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 (15)

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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?

    Reply

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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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    fatima dias

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    I would wait some minutes ( 3 to 5) and make an intervention using the question:
    – ” What question are you answering?”
    I belive that is a powerful question.

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    Desdra Bascombe

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    I would lean in and tell the group that we have been working together for the past eight to ten minutes and ask each individual:
    On a scale of one to ten, how do you feel we are doing as a group?
    What do you feel we could do better?
    To the problem presenter,How could we reframe the problem to assist the group?
    Who has the next question?

    Reply

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    Michael Lu

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    I can ask them how they are doing, may be using a scale, and explore their answers. I would remind them that the session’s goal is to help the problem presenter and maybe ask them how they are progressing towards the said goal.

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    Naveen Chopra

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    As Coach, I would ask the team:
    1. Team, how are we doing with respect to the type of questions we are asking 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 stay on track in our line of questions going ahead ?

    Reply

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    xiaotsing ma

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    Unexpectedly, complex problems involve a lot of problems, which are causes by the system behind it. So I understand that there will be a shift of attention in the process of solving problems. This is not an improper behavior, but also the way to go. The coach not only work on”how does the team focus on the issue raised by pp”, mean while support team menbers to realize their issue in identifying the problem and cooperating.
    I would like to first confirm with the team how they evaluate the current progress and ask:
    “What is the relationship between the current issue and the question raised by pp?”
    “What shifts have we made on the issue?”
    Go ahead with more identification:
    -When the team did not feel that entering another issue had any impact on solving the problem, I led the team into the consensus process.
    -When making sure that the team aware they out of track, I ask:
    “What do we need to do if all we do is to ensure that we work on the problem raised by pp?”

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    SHAINA VANEK

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    As a coach, I would ask the team what they you notice about the type of questions being asked now compared those being asked earlier in the session. If the team is not able to identify that they’ve gone down the rabbit hole, I could also ask the sponsor/problem presenter if the questions are helping him/her. That might spur a bit of a redirection of the questions being asked. It is important as the coach to intervene during times of learning, but not to “force” learning if the participants are not yet ready to hear it or go there themselves. After a couple of different tactics, I would let it go – maybe the new line of questions will turn into a new presenting problem upon which the team can work on!

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    Marcel Geraeds

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    As a coach I would intervene and ask the question: How do the past few minutes relate to the actual problem? And second: How can the group help each other not drifting away from the actual problem too much?

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    Oam Ratanakarn

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    My intervention to this situation will help team members have awareness on what they discuss. Using SID intervention, my question are “What are issues we asking right now? How it relate to the problem?”. After they respond, what will happen if we asking on …(key issues they mentioned)…?. Next, I’ll let them decide to get back on track “To help our team on track and get closer to the real problem, what issues will you focus more?”

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    Erna van Ophem

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    If the team doesn’t correct itself, I interfere after approximately 5 minutes with a question about the process, for example: “In what way does this conversation help you finding the real problem?”

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    Devaki Seijmonsbergen

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    As an Action Learning Coach I would ask the group if they are still asking questions about the problem that has been written down. If the group gets stuck in asking questions again I would ask them to write down what they think is the problem. Then after that, I would let the participants read out loud what they’ve written. And let the group continue with asking questions.

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    Tran Le Quynh Nga

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    I will intervene the team:
    1. Hi team, how the discussing issues ralted to our last questions?
    2. How this way of discussion help the PP to solve his/her problem and all’s learning?
    3. How should we focus the discussion to have an effective session?

    Reply

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    Elena Goryacheva

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    I would intervene asking “How the question we are tackling right now is related to the problem that we are helping the problem presenter to solve?”

    or, if the group did have a consensus over the problem:

    “How the question we are investigating right now helps us to solve the problem we had a consensus on? What should we discuss now in order to make a great progress?”

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