An Action Learning Team has met for several full-day sessions over several months working on a problem that is critical and highly visible in the organization. After the most recent full-day meeting, the Team Lead (the organization assigned a Team Lead) shared with the coach that she is feeling very fatigued. Although there was excellent processing and learning at the end of the meeting, the team stormed and got off track quite a bit in the afternoon segment. She likes the AL approach and sees the benefits, but for certain activities, such as brainstorming, wishes there could be someone in a facilitator role.
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.
I’m new to this and still in training, but am wondering what happens when after the early stage of the first session there is no real agreement on the problem. My initial response would be to ask the group if they wish to gain agreement before continuing. If it’s the first in a series of planned encounters, I would probably suggest to the stakeholders that if the problem is complex and not well understood, that a whole session be dedicated to defining the problem. This would mean that the issue presented is lack of clarity and agreement on the problem itself…but then I’m a researcher and have been trained to think that there needs to be clarity on the problem before you can go out and solve it, ie. you need to know what you’re solving. I would be interested in other views.