Scenario: Bad News

As an action learning coach, how would you handle the following situation: A member checks their voice mail during break and receives disturbing news. For instance – they are an emergency room nurse and one of their patients from the night before didn’t make it.  

Tags: Action Leaning, Action Learning Coach, WIAL, WIAL Action Learning, WIAL Talk

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Comments (6)

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    Elizabeth Rushton

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    Assuming I heard about this during the break, I would console the member, and ask him / her how they would like to proceed following the disturbing news. If his or her preference is not to continue with the session, then I would let the other members know once reconvened that the member wont be taking part in this session, and ask them what the impact of the absence will be to the group, and ask how would the group like to handle any impact of the absence. If the member who received bad news decided to continue, I would respect their decision, and be mindful of any possible impact through the session.

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    Maria So

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    Yes, agree with Elizabeth. If I know the situation, I will approach the individual to check her/his readiness and “availability” to continue the session. Given the bad news might affect the emotional state of the person and hence affect the team dynamic. It’s also good to get consent from the individual before share the news with the group. If he/she choose to continue participate, it’s up to him/her to decide to release the news or not and I may let the person think about the pros and cons of releasing the news before he/she make up the mind. And if the group is mature and close enough, after re-start the session, I might suggest to allocate some time for the person to brief the group about what happen and if he/she like the group to provide support. If the person choose not to participate, I think I will adopt a similar approach as Elizabeth and adding a “how to support the person” question and setting practice for future reference to the group.

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    Rosana Nucci

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    I agree with Elizabeth and Maria. I’d ask them if they are willing to stay. If so, I’d ask the group “XX has just got disturbing news but chose to stay. How can we as a group support him/her at this time?” If not, I

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      Rosana Nucci

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      I’d restart the session by explaining what happened and asking the group about the impact it could have on the discussion.

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      Rosana Nucci

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      I’d restart the session by explaining what happened and asking the group about the impact it could have on the discussion.

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    Sumaia Thomas

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    Back to the room session as a coach I would say: “I’ve observed someone was very impacted by receiving a bad news message that impacts all group. Did anyone else notice how it impacted the group and atmosphere ? How do we want to handle this in order to keep the rest of the session productive? What should our norms be in cases like that?”

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