Scenario: Closed Question

As an action learning coach, how would you handle the following situation: You are working with a team new to Action Learning. The first questions is a closed question.

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

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Comments (13)

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    Anneke Broekroelofs

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    I would ask the group ‘What is the difference between a closed question and an open-ended question?’ After discussing the difference I would ask the person who asked the first question: ‘Did you intend your question to be a closed question of would you like to rephrase that as an open-ended question?’

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    Alex Hoang

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    I will intervene with the question: “How would you rate the quality of the question? (on a scale of 1 to 10; 1 – poor, 10 – excellent)”. It is not difficult for the team to realize that they are using closed-end questions and rate a low score. And the next question is “What can we do better?”

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    Brittany Hartman

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    I would ask the person asking the question if the question was supposed to be close ended to open ended. If open ended, I would make sure that the question was answered as such. If the closed ended questions continued, I would, at the break as the team the quality of the questions being asked to help them realize the questions being presented could be better if open ended questions were asked.

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      Alicja Pawlaczuk

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      I would let the team keep asking questions and observe, if all questions are closed, I would intervene, with the question ‘team, how are we doing in terms of the quality of questions’, ‘what can we do better in constructing questions?’
      but if the next questions are a mix of open and closed I would leave it to the ‘scheduled intervention’ and discuss ‘what can we do better in posing powerful questions’ and ‘why open questions are important’? only then.

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    Joop van Nierop

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    In my role as Action Learning I will intervene because I see a closed question as an important learning moment at the beginning of the session. Of course I’ll do this in a positive way by raising my hand and telling the group that there is a usefull learning moment direct at the beginning of their session. Then I Iwill ask the group what they noticed to he first question and I’ll give them a minute to rethink and react. If there is a groupmember that noticed the closed character of the question I will ask him or her and the group what closed questions means for the creative proces in the group. If the outcome of the questions and answers brings the group to the conclusion that open-end questions are important for a usefull problem formulation I wil continue. And suggest the group to practice open-end questions in this session.

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    Ulla Willner

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    If this was a clarifying question (due to perhaps not catching what the problem presenter said due to accent or misunderstanding), I might let it slip and wait a little to observe if it is a trend. If just a closed binary question, I would intervene and ask if the person could reframe it as an open question in order to set an early learning example and prevent bad habits.

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    Elisabetta Galli

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    The importance of questions is normally commented at the beginning of the session, but my experience is that asking open questions instead of closed or leading ones is quite difficult for the team members at the beginning at requires a little bit of “trial and error”. In the situation described in the scenario I would lead back the team to the importance of asking open questions and would invite the person to re-verbalize the question in a different way. These “pedagogical” moments are normally very well accepted by the group that can get more and more familiar with the methodology through these reflections.

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    Kristi Alcouffe

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    I would say…”I’m just going to intervene here. (X), how might you turn that closed question into an open question in order to offer the opportunity of an even better answer?”

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    Doreen Wei

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    I would not intervene at once. If the following questions were also closed questions, I would ask the team, “ I observed a number of closed questions. Did anyone else notice that?”“ What’s the impact on the team?”“How do we make sure that we ask open questions?”
    Then, I continued to observe. If someone asked another closed question, I would ask him, “What would you say if you changed that question to an open question?”

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    Vo Huu Loc

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    I will intervene by asking the team: ‘What is the difference between a close-ended question and an open-ended question?’ then “What would happen if our team asking only close-ended questions?” And after the feedback of the team, I will ask the person asking the first question: ‘Did you intend to ask a close-ended question or would you like to paraphrase that to be an open-ended question?’

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    Sheela Chandran

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    I would not intervene so early I let them continue to ask questions as it is part of the learning however if the trend of questions continued to be closed ended then I would intervene by asking the “Team how are we doing as a group in terms of the quality of questions being asked? What types of questions could we ask to gain deeper clarity? Who has the next question?

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    Benjamin Solomon

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    I would say, “That is a very interesting question. How might you open it up some? What might it sound like as an open question? What are some of the advantages to asking open questions?”

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    stephanie parry

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    I would wait to see if it is an isolated instance. If the next question is closed too, I would ask the person if they could rephrase that as an open question. After that I would watch closely the people who have asked closed questions to see if it is their pattern and in the first planned intervention I would make sure that I ask the group what they think about the types of questions they are asking and how they can make their questions as powerful as possible.

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