Scenario: Powerful Question

As an action learning coach, how would you handle the following situation: Someone asks a question that changes the depth and understanding of the true nature of the problem.

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

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Comments (27)

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    Joop van Nierop

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    In what stage is the discussion? How you already can know that a question goes beyond the depth and significance of the problem.
    But when you notice that the group experiences this, you at first can ask the person asking the question to formulate his / her question again.

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    Savath Kuch

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    As an action learning coach, I would intervene by asking the team what they think of the problem. I would ask what’s going well and what can be improved regarding the depth and understanding of the true nature of the problem. With this information and realization, I would let the team proceed.

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    Tomasz Pachoł

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    1. I wouldn’t like to interrupt group and stop it from benefiting from this useful question.
    2. During the summing up I would talk with the group What did this question do to them?
    What was unusual about this question that made such an impression. What would they need to ask this kind of questions.
    3. I would do intervention to to make the group realize how effective these kind of questions are.

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    Savin Oeun

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    Being as coach, I would intervene by asking “how can we do for deeper understand of nature of the problem?

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    Hua(Grace) Pan

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    In action learning, I believe in two things. 1)No question is stupid;2)The group has its wisdom. Under these believes, I would hold my judgement on this specific question. I would observe closely the discussion flow and then cut in with group reflection. There will several opportunities I can check on the impact of such a question during the group reflection. E.g., participants may bring it up about the impact of such a question by their own. Participants will be asked to write down the true problem statement in their mind, which can verify the impact of this question. Or I can offer my observation about what happened, and ask for their evaluation on the impact and ask for their suggestions.

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    Alberto

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    After the team has answered fully to the question without interruption, I would ask: “What has changed about our understanding of the nature of the problem ? – wait for answers – “What made this possible?” – wait for answers – “What have we learned about the quality of our questions?” – wait for answers –

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    Justyna Truchel

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    I would refrain from making any judgements whether or not the group is going in the „right” direction. I would give the group some time and I would trust the group process. The right questions and the right answers should come with time.
    If after some time (e.g. I have only 30 min until the end of the session) I noticed that the group instead of getting closer, is getting away from generating solutions directly supporting PP in his/her problem, I would intervene.
    I would ask PP if there is anything he/she needs from the group.
    In my opinion PP is the only person who can tell the group if his/her problem has been understood correctly. That means that PP can tell the group „I need more/less…”, „I’m looking for…”, „I’m interesed in solutions from the area of…”. And my role as an AL coach is to give PP an opportunity to ask the group for that.

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    Arlene McComie

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    As the AL Coach, I would allow the other members to respond to the question. I would intervene if I recognize that members of the team did not understand the significance of the question. I would ask the group “how the last question impacted their understanding of the problem?”. Then I would ask “if there was still consensus on the problem”. I will determine this by taking a poll. If there is consensus on the true nature of the problem, I would then ask, “who has the next question”. If there is no consensus, I would ask the member to take a minute to re-frame the problem in their own words. Once there is agreement, as the coach I would allow the group to continue the process through questioning. At the end of the session, I would also use this event as a learning opportunity of the impact of powerful questions on clarifying the problem and opening opportunities for creative solutions.

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    Kamila Sobel

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    As an action learning coach , I would make a process interventions.
    I would ask the sequence of questions – What?, So What?, Now what? – which can be useful in this situations obviously observable behaviors: what’s theirs opinion on this powerful question

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      Kamila Sobel

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      Being more detailed:
      Me as a Coach I would say as a process interventions. : “I’ve observed that Mr X asked a question . Did anyone else notice that?” (WHAT?)
      I assume answer “Yes.”
      Me as a Coach: “What’s the impact on the problem of this question?” (SO WHAT?)
      – answer of the group
      Me as a Coach: “How do we want to handle with it during our time together?” (NOW WHAT?)

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    jacinta Bailey-Sobers

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    I will allow the team members to respond to the question and to determine on their own accord whether the question is indeed of little or no relevance to the problem and at some strategic point, I will ask, ‘do team members believe that this question is helping toward a solution? If so, how?

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    Jinghui Gao

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    This is a powerful and good question, which has changed the depth and understanding of the question, and can trigger everyone’s thinking. In order to make learning and thinking happen and flow naturally without interruption, I will immediately record this question and everyone’s answers and reactions. In the later stage summary part, I will ask the member “what was the initiative purpose when you asked XXX just now?” I will also ask the team, “just XX asked a powerful question and changed the understanding and depth of the original question. This is a good example of asking questions. Have you seen? and what we have learned?”

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    Angela May

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    I would allow the team to respond to the question, and then try to determine if it has true meaning to discovering the problem/ issue. If it doesn’t , the I would follow up with asking: “What’s the impact of this question in regards to the problem?” Then follow up with asking: “Group, How would you like to handle this question in regards to our time with the current problem?” Then allow the group to either put the question on a side note and continue on asking questions regarding the current problem given. Or continue on asking questions regarding the current situation.

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    Mon Wong

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    Only if the group seems to have extra time and if they appear to be working well towards problem/goal/action plan will I intervene after the powerful question.

    If there is not enough time, I will bring the learning into the reflection portion of the process by asking “Team, I observed that the team got really excited and engaged when X asked {this question}. Did you notice that as well?” After a round of yes/no, “If you were to reflect on what happened to the group, what is (1) word you would use to describe that moment? What had to have happened for that to be possible? What can we as a team do to replicate that again?”

