Scenario: Out of Control

As an Action Learning Coach how would you handle the following situation:

The problem presented is outside the control or influence of the problem presenter and the team. For instance: A consultants presents about an organization he does not consult for – Organization A has a culture of fear.

9 thoughts on “Scenario: Out of Control

  1. Hemant Sagar

    As an Action Learning Coach when checking on the topic of the session I am supposed to coach I need to verify whether the topic is precise, real and urgent enough. It is clearly understood that a too large topic, or a topic that the presenter does not own will not be accepted, i.e. does not fall into the category of ‘urgent and important’ for the presenter as a problem to be solved. In this case the problem will not be accepted as a topic for the session, needs to be reworked into a personal problem the presenter is concerned with.

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  2. Cleo Wolff

    I experienced this situation before. Although I, as a coach, had explained the rules to choose a problem, a few minutes after the problem presenter presented the problem most of the team were getting irritated with the answers given by the problem presenter. It took me a while to realize I should intervene. I asked: Is this a urgent and important problem you are searching for a solution? As she explained it was a friend’s problem, we asked to change the problem if she wished. She did, but I must say it was not a good experience.

    Cleo

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  3. Sonja Antell

    I would hope to pre empt this by being clear that AL presentations are either problems or challenges that the set members are interested and able to take some personal action around.
    It may indicate some reluctance in the set to present – in which case I would re visit groundrules and confidentialiy and if need be structure an exercise to facilitate sharing, perhaps in 2’s using open questions.

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  4. summerer27

    I would ensure that I did not allow this situation to arise in the first place by discussing with the PP before the set to ensure the appropriateness of the problem presented.

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  5. camkenzie

    In addition to the aforementioned responses a cultural issue is more of an on going issue that would be difficult to contain to come away with actions and/or reolution and as stated above it is not urgent or immediate -although it is very real. If there was a component of it that is real, urgent and immediate it could be presented as a group problem for all participants to own
    n. As it stands I suggest this is more of a puzzle.

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  6. Amy Moseley

    This wouldnt present itself if I’ve done my homework and consulted with the problem presenter before the session. If this does happen (PP changes direction in the session), i would break the group and ask the problem presenter to find an urgent, compelling problem that the group is empowered to solve. If breaking isnt an option, I would poll the group for this. (Prefer to take the PP offline to gain their buy in.)

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  7. Samuel Idowu

    It is expected that problems presented for Action Learning should be real life situations. The problem presenter should be helped and should have some influence in implementing agreed solutions to the problem presented.
    In this case the problem presenter does not own the problem, even if it is a real life situation. The suggestions may not be implemented because the problem presenter is not the real problem.
    I have to take responsibility for having not reviewed the problem before it is presented for discussion.
    I that case, my own approach is that i will declare about 15 minutes break and use the opportunity to discuss the problem with the problem presenter. We will then agree to substitute the problem with another one within the influence of the problem presenter.

    Reply
  8. Samuel Idowu

    It is expected that problems presented for Action Learning should be real life situations. The problem presenter should be helped and should have some influence in implementing agreed solutions to the problem presented.
    In this case the problem presenter does not own the problem, even if it is a real life situation. The suggestions may not be implemented because the problem presenter is not the real problem owner.
    I have to take responsibility for having not reviewed the problem before it is presented for discussion.
    I that case, my own approach is that i will declare about 15 minutes break and use the opportunity to discuss the problem with the problem presenter. We will then agree to substitute the problem with another one within the influence of the problem presenter.

    If that fail, i will be bold enough to appologise for the group and inform them that the problem presented does not fit into Action Learning profile and that they will be reinvited for the discussion at a later date.

    Reply
  9. DrBea Post author

    Particularly in workshops where we ask for volunteers to share a problem this scenario can readily happen. On the surface what’s presented sounds like a good problem. As the team digs into the problem this situation may surface.

    When asking the team to write down the problem I use the words What is “JOE’s” REAL problem that we can help him with today.

    This problem is likely to shift to Joe doesn’t know how to market to this company to convert them to a client.

    Happy Coaching
    Bea

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