Scenario: Missing Participants

As an action learning coach, how would you handle the following situation: The team you are coaching is working on a critical corporate problem in a leadership development program. The leadership program and work on the project is scheduled to be completed over six months. Two of the eight people in the group do not show up routinely.

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

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Comments (4)

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    Paulina Gucka

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    I would take 2 actions: first, I would contact 2 persons not showing up and ask about reasons and needs, I would agree with them what solutions they see in the situation that occurs. If they decide to come back but they have certain needs that have to be satisfied I would encourage to come to the team meeting and discuss the needs within the team, so the whole team has a chance to agree how they will proceed. If 2 persons decide not to come back to the group, I would encourage them to come to team last time and announce their decision to the team. I would encourage them as well to announce their decision to the Sponsor as well.

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    Anni Townend

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    As an action learning coach I would have noted this happening, and would be keen to raise this with the team the first time it happened by stating ‘X and X are absent today. What will the impact of them being absent be on our work today? and ask ‘How can we overcome this? What will we do to help them catch up for our next working together?’

    Having raised this at the outset, as part of setting the tone in my role as action learning coach, of noticing and of being in service to the team, and their working together as a team this would – I hope – help with my raising their absence the next time.

    I would repeat the process, saying, X and X are absent. What is the impact on our work today? And How can we overcome this? (I would avoid saying ‘absent Again’ as would not to imply a judgement, rather simply to make the statement based on observation.)

    I imagine that the team may feel frustrated, annoyed by the two people ‘routinely’ not showing up and would want to give space for the team to express how they feel, and for the team to ask open questions of each other as well as to respond with statements, and for the open questioning to include – if not from them, from me – ‘How can we best overcome our frustration, annoyance, irritation?’ and only then ask ‘How will we help them catch up for the next session?’ Here I can imagine that people may be disinclined to catch the people up.

    It maybe that they are not being supported to attend the sessions, and I would hope that a member or members of the team would on behalf of the team agree to check in with the two people, bring them up to speed, and too gauge their future participation.

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    Luke Tanner

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    I would ask the team and let them decide on a norm. What do thay want to do with missing participants? If they agree to let them miss as needed and the team or an individual will fill them in later that’s up to them. If they agree to replace them with others who can commit the time needed to solve the problem I say it’s up to them.

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    Bert van Veldhuizen

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    Scenario: Missing Participants
    As an action learning coach, how would you handle the following situation: The team you are coaching is working on a critical corporate problem in a leadership development program. The leadership program and work on the project is scheduled to be completed over six months. Two of the eight people in the group do not show up routinely.

    Whether this is a problem is a question that only the group can answer. I would therefore ask the group what the impact is for them, this can be both positive and negative. Then I would ask whether this opinion was already the case at the start of the team or has something changed. If so what? If the team decides that the people should be there, then it is a team problem, I will encourage the team to tackle the problem together and solve it. If it is not a problem, then the question is what has changed and what the role of the absentees should have been and how this should be dealt with. The team can then look for replacement members in consultation with the client. The members themselves should be involved in this process as much as possible. I would therefore try to deal with this immediately after the first absence and not after only x times.

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