Scenario: Silent Observer

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

A member of the team decides they know the problem and the solution, so they will sit quietly until everyone else figures it out.

 

Tags: Action Learning Coach, WIAL Action Learning

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Comments (13)

  • Avatar

    Colin Yeow

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    I would intervene and ask the team “Has everyone had a chance to ask a question?”, then “Who has not yet asked a question?”. Finally, “What is the impact on the session if some of us do not ask questions?”. If necessary, a final question “As a team, what should we do in such a situation?”

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    Ada

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    One thing I would do is an intervention reminding the team to practice the leadership competencies and that I will be asking each of them to share how they have been practicing it. This should prompt the silent observer into a more active participation otherwise he will have nothing to share.

    Another thing I will do is when I do the intervention on team performance and consensus on problem, as I go round the table for the team members’ answers and ratings, I will call-out the name of the silent observer first.

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    • Avatar

      Michele

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      I will make an intervention in which i remenber the rules of action learning. I also will invite the member who thinks he know the problem and solution to ask questions to the other members to help them forward in problem solvens.
      I also ask all the members about their leadership skills. In particullary, the member who thinks he knows, so everybkdy can improve and in the hope that this action will break the stiff air of the member who knows

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    mpeters

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    it might be an opportunity to share what you are observing and ask what the impact is on the group.

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    Peter S

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    Considering there is a learning opportunity for the team to learn about participation from everyone and assuming that the team owns the problem, I will do the followings:

    a. Ask the team “how we are doing as a group sofar in terms of participation? (on a scale of 1 to 10 : 1 – low participation from everyone 10 – active participation from everyone). I will go around the table to ask each team member for the rating but not starting or ending with the silent observer.
    b. Ask the team “what could we do better?” or “how we do in other previous situation when everyone participation is valued ?” I will go around the table but not starting or ending with the silent observer.
    c. If the silent observer remains silent, I will ask team “how we will perform as a team if not everyone participates?” I will go around the table but this time round, ending with the silent observer.

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    Popsy Kanagaratnam

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    I would intervene, ask how we’re doing re. participation; what are we doing well, what could we do better – and what is the impact on the whole team?

    It should help.

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  • Avatar

    fabienne

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    I will ask the team ‘what is the impact of person X not participating’, then build on ‘how can X support the team to define the problem and the solution?’

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  • Avatar

    jesslyn.chow

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    I would intervene by asking the team, “What is the participation rate on a scale of 1 to 10?” After they have rated, I will follow with, “How can we make it to a 10?” Also, to remind all by asking, “What’s the ground rules?”

    Then I’ll leave the team to do the necessary intervention.

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  • Avatar

    Faz_Kamaruddin

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    I would also intervene with “What is the participation rate on a scale of 1 to 10?” as suggested by Jesslyn. In addition, I will also ask the team what is the impact of not hearing from everyone on the quality of the solutions that the team is coming up with.
    To guide the group to own the learning and the action, I will close with “As a team, what do we need to do next?” and get the team to continue with the session.

    Reply

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    xyvivien

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    Agree with other AL coaches’ intervention. If participation and engagement level of only one team member keeps very low, it’s time to intervene. Firstly, I’d prefer not focus on that single person, instead, I’d prefer ask the team score their performance from 1 – 10 if this hasn’t been done. If this has been done in the previous intervention, I’d prefer to intervene more direction by asking ‘How do you feel the participation of the group?’ or ‘What we can do different in team participation?’ Then dive deeper on the influence by asking ‘What’s the influence to the team if some team members did not get chance to ask questions?’ or ‘What’s the influence to us as a team if we don’t have a more balanced participation?’ — If this team member keep silent, I still won’t specify the person’s name, I will wait till the feedback on leadership part to see if the rest of the team will bring it out. If the issue keeps unaddressed, I will probably talk to this person after the session with curiosity on his concerns/thoughts etc.

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  • Avatar

    Angela Chen

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    I will intervene by asking questions that require everyone’s inputs such as “How is everyone doing so far? Okay, not okay, great?” At the end of the session, I will ask everyone to evaluate how each member did on the leadership skills that they have chosen to work on. To get the best feedback from the self and others, it is important to participate and ask questions. “Is there anyone that wants to ask the next question?” Then I will check with everyone, “How is the participation level, good or not so good?” and “How can we do better as a team?”

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  • Avatar

    DrBea

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    As coaches we try not to call out an individual but rather call out a behavior. I would start with the standard 3 questions –
    How are we doing as a team on a scale of 1 – 10?
    What are we doing well?
    what can we do better?

    If the participation wasn’t brought to light – I would ask – How is the balance of participation? Why is it important that we hear from everyone? How could we illicit ideas from those we haven’t heard from?

    If this person truly has insight into the problem they could be an extraordinary resource to the team. This could be the perfect opportunity to break the team of bombarding just the problem presenter with question.

    Happy Coaching
    Bea

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    Porntip Jakwichtamrong

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    I would intervene to raise the awareness on the level of participation of the team members. Asking the team to reflect on the balance of the participation of the team members and identifying actions they can take to address it.

    Reply

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