Scenario: Missing Sponsor

As an action learning coach, how would you handle the following situation: Your action learning group has met several times, asking questions to better clarify the nature of the problem as presented by the problem owner’s delegate in the initial session. It became clear after the second session that the delegate could not answer most of the questions the group was posing. The group agreed the problem owner should be invited to the next session. The problem owner agreed to 45 minutes at the next session due to his tight schedule. The sessions was rescheduled three times over the next month. The delegate was running into scheduling roadblocks with the problem owner – despite the problem owner’s initial pledge that he was fully supportive of the effort. The delegate was becoming concerned that she was loosing credibility with team members and that they were losing motivation to participate.

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

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Comments (3)

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    Paulina Gucka

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    As AL coach I would react in two ways:
    1. I would ask the group how they perceive the situation, how they feel about it and how they would like to proceed in such situation.
    2. I would ask the delegate separately what is her perspective and need in such situation. I would ask her as well, if she needs my support in meeting with the sponsor. Depends on her decision, I would either go with her on meeting with Sponsor (we discuss together the situation) or schedule meeting with Sponsor myself. Finally, Sponsor is paying me. He/she should at least become aware that the group can not move forward without her/his support. And this is equal loosing money. If the group can not proceed due to lack of information and support, Sponsor should make decision to continue with her/his engagement or to close the process.

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    Rifki Feriandi

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    I will first ask the team about their observation on the situation.
    “Team. What do you observe on this situation?”
    Expected responses are:
    • “We don’t have answers from the Problem Sponsor”
    • “We are not going anywhere”
    • “Delegate does not have answer we are looking for”
    Then I will ask about the team feeling.
    “How do you team feel as this situation happens? What do you think about it?”
    Expected responses are:
    • “I feel useless”
    • “Mad. Is the company serious about this issue?”
    “What will happen if the questions you asked does not get an answer from the problem speaker or his delegate?”
    “What do you want to do to progress this discussion?”
    “Team, what is the team decision to move forward on this discussion?
    “As an individual person, what attitude you learned from this situation that you will implement in your life?”
    “And as a part of a company, what you also learned from this situation?”
    Necessarily, as an AL coach who has concerns on learnings to the team, I may seek a clarity of the situation to the right person. Separately and in timely manner – I might approach the delegate to understand the situation. If needed, I may directly talk to the person who is in charge for the AL session contractually, ie. the contact person who hired me as AL coach, and get to know an understanding behind the issues, in particular to talk to problem presenter so that the team can go forward and get a solution, as well as maintain a reputation of the delegate. Unless otherwise, the problem presenter does not want to get a solution as previously expected.

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    Suerda Moraes

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    I would deepen the importance of the continuity of the process with everyone involved – group, sponsor, presenter of the problem. I would also schedule a meeting with the sponsor and presenter of the problem to verify the continuity of the AL and define the next steps.

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