Scenario: Rabbit Hole

As an action learning coach, how would you handle the following situation:

The team has gotten off track with their questions and is now investigating an unrelated issue.

Tags: Action Leaning, Action Learning Coach, WIAL, WIAL Action Learning, WIAL Talk

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Comments (3)

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    Lenor Baptiste-Simmons

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    Utilise the Action Learning Script and intervene by asking process questions, enquire whether there was agreement on the problem, request that each participant write down in their own words and read his/her version of the problem.

    Finally , enquire if there is agreement before continuing thediscussions

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    Michelle Lim

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    As Coach, I would ask the team:
    1. Team, what do you notice about the type of questions now compared to a while ago?
    2. On a scale of 1-10, how closely related are the current questions to the problem statement?
    3. How can we help ourselves stay on track in our line of questions?

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    Emmanuel Ossom

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    This issue is an indication of the fact that the team misconstrued the problem statement or didn’t just get it clear from the problem presenter. As a coach, i have to politely ask a number of intervening questions to ensure the team really understands the problem statement and are on track to defining the real problem. For example, how do we all understand the problem statement presented by the problem presenter? Why don’t we allow the problem presenter to read over his problem statement to us again? After the problem presenter has read out the problem statement again, then i will ask the following follow-up question: “Could we write down our individual understandings of the problem statement? After they have written them down, let them read them out individually. Then ask them the following question: Do we all have a common understanding of the problem? If they say yes, ask them: How is our understanding of the problem statement now different from the first? Once the difference in understanding of the problem statement at first and now is established, and especially, if the problem statement is now collectively understood, then i will proceed to ask them the following question: Who has the next question? Or How do we proceed? This will lead to they asking the right questions that are in alignment with the collective understanding of the real problem, which would eventually lead to constructing a real definition of the problem. After while, i will intervene again to establish whether the team is on track towards defining the real problem by asking the following question: How do you feel we are doing as a group thus far on a scale of 1-10? Follow-up questions would be: What are we doing well? What could we do better? Do we have agreement on the problem? Then you ask them to write down in their own words what they believe the real problem we can help the problem presenter with today? So i will lead them to continue in a way that will eventually help them define the real problem and move on to the action stage.

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