Scenario: One on One

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

A single team member is asking all the questions of the problem presenter, the remainder sitting back observing.

Tags: Action Leaning, Action Learning Coach, WIAL, WIAL Action Learning, WIAL Talk

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Comments (11)

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    Donellen Schlosser

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    I would take the opportunity during a check-in to ask “How are we doing as a group in balancing the questioning among all members?” or “How are we doing as a group with balancing participation?” You may have to take the pulse of the group to see if they are simply not participating, don’t feel comfortable breaking in, or are processing the information and may need a bit more time to ask questions.

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    Lenor Baptiste-Simmons

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    At the first standard intervention (8-12 minutes into the session), as the coach, I will intervene and ask each participant “on a sca.e of 1-10, how do you feel we are doing as a group thus far?” Then ask the group “what are we doing well? Anything else? , “what could we do bettrer? Anything else?

    Finally, i would ask the group to respond to the following process question: “what is the balance of participation.”

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    Michelle Lim

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    As Coach, I would ask the Team their observations of all team members’ body language, followed by a scaling question that requires them to rate on a scale of 1-10 the level of participation within the Team (1 very low, 10 fully engaged). With their observation and input, assuming they observe only one active team member and level of participation is low, I would ask them what the impact on the team is if this is allowed to continue.

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    Emmanuel Ossom

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    Having noticed that only one team member is asking all the questions of the problem presenter, i will intervene with a number of questions with the aim to ensure that at least every team member participates as much as possible. The first question would be: “How is the balance of participation?” The next question would be a scale type question: “What would be your rating on a scale of 1-10 (where 1 is the least participation, and 10 is the highest participation) of your participation in asking questions of the presenter?” These questions will alert them that the asking of questions of the problem presenter is tilted towards one team member. It will certainly awaken the rest to rise up to their responsibility as team members to ask questions too. They would certainly respond to these questions by getting actively involved in asking the right questions as they would have noticed that asking divergent questions by all of them is necessary to unravel the real problem in the problem statement presented . Asking many right questions by all team members is the fastest and surest way to understand the problem statement presented and to quickly define what the real problem is. This will stimulate the “sense of ownership” of attaching a sense of urgency of defining the real problem and also to act on it. There is a risk of wrongly defining the real problem if other team members wouldn’t be asking questions of the problem presenter as expected of them. That would mean the subsequent actions too on the wrongly defined real problem would be wrong and that would eventually mean that the real problem of the problem presenter would be left undefined and unsolved. If others too wouldn’t be asking questions, there is also the risk that at the end of the session, consensus wouldn’t be reached and that would mean the time spent on the session has been a waste. Thus, moreover, not asking question would mean no generation of creative insights into the problem, lack of focus and productivity, and the rest of the team members wouldn’t develop their leadership skills for other challenges they may face on the job or other problems they may have to define and solve.

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    Rachael Olivier

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    Response:
    As a coach, I would perform a check in after I’ve observed the occurrence. During this check in I would ask the group: “How do you feel you are doing as a group on a scale of 1-10?”. Upon their response, I would ask, “What can be improved?”. In addition, I would ask: “What are your thoughts or how do you feel about the balance of questions asked within the group?”

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    Yingting Wu

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    In this situation, as an action learning coach, I could ask the team the following questions:
    “How are we doing in terms of equal participation?”
    “How are we doing in the balance of questioning and answering?”
    “I notice one single member is asking all the questions of the problem presenter. What is the impact on the team? ” And ask what the team would like to do about it.

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    Mackenzie Farrell

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    In a group, diversity of thought and varying viewpoints are helpful in learning and skill development and ultimately to finding the root problem and offering solutions. As the coach, I would ask the group “what is the balance of who’s asking and who’s answering”, to help them recognize who is/ isn’t speaking. Another great way of opening up the conversation to others, would be to ask the questioner “can that question be directed towards the group?”.

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    Simone Gutwilen

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    At the time of the intervention I would ask to each participant: How do you feel we are acting as a group so far, on a scale of 1-10? Then ask the group: What are we doing well? What can we do better? After that I would ask the deep question: How is the balance of participation?

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    Ana Motta

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    One of the roles of the Action Learning Coach is to ensure improvement in group performance and to assist in the development of leadership skills. This way I can intervene at any moment with these two great goals. I would make an intervention: “Do you remember the first rule of action learning?” Or “What does the first rule of action learning?”. I understand that in this way the group can reflect on the participation of each one. I can also ask questions that focus on how much each one is practicing the competence that said they would like to work (from 1 to 10, being 1 little practice and 10 very practical), because depending on what each participant chose as competence that wants to work, he can give greater focus if I participate by asking questions then the last question that I would ask can generate several reflections of how much the member is participating and the group can evaluate how much they are in balance with respect to the participation of all. Another question I can ask is “How is the balance between who asks and who answers questions?”

    It is worth mentioning that there is already the moment of the first intervention with 10 minutes of rerunion where the Action Learning Coach asks and each responds: “How do you feel we are working as a group so far, on a scale of 1 to 10? What are we doing well? What can we do better? Anything else?”. In this way, this moment is already a milestone for the group to reflect on the balance of participation and to reflect individually on their participation. Of course we will not just wait for this moment to ask questions that promote the group’s performance but at the moment it is more a reinforcement and a time for these reflections and to think about possibilities of improvement of the group’s performance from then on.

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    fatima dias

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    When this happens I believe the best the Coach can do is to intervene as following:
    – We have been working for xx minutes. How do you feel we are doing as a group? from 1 to 10. Ask each one.
    – What are we doing well?
    – What we could do better?
    – Why is it important to have all the group asking questions?
    Ok, who has the next question?

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    Renata Gripp

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    In my experience it has worked well to ask the group “how is the balance of the questions in the group from 1 to 10”. with the sequence of the question: “And what we can do better as a group to help the presenter of the problem to deepen in understanding the problem.”
    They can perceive the imbalance and adjust the distribution of the questions.

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