The FA Experience: Diversity, Inclusivity and Problem-Solving

Working with a drama company to design and deliver training around unconscious bias and decision-making.

The brief

To improve the influencing and problem skills of a group of coaches through the use of carefully designed case studies brought to life by professional actors. The six case studies reflected fairly typical ‘people’ issues which a manager might have to deal with. The coaches had no advance notice of the issue or the character who confronted them.

The solution

Working in six groups of four the coaches took turn to be in the hot seat or to be the observers and guides. At any point a time out could be called, and a discussion follow on how it was going and what to do next. Confronting a coach with an angry complaint is fine in theory but when the actor in front of you is in your face then it exposes and tests your assumptions.

The experience

For some this experience is uncomfortable and revealing. It allows extended discussion about important issues: race, gender, opportunity, power and authority, manipulative behaviours, safeguarding. It also pushes the question back as to who is responsible for taking action. Each session needs careful managing and using professional actors helps. The debrief focuses on specifying behaviours – who did what and what was the so what? Debriefing is such an important part of our learning experience.