Scenario: Coffee Break

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

A participant gets up from the group to fill a cup of coffee.

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

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Comments (9)

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    Maria Acker

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    If leaving the group for a cup of coffee or bathroom break is within the group norms that were established, as a Coach I wouldn’t say or do anything. If norms had not yet been established, I would take a moment to ask the group how they feel about someone leaving the group for coffee, the restroom, etc. and engage them in a learning opportunity.

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    Caroline d'ESTEVE

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    If a person needs to leave the room to fill a cup of coffee I would ask to the group how that affects the group effciency and how they want to handle this situation “I observe from time to time that people leave the room during the session to fill a cup of coffee. What is the impact of this on the group? How do you wish to handle this in the future?”

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    Christine Bona De Napoli

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    As an Action Learning Coach I would make an intervention saying: “I have observed that one person left to get a cup of coffee, how the group would like to handle this situation?”

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    Pakorn Payoonsavatdeth

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    If the coffee-break has not establish at the beginning of the session. I would intervene after the participants back from fill up the coffee by ask questions. I have observed that we have someone left to get a cup of coffee during the team working together. How would this effect with quality working as a team.? And then i would ask how can we working better as team work? let’s them decide and acknowledge the decision.

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    Jessica Panazzolo

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    I agree with Christina.
    Depending on the group’s response, I would ask them, “How important is everyone to be in the group?” and “How do we want this to be done?”.
    If the group said that they would also like a coffee, I would say, “Would you like some coffee too and then we all return to the session? We have 3 minutes, is that enough?”

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    Velma Morton

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    I would state to the group what I have observed and follow up with a series of questions. “I noticed that someone has just left the table!” How does that impact the learning process of the group? How would the group like to handle this?” As there coach it is my job to keep the group focused and learning and if one group member breaks the focus of the group I must get the team back on the learning process at hand.

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    Ana Paula Alfredo

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    If that was not agreed before as an initiative from the group, I would intervene by saying. I´ve observed that X has stand up to coffee. Has anybody also observed this? How this impact the group? How should we proceed as a group in this situation?

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    Emmanuel Ossom

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    I will first make my observation known to the rest of the team. After the member who got up to grab a cup pf coffee returns to the group, i will share my observation with the team as follows and ask a question: I have noticed that someone from the group got up to fill his cup with coffee. Did anyone else notice that? What was the impact of this action on the group? After they share their responses to this question, i will ask a follow-up question: What should be done first if someone wants to do the same thing or a similar thing in the future? Certainly members would come up with ways to comport themselves in the group in relation to seeking to do their personal things or even doing something else that somehow would benefit the team whilst an Action Learning Team is at work. It is most likely that their responses and discussions on them would lead to the creation of “house working rules” that would govern the working of the team in their best interest. If this behaviour of a member getting up to leave the team to do something is not checked, it might distract the focus of the entire team, and might encourage others too to get up and leave the group at anytime which is a recipe for disrupting the smooth flow of the team’s work. A team member who returns to the team after leaving the team for something else without permission may lose track of the progress the rest of the team has made in his/her absence and this could lead to he/she delving into matters that might have already been addressed whilst he/she was away. This will constitute taking the team aback and that would mean unnecessary delay in executing the task at hand. Checking that every team member alerts the team before leaving to do something or doing something whilst sitting in the group at the time the group is at work, is to emphasize the importance of every team member to the team’s task as it is prudent that the team’s task is collectively owned and handled as such for the team to accomplish its goal.

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    Rachael Olivier

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    As best practice, prior to starting the session, I would first discuss group norms and whether or not the group would like to provide a quick recap if someone steps out of the room. If the norms were not set at the beginning of the session, I would allow time for the participant who stepped out to walk back in and do a quick check in with the group. I would say something along the lines of: “Let’s do a quick check in! I noticed one of our participants have stepped out of the room, would the group like to set a norm for participants of step out of the room? Would the group like to provide a quick recap once the participant is back in the room? If we choose to do so, who will be the recap presenter?” This scenario, will allow for a norm to be set, along with the designated person who will perform the recap, should the group decide to have a recap.

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