who has the next question?”

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    Sasipa Paripunna

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    I would intervene with a question like; “what help or support do you really need from the team”, “I now would ask the team their understanding on your problem”. Then I would pass next question to the team such as; “Team, anyone of you have a question on the PP’s problem”

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    Cleo Wolff

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    I would internvene and say: Thanks. What you are talking is interest, but could you please to say in two sentences what is the problem/challente we are going to work on it?

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      Dr Yvonne Sum

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      I would concur with Cleo’s intervention – politely succinct.

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    Augusto Gaspar

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    In a situation like this, I believe that we should intervene thanking what has been said so far, and asking the presenter summarize the problem in a nutshell, to give beginning to the questions.

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    ncclimber

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    I would intervene and compliment the problem presenter on his or her knowledge or the problem (acknowledging his or her expertise) then ask the problem presenter to summarize the problem in one to two sentences in order to give direction to the team. My intentions would be to show respect to the problem presenter, but also move the team along so they can benefit from the process. I have seen people interrupt problem presenters without giving respect to the presenter’s expertise and passion, this can come off as insensitive and rude… and I would want to avoid this.

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      gracetan

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      @ncclimber, thanks for your sharing and highlighting the point about acknowledging the PP’s knowledge/expertise to show respect, and be sensitive to his/her feelings.
      Thats something that I’d like to be more mindful of 🙂
      Thanks!

      Reply

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    Marcos Ton

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    I have two suggestion to face this situation:

    1) My suggest is to set rules with highly clear, including specific time to talk about problem and also is possible to suggest that “problem presenter” will be assertive!

    2) If the A.L. Coach identified this situation, he could make specific question to group in order to induce analysis about how much the specific problem was explained!

    Best regards to all,

    Mr. Marcos Ton, in progress at CALC at WIAL Brasil

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    DrBea

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    As the 2 minute time limit approaches, I ask – In one sentence what is the challenge you would like help with today?

    There are many people that don’t know how to stop talking, and fully appreciate the 1 sentence cue.

    Happy Coaching
    Bea

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    Sarah Rhead

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    My reflection on this based on recently completing CALC1 would be the following:

    1. Brief Problem Presenter prior to session.
    2. In Action Learning Coach intro, outline specific timing for this element and session overall
    3. Reiterate timing for Problem Presenter when inviting them to commence
    4. Observe Action Learning team to gain insight to identify engagement and understanding levels
    5. Use this observation to intervene at what seems intuitively the most appropriate time
    6. Use Bea’s suggestion above and ask “In one sentence, what is the challenge you would like the team to help you with today?”

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    Kang

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    If PP is unable to succintly articulate what is the challenge needing help, then I would pose 2 questions to reframe: starting with “what will change if all the cited problems are resolved?” before redirecting attention to “then what is the one challenge to overcome in order for the change to happen?”.

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      Sarah Rhead

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      Great questions Kang. Will try to remember to keep them up my sleeve!

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    Alissa Haslam

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    I have seen this happen on a couple of occasions – a long problem statement and a statement that isn’t very clear. I have learned the importance of doing some prep work with the problem presenter beforehand to really tease out the current state and desired state and focus in one tangible thing that the team could help them with.

    If the presenter still gives a long presentation, I would do one of two things. I would either ask the presenter to re-state the problem, and only the problem, they want the team to help them will or I would ask the team “what did you hear as the problem that X wants you to help them with?”

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    clsun

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    I will ask PP to present the problem in one of two statements. After that, group members are invited to help the PP.
    Prior to the meeting, I usually contacty PP not only to come to understand the question but also explain the actions of PP’s role to PP.

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    Chien Wen-Che wayne

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    I’ll ask the problem presenter: “I can see you’re eager to let everyone here get whole the picture of your problem. can you briefly make just 1-2 short statements to describe your problem, so the group can begin to help you?”

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