Scenario: Brainstorming

As an action learning coach, how would you handle the following situation: The team feels they are at a point that it would be useful to brainstorm.

Tags: Action Learning, ActionLearning Coach, Team Coach, WIAL, WIAL Action Learning, WIAL Talk

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Comments (16)

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    Alberto Zevi

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    I’d ask: what could hep us to brainstorm the problem?
    Then, when someone in the team suggests a tool: as a team, do you all agree on using this tool?

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    alicia wellington

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    I am assuming that the team is at the point where they are attempting to identify concrete actions that the group is going to take as a result of the session and thinks that brainstorming may be useful. As the Coach, I will ask the team whether there is consensus on the use of this methodology. I will also ask how do they think that the methodology will advance the process. Then I will ask what additional ground rules other than rules 1 and 2 do they want to put in place for this session and how do they want the information to be captured. I will conclude the session by having them read aloud the agreed-upon actions and ask if everyone is clear as to what actions each of them will be taking between now and the next session.

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    Cassie Gibbons

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    After confirming the team has collectively identified the problem, I would ask the following questions:
    How would you like to facilitate the process of brainstorming?
    Would it be helpful to visually capture the ideas? If so, how would the team like to handle that?

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    M Meulesteen-Kuipers

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    I would ask every member if they agree and why it would be good to do so. I think that if the group thinks it helps to solve the problem then it will be allright. They need to look at the process how they would like to go on and proceed according to what they agree to with each other. I am the one who looks at opportunities to learn en check the process but the team is working with each other to solve their problem.

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    Mon Wong

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    As the AL coach, I would ask them:
    1. If there is agreement to the suggestion to brainstorm – very quickly, yes or no, each person around the table
    2. Then remind them of the ground rules, mentioning first and very quickly the second rule before the first so there’s emphasis on that rule and they are reminded that statements only in response to questions, and anyone can ask anyone questions.
    3. Then return the focus to the team by asking, who has the next question?

    I would pay attention to the brainstorm questions if the problem has not yet been agreed on or identified. If the questions focus on solutions, I would intervene after 1 or 2 questions and ask, “Team, are we asking about problems or focusing on solutions?” Yes/No – ask quickly each person, “How would the team like to move forward?”, ask each person quickly, “Who has the next question?”

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    Marcin Kamieński

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    I stop the session and ask team – “what do you think about this proposition?”. If the team agrees about it I inform the presenter that when we use brainstorm method we won’t finish our AL session on this meeting and we have to continue this subject on the next.
    Later I inform about the rules of brainstorm and present
    tools of brainstorm. When the team choose one of methods, I lead brainstorm session and motivate to creativity all participants.

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    Jeremy Gwee

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    As an action learning coach, I will not permit this. Brainstorming contradicts action learning purposes. “Brainstorming combines a relaxed, informal approach to problem-solving with lateral thinking. It encourages people to come up with thoughts and ideas that can, at first, seem a bit crazy. Some of these ideas can be crafted into original, creative solutions to a problem, while others can spark even more ideas. This helps to get people unstuck by “jolting” them out of their normal ways of thinking.”

    Action Learning is not making statements randomly like brainstorming. It is a process of insightful questioning and reflective listening. Action Learning tackles problems through a process of first asking questions to clarify the exact nature of the problem, reflecting and identifying possible solutions, and only then taking action. Questions build group dialogue and cohesiveness, generate innovative and systems thinking, and enhance learning results.

    Action learning is not about making recommendations, like brainstorming. In action learning team will then help the ‘presenter’ work on that problem through supportive but challenging questioning: encouraging a deeper understanding of the issues involved, a reflective reassessment of the ‘problem’, and an exploration of ways forward. Action Learning requires that the group be able to take action on the problem it is working on. If the group makes recommendations only, it loses its energy, creativity, and commitment. In brainstorming the problem presenter is left “carrying the baby”. There is no process to make an action plan that all participants can own and execute.

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    Yulia Saksen

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    I will ask the team how will it contribute to the Action Learning session and how much time do they need to spend on this Brainstorming session; and get the team commit to the time and continue with the Action learning session afterwards. During the time when they are doing the brainstorming, I will continue to monitor and intervene whenever I identity learning opportunities.

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    Danuta Babińska

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    Since there are no limitation as to how participants decide to work during session (except the 2 basic AL rules) and what techniques they might want to use, I would just check in asking how the brainstorming technique is going to help them in working on the problem and what they expect as a result of the brainstorming. During the conclusion I would refer again to their work using brainstorming and ask them how they evaluate its effectiveness and how they might learn from this experience.

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    Lai Yin Yong

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    I would first ask if this is a group decison to switch the session to brainstrorming session is the best option to do now? If the group agreed, then I would ask” How much time would you need for this brainstroming session?’ ” what do we do after the brainstroming over?’ This is to lead them to commit a specific time and return to AL session timely. if this is set, I will leave to the group to run thier session and back again when AL session resume.

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    Surawut Dudsdeemaytha

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    If this happened, I would intervene them using
    “Team what is our 2 ground rules?”
    “What do you think we are doing now?”
    “Do we agree that it would be better if we stick on the ground rules”

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    Antonio Nadres

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    I would intervene as follows: a. “Team, do you agree to a brainstorming, yes or no?” b. “What could possibly happen if we do not follow Ground Rule #1?” c. “How could you do brainstorming while following Rule #1?” d. Who has the next question?

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    Philippe Rion

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    I congratulate the group on its motivation to find a solution. I will ask them what will be the benefit of interrupting the session to start another method of reflection? What is brainstorming? The aim is for everyone to put forward their ideas as they come to mind. I, therefore, invite them to share their ideas in the form of questions to save time, respect the 2 rules and benefit from the power of Action Learning.

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    Shirley Loh

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    As the coach, I would ask the team :
    – Are there consensus that the group should do a brainstorming session ?
    – IF the answer is yes, I will ask them how long they need to do the session and to remind them of the ground rules mentioning very quickly the first and second rules so that they are reminded.
    – I would stay around for the brainstorming to see where that takes them to and stop the session when appropriate and resume the AL session.

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    Guan Heng Tan

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    I would ask, “team, how do you feel about the idea to brainstorm”; “do we have an agreement”? If the team believes this is something that will greatly benefit the process and they all agree to it then the team should proceed. However, it might be useful to observe if this idea to brainstorm, is more for expedience and convenience – i.e. to solve the problem and not necessarily to learn from the process – then I will bring this up as a learning at the end of the session. As the AL coach, you could suspend the session and allow them to physically move to a brainstorming session. However, I will ask them how much time they require to brainstorm and after that given time, they should return to continue with the AL session. The brainstorming session may complement the AL session but does not replace the AL session.

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    Delong Chai

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    Intervene: Team, do you think a brainstorming session will be helpful to solve the problem. ( if the team agreed ), how much time you need for the session and return to our AL session.

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