Scenario: Pre-existing Condition

As an action learning coach, how would you handle the following situation: Two team members were arguing in the hall before the session started. As soon as one says something, the other rolls their eyes and mumbles something under their breath.

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

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Comments (10)

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    Barry Hellings

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    This is a moment where an intervention is pretty necessary. I would make a statement about what I have seen and heard. I think it’s important not to make assumptions in this case: ‘I see you roll your eyes and mumble after X’s comment. Is there anybody who wants to ask something about this?

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    Paulina Gucka

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    As AL coach first I would ask the group “How is the atmosphere in the group?”, “How it impacts the work of the group?” and than “How they want to manage the situation?”. In case the group doesn’t see the “interaction” between 2 team members, I would say what I see between them, ask how they perceive it + how the group perceives it. At the end I would ask how the group want to manage the situation.

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      Aleksandra Jach

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      I would do a round with general question about the group work (classic AL intervention): what we are doing well and what can be better? If it will be needed to continue the conversation, because the problem wasn’t verbalised, I would ask more precisely: what do we need from the group to feel safe and heard?

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    Bert van Veldhuizen

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    The session must be safe for everyone, that is a condition. This also means that what has been described cannot be left undiscussed. As a coach you have to respond to this. As soon as I saw this, I would ask the group how it is going. So an intervention with the question how are things going so far? What is going well and what can be improved? In this way I hope that the group will pick up the topic itself. If this happens, it is nice that people themselves indicate the frameworks of what they find acceptable as a group and what they do not. I also hope that if it helps people ask for help.
    If the conversation does not start then I will confront people with my perception. I have seen that…. Have you seen that too? What does that do to the group process, involve the parties involved as much as possible as a group member and not as two separate parties involved. If no one responds, then those involved are the right people to answer the question. The group can then respond to this again.

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    Noraini Mahmood

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    I would ask the team ” What’s happening here?” they may be aware and start discussion. I would also ask “what is the impact on the team when there are two members who have personal issues with each other show their unhappiness with facial expression during the session? Let the team discuss. I will ask the team again . ” How do we prevent this from happening again?” another discussion. If the discussion gets nowhere, then I will ask “What can the team do better to ensure everyone feels safe and respected during the session?”.

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    Prasad Natarajan

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    As an action learning coach, how would you handle the following situation: Two team members were arguing in the hall before the session started. As soon as one says something, the other rolls their eyes and mumbles something under their breath.

    I will intervene and say that “I notice that there is some palpable tension between two members of the team. What is the impact of that on the team’s ability to work on this problem? What is it that the team would like to do about it?

    I may allow the team a few minutes to discuss amongst themselves to settle the issue and restart the Action Learning Session

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    Brigit Naude

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    An intervention is necessary: “So how are we going as a team?”
    If group members have noticed the behaviour, they will probably highlight it here. If they haven’t, I’d need to ensure that the process wasn’t being undermined by appealing to the group: “I’ve noticed that X and XX seem to be at odds with one another; what does the team want to do about it?” It may be that they agree to do nothing more or provide quick solutions. The whole group would hopefully continue from there in a more co-operative and respectful frame of mind… “Now, who has the next question?”

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    Lee Kwan Meng

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    Since Action Learning involves teamwork, in this situation, my observation in this situation suggests that two team members are not contributing to the team. I will then intervene and interrupt what is going on by first asking the team what is happening in terms of working as a team. And the second question is whether what is happening will affect the objectives of the Action Learning session. It is then up to the team members to reflect back on the incident and suggest what they should do next to proceed or not with the session.

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    Naraiana Lessa

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    I would pay close attention to the group’s reaction to that situation. Also I would pay attention to those 2 people interactions. In case the eye-rolling and mumbling happened only once and no one in the group noticed it, I would move forward with the session. In case the first circumstance happened more than once or any person from the group noticed the issue, I would ask the group how we could ensure a productive and respectful session despite any personal issues.

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    Katia Gaspar

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    As an Action Learning I will ask So how are we gonig as a team? What are we doing well. What can we do to improve our team?

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