Scenario: Eye lock

As an action learning coach, how would you handle the following situation: The problem presenter locks eyes with you when presenting the problem and appears to be just talking to you.

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

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Comments (10)

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    Philippe Rion

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    If you are in his field of vision, it is normal for the presenter to look at you. I always stand back from the presenter to observe the whole group. If this still happens, I invite the presenter to share his or her case with the group.

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    Jiajing LE

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    I would stop him with gestures and eyes, ask him to pause, smile to him (to reduce his pressure and improve his confidence) and say to him: Thank you. Today, the whole team is working together to solve this problem. It is important that everyone here can hear clearly.

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    Elisabetta Galli

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    To avoid that situation I would select, as a coach, a seat that is a bit in the background to be able to observe the entire group and not to invade the communication space.
    If the situation occurs anyway I would use a very simple technique that is to proactively unlock MY eye contact driving my eyes to the rest of the team to trigger a kind on unconscious mimic reaction in the problem presenter. This normally works in the business meetings or during a presentation

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    MARISTELA GORAYB

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    If the presenter of the problem seems to be just talking to me, I could do the following intervention:
    – How are we capturing the knowledge of everyone in the group?
    or
    How are we doing everything we agreed to do?

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    Sheela Chandran

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    As the action learning coach if the problem presenter was engaging with me and not the team when speaking to present his problem, I would break eye contact by looking away or down at my notes for a while then look up to the other team members so they know I am still engaged with them as the problem presenter continues to speak. I would also make sure that I have moved myself slightly away from the table which indicates that I am not part of the active team discussion.

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    Bernard van Gils

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    Wanneer de probleeminbrenger zich alleen tot de AL-coach lijkt te richten zou ik als coach met mijn handen gebaren dat het bedoeld is naar de hele groep. Tevens zou ik mijn stoel fysiek achteruit schuiven om aan te tonen dat ik geen actieve deelnemer in het gesprek ben. Wanneer dat niet voldoende zou helpen, zou ik inbrengen dat het een probleem van de groep is en dat de inbrenger het dient voor te leggen aan de groep. Ik zou erop wijzen dat oogcontact met hen hem inzicht gaat geven of de groep akkoord gaat met zijn probleembeschrijving.

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    Paulina Gucka

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    In such situation I would first direct my eyes on the group members avoiding the presenter’s eyes. If it doesn’t help I would catch an eye contact with her/him & showed with gestures to focus on the group members. If this one doesn’t help I would intervene by saying politely & friendly “Dear problem presenter, it’s up to the team to help you to find solution, please use its power by directing the team.”

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    stephanie parry

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    I would first look away from them, either by looking at my notes or looking at other people. I would also check my position and maybe try to move out the person’s line of sight. I would also take this as a sign that the Problem Presenter may not be fully engaging with the group, and observe closely that dynamic to see if it changes and decide if I need to intervene sooner than the first planned intervention. It might be something I choose to highlight in the planned intervention.

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    Antonella Mediati

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    First of all, I would preemptively avoid this situation by positioning myself away from the participants. For example at the edge of the table where I can lean in when necessary but easily fade away.

    However if the problem presenter still locks eyes with me, I would turn my eyes towards the group, seeing if this would change his/her focus.

    Finally, if this approach does not work, I would then swiftly intervene and say “ Thank you Mr/Ms problem presenter. Just a small observation: I noticed that your eyes are directed to me while you are presenting your business challenge. It is important to direct your energy to the participants as it is the group that will help you solve your business challenge. My role as an action learning coach is to provide the framework, intervene when necessary, and help promote the team’s learning. However, I will be not actively involved in solving the problem.

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    Noraini Mahmood

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    I would intervene and ask the whole team “Team what is happening here?” “I notice that the problem is directly presented to me and not the team” ” What is the impact on the team learning and the quality of problem solving process?” “What can we do to improve this?”

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