Scenario: Obvious Question

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

Listening to the team you realize an obvious question they are missing. If they would just ask “blah blah blah” the true nature of the problem would become clear to everyone.

Tags: Action Learning Coach, WIAL Action Learning

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Comments (11)

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    Craig Senecal

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    During an intervention, you might ask: “How are we doing with our questions?” “What kinds of questions might get us better answers?” “How could the group benefit from asking questions around X(topic)?”
    This is a wild guess…I’m dying to know the possible answers!

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    H.Atilgan

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    We have now worked 10 minutes, how do you think that the group is doing what we do well and what could be better.

    Reply

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    Gretchen Smith

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    I would start with the standard 3 questions, and if the group is really close to the pertinent question I’d probably ask How does the group feel about the topics we’re asking about? What other topics could we ask questions about? and see if the group gets there on their own. If I don’t think they are anywhere near to topic, I’d be more direct, and ask, How would it affect the group, if we started asking questions about BLANK topic.

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    PeterKao

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    In this case, best is that someone in the team realizes the missing part and says it or he asks “Have we thoroughly understood the problem?” If nobody in the team realizes, I will have to intervene by having everyone state their understanding of the problem which will probably get the missing part exposed.

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    Tomasz Janiak

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    I would say: I have observed that noone has asked about…..Has anyone alse noticed that? What would the impact be of touching upon this topic? How do we want to proceed?”

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    • Avatar

      Tomasz Janiak

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      Alternatively I would say: “How are we doing asking about all possible aspects of the problem? What have we not asked about? How do we want to proceed” (I actually like this better than my previous reply 🙂

      Reply

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    andrewleetk

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    I would ask the team “Team, do you think we have explored all options?” and then direct a question to the problem presenter “Is the team helping you with your problem? and “What would you like to ask the team or anyone so that you and your team can have a better clarity of the problem?”

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    Andre Phillip

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    I will intervene by asking “What is the quality of our questions?” followed-up by “How can we improve the quality of our questions?” allowing the team to continue working with the reflections on their questioning. After an adequate amount of time, if the necessary question haven’t been asked (problem remains unclear), I will again intervene by seeking to more directly focus the questioning of the team by noting that “I have observed that no questions were asked about ‘blah’… “Do you’ll think it will help the team to better understand the problem if we asked questions about ‘blah’?” assuming positive feedback, I will ask “Who has the next question?”

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    DrBea

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    This is a trick scenario. It is not for us as coach to determine what is and is not pertinent to the problem.

    That said it is always useful to ask the 3 standard questions, questions about the quality of our questions, and questions about exploring all aspects.

    Happy coaching
    Bea

    Reply

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    John Nguyen

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    As AL coach, I should understand the role of coach is helping team learn as well as help PP solve the problem. So in this case, I need to observe and analyze what make them don’t touch to the necessary questions to ask. I need to do the self check “What’s the team focusing to ask now and why?”. If there is the learning opportunity, I can decide to intervene and ask them check the quality of their questions (from 1-10), ask them “What your questions focus to?”… to help team build awareness and moving forward.

    Reply

  • Avatar

    ina.b.teves

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    The coach’s role is to help the team learn to solve the problem and ask more effective questions. It is not his job to solve the team’s problem. Hence, I would start by asking the team: “how are we doing as far as discovering the true nature of the problem, on a scale of 1-10?” I would then ask each to write down the problem definition. I would ask them if they believed they had a consensus.

    If, on the one hand, they say they do have a consensus — even if I felt that it was not the real problem — I would ask them to come up with an agreed definition of the problem. After which, they could proceed to problem solving. If it were not the real problem, they would discover it at this phase, or post session, while implementing their action plans. I would be firm about asking for a second session after the implementation of actions to gather team learnings.

    If, on the other hand, they believe they did not have a consensus, I would go through the process of asking what could we do better or differently so that we could achieve a consensus. Usually, they would answer either ask more questions or ask a different set of questions. If the former, I would then have the opening to ask, what questions should we be asking more of? If the latter, I would ask, what questions would be different from the ones we have already offered?

    As a coach, we should keep our monitor whether we are verbally or non-verbally leading the team to what WE want. When we do this, they will learn that our approval becomes their standard. They will start looking at us instead of the problem.

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