Scenario: Body Language

As an action learning coach, how would you handle the following situation: Several team members are sitting with their arms folded across their chest.

Tags: Action Learning, ActionLearning Coach, Team Coach, WIAL, WIAL Action Learning, WIAL Talk

Comments (19)

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    Cassie Gibbons

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    I would ask the following questions:
    How does nonverbal communication influence our ability to work as a team?
    How might it influence balance of participation?
    What body language represents curiosity and engagement?

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    M Meulesteen-Kuipers

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    I would ask how the group thinks we are doing. I would appoint what I observed and ask if the group did also. What do we think about it? What do we know about body language and what do we need in this session? What do we feel when we see someone with their arms folded across their chest?

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    Karan Kathuria

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    I would first ask the group how we are doing as a team and if there is anything that we could do differently/better. If a participant points out body language as an improvement area, I would ask how can we improve that.
    If no one points out body language as an improvement area, I would ask the group impact of non-verbal communication/body language on the group’s ability to come up with constructive solutions.

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    Pei Zheng

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    I will say: “I observed several members were sitting with arms folded across chest. What do we feel when we see this body language? What does it impact our teamwork? What should we do to provide more positive impact to our team?”

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    Mario Paiva

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    I Noted that most people not are totally comfortable in participation, anyone else observed? What is the impact of this? How does the group want to deal with it?

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    Roxette Lam

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    I intervened by asking questions:
    – According to Team, on a scale of 1 – 10 of the level of actively participating in the session, which number are we?
    – How to increase the active participation level of members?
    – In your opinion, what role does body languages play in group interaction?
    – What are the signs of positive body languages?
    – What is the impact of non – positive body languages for the group discussion?
    – What do we do next?

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    Lai Yin Yong

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    I will ask first ” Team, how are we doing as a group so far on a scale of 1-10?” “Is there area that we could do better?’ ” If the team could not relate to body languages area, then I would further ask more specific question” Team, what sort of positive body language do we observed?” What are the sign of non- positive body launguage?” ” What is the team consenses for today’s session?’

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    Izabela Maciejewska

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    I would watch the group work. I would not intervene if the work were effective.

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    Ulla Willner

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    If the discussing during the moment was functioning well, I would save my observations until next intervention. If I however would note that it was impacting the discussion and atmosphere negatively, I would intervene directly. When raising the topic, I would first ask the group feedback on how they felt they were doing on a scale from 1-10. I would also ask them if they had made any observations with regards to non-verbal communication and/or atmosphere. Depending on their responses, I would ask about how it was impacting.

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    Elisabetta Galli

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    I would intervene sharing my observation about the body language of the group (several members with crossed arms) asking the group what this may mean in this situation. This may trigger a good “pedagogical” moment on the importance of body language in general and in the specific situation of an AL session.
    I may invite the team to vote in a scale of 1-10 how we are doing as a group. Then to verbalize what we are doing best or we could do better.
    This may unblock the team members showing discomfort with their body language

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    Elisabetta Galli

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    I would intervene sharing my observation about the body language of the group (several members with crossed arms) asking the group what this may mean in this situation.
    I may invite the team to vote in a scale of 1-10 how we are doing as a group. Then to verbalize what we are doing best or we could do better.
    This may unblock the team members showing discomfort with their body language

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    Shirley Loh

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    I would ask :
    -Team did you notice some of us are not actively participating in the session ?
    – Team how can we increase the active participation as a group ?
    I will ask the problem presenter to rephrase the problem again so that everyone understood the situation since the non participation may be because the problem is not properly understood by the group.

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    Huong Doan Kim

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    As a Coach, I will intervene by saying “I saw team members sitting with your arms folded across. How does it affect the Leadership of our team?” After their answer, I continue to ask “How should we do to show our activeness ?”

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    Maura Muller

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    I would raise the situation to awareness, but without judgement. (Perhaps it is simply too cold in the room.) I would intervene by saying, “I’ve observed some interesting body language in the room , has anyone else noticed anything about our team’s body language?”
    Then let them become aware. Next ask, “What impact might this have on our group?” Depending on the responses, I would probably follow with, “What would we like to do about this?” After discussion I might ask, “Who has the next question?”

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    Ewan van Meer

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    After working for 8 to 15 minutes, I ask the group how the conversation is going. What goes well and what could be better? If the attitude of different people does not come up, I would ask the group to also judge themselves on the non-verbal communication / attitude. Then it becomes visible whether it is perceived as disturbing or not. If it is perceived as disturbing, the question follows what kind of attitude is desirable. If it is not perceived as disturbing, you can indicate how the attitude of several participants form me as an AL coach comes across and ask the group confirmation if I should not take it that way.

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    Katia Gaspar

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    i would watch the group work. I would not intervene if the work were effective. I would intervence if the work weren´t effective asking the group how are they confortable? If anyone is unconfortable, and nedd to ask anything to feel confortable? If yhey think anyone is unconfortable?

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    Elodie Schwartz

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    I would do two different interventions depending on how I read the situation. Are the participants who have their arms folded engaged in the discussion? If no, I would ask the group how they think they are doing as a group. If they recognize the issue, I would just build on it to ask them what is the impact of not being engaged and hearing everyone’s voice and what can we do?
    If the participants folding their arms are engaged, I would probably make an observation about observing some frustration. And to understand where that frustration comes from, I would ask the group how we could decrease the frustration. This is were I would try to pull these participants in to understand where it comes from and how the group can be doing better. I would only make a direct observation of their or someone’s body language if none of my interventions worked. I think that by putting them on the spot, the risk is that shut down completely while understanding the reason of it or what they need to be fully engaged. The root cause might be the behaviour or something that was said which needs to be uncovered.

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    David Rude

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    As a coach, it is important to continually take the team and room “temperature.” When non-verbal cues like folded arms are detected, it could be the classic sign of defensiveness, frustration, and the like. Regardless of how I as the coach may interpret the folded arms, I should intervene and ask each team member, “How are we feeling at this time?” “What could we be doing better to have a healthy outlook on our discussions?” Give emotions their due by acknowledging there could be an emotional undercurrent obstructing healthy team dynamics.

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    张 琴琴

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    I will intervene and indicate what I have noticed, “I noticed that during the discussion, some members were sitting with arms folded across their chest or leaning on the backs of chairs, far away from the conference table. What do you think of the feeling caused to others by such body language? What can we do next to achieve some more positive impact to the team?” In this way, everyone can be aware of the status of other members and thus get involved in the discussion to secure the discussion quality.

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