Scenario: Emotional moment

As an action learning coach, how would you handle the following situation: In attempting to respond to a question the participant starts to cry.

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

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Comments (6)

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    Min Zhao

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    I would count 1, 2, 3 seconds silently to see whether anyone in the team would respond to the situation. If not, I would say, “Team, what is happening now? What shall we do when one team member gets upset?” and believe in the wisdom of the team to solve the issue. Chances are someone is going to say something. It is always team’s responsibility to decide whether they want to spend more time on this or they want to move on.

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    Paulina Gucka

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    First, seeing what happens (usually it’s visible someone is in emotional moment before this person starts to cry) I would stop the group saying: “Let’s stop for a moment.” with a very calm tone of voice. Than I would say directly to the person that started to cry (still calm and softly) : “It’s fine what happens, it’s ok. Take your time. It’s natural.” and I let the person to go through emotions staying calm, silent and stopping the team from intervening. When the crucial moment of strong emotion is over I ask person crying: “What do you need now in the situation?” and I follow the need. Very often the break for the whole team is needed at this point to lower down emotions on the crying person’s side and team’s side.

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    Anni Townend

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    As an action learning coach I would ‘allow’ silence’ and the participant to cry. Depending on the stage of the group’s, or team’s development I would hope (and trust) that one of the team would at an appropriate, sensitive moment ask an open question of the participant. If this did not happen then as the action learning coach I would ask an open question that would let the person know that their tears had been seen and heard. I might, if the person appears to be moving through their emotion, and only if right, gently ask the group, team what is the question being asked to help the group re-focus on the question and the person to respond with a statement, or to ask a question. I can also imagine when we get to the question What are we doing well? And What can we do even better? that this expression of emotion would be mentioned, and if not I would ask ‘Anything else?’

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    Bert van Veldhuizen

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    When this happens, something really happens. The group touches something that causes an emotion within the group. I hope the group will pick it up and ask further in the right tone and at the right time. With sufficient empathy for the participant and in openness and sincerity.
    If there is no reaction from the group, then I will put the question in the group, what does it do to the group that someone gets emotional? That way, everyone can respond, including the participant showing the emotion. My role is that it remains safe for everyone to deal with this in their own way, with respect for others and for themselves.

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    Tuyen Van

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    As a coach, I would like to ask the team what they should do in that situation?
    – If the team suggest that they want to continue the session and they want that member to try to response. As a coach, I may ask that member some following questions: “ What make you so emotional”, or “how team can help you to over come your feeling now?”
    – If the team suggest to break some minutes, I will let the team break in a short specific time and then we continue with the session. Some follow up questions may be asked to cried member “ How do you feel now?” or “ How the team can help you to overcome the emotional feeling”

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    QUYNH LETHIBAO

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    I let team break about 30-45 seconds to that member who is cying express his or her emotion. While this time I be observing him or her so to measure how his or her emotion is. After that I will ask the other members of team: “Hello team, with situation happens, what can we do to help him or her over come this emotion?” and “If this question is made for you, how do you do?

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