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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    Paulina Gucka


    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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