    “What are we learning about the impact of powerful questions? What learnings can you take back and apply back at the workplace or in your lives?”

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    Mario Paiva

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    So that we can stay focused, how does the group see the relationship of this question to the nature of the problem? What is the impact of asking questions that are not aligned with the problem posed?

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    Beata Pluta

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    If the group notices the importance of this question and follow a new perspective, I will write this topic for discussion during the reflection session. If the group fails to recognize the importance of this question, I will pay attention to them during intervention: how does this question change perspective? How important is this question for seeing the problem?

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    Rachel Goodwin

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    I would allow the group to respond to the question and I would note the question down so that I could refer to it at the end of the session when giving feedback so that we could reflect on the impact of the question. I would then intervene to check on agreement of the problem to explore if the question had impacted people’s understanding of the problem. I would also ask people to comment on the performance of the group and hope that someone would comment on the powerful question so that we could explore the impact and benefit of that type of questioning.

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    abdi dharma saragih

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    As a coach I would convey the following question:
    “Team what is happening right now?
    Then continue asking “What could we do better?”

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    YUE TAN

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    I won’t intervene at that moment, I’ll leave it to the reflection section and say,”How was the quality of the question from B just now?” With the feedback from the team, I’d say, “Let ’s take a look at how this question is organized?” Repeat the question, then ask :” What’s the effect of this question in triggering our discussion today? “, “Let’s deconstruct this question and see how this question makes it happen? “,” We can also ask B to share that how he conceived this question? “” Are there anything for us to learn from? ” Let the team to learn the questioning skills together.

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    YUE TAN

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    YUE TAN:I won’t intervene at that moment, I’ll leave it to the reflection section and say, “How was the quality of the question from B just now?” With the feedback from the team, I’d say, “Let ’s take a look at how this question is organized?” Repeat the question, then ask ” What’s the effect of this question in triggering our discussion today? “, “Let’s deconstruct this question and see how this question makes it happen? “,” We can also ask B to share that how he conceived this question? “” Are there anything for us to learn from? ” Let the team to learn the questioning skills together.

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      Alicja Pawlaczuk

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      I would immediately write it down and observe the team addressing this question. During the reflection part, I would ask the team whether they remember any powerful questions from the session (hopefully sb comes up with it, if not I would present as an example). I would ask the team why do they think it was a powerful question, what impact on the understanding of the problem, on the Problem Presenter and the individual members it had.

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    Yanbo Hu

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    I’ll ask the team for a while to see if the question changes the team’s understanding of the problem, and then I’ll pause for a re-post on the issue that the PP wants to solve, and let the team rethink what the problem is and agree on the problem. Regularly, I get the team to focus on this high-quality question again and ask them how could they ask the high-quality questions.

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    Yanbo Hu

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    I would ask the team:
    Let’s pause first. Where do you think the main good points are? What lessons can we continue to use in the questions that follow?

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      Yanbo Hu

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      Sorry, this talk is for curious questions.

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    Celine Sugay

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    First, I will let the team members answer the question and explore where the question might take them. I will also weigh the potential of the learning opportunity and if an immediate intervention is needed.

    Given this scenario and the following assumptions are true: (a) the team had previously reached a consensus to the problem; (b) this powerful question seems to have redirected the team’s focus; (c) not all team members seem to be on the same page; and (d) there is enough time for the intervention to have an impact; then one way I will intervene is by saying “It seems there is a shift in the focus of some team members. Did you observe the same?” I will then give the team members the opportunity to answer yes or no. I will then ask them “What might be the impact of this to the group if some team members are focused on one thing while others are focused on something else?” I will end the intervention by asking them how they would like to proceed.

    Whether or not an immediate intervention was done, I will include this learning opportunity in the reflections part. I will ask the team questions like “Were there any good questions asked? What were they? What impact did that specific question have on the team? What can we learn about the power of asking questions? Given this powerful question that the team experienced, what learning do you have that you can apply at work or in your personal lives?”

    In the instance that the team did not pick up on this powerful question, I will include it in the reflections part by saying “I noticed the team’s focus shifted when a specific question was asked. Did you observe that too? What was the question that initiated that shift? What impact did that have on the team? What learning do you have about asking questions that you can apply at work and in your personal lives?”.

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    Phi Angelina

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    My role as the AL coach was to create an opportunity for PP to ask that group. I will not make any judgment even knowing the question has diverted the group. I will give the team some time to follow the procedure, and after 10-15 minutes ask the following questions:

    1. Do we understand the problem of PP?
    2. Can everyone write down the problem of PP and read it aloud?
    3. Does PP confirm where is your problem? Please read your problem to the team again.
    4. How do you feel, we have understood the problem of PP to find the solution together?
    5. Please continue the discussion according to the correct process after realizing the correct problem of the PP.

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    Nidhipon Tritiptawin

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    When someone asks a question that changes the depth and understanding of the true nature of the problem, as an action learning coach, I will take note of that question and let the flow continues without an intervention. I would like to see how the question will wake up the team to get toward the real problem. I will observe closely how each and every member reacts to the shift of atmosphere.

    Then, at the end of the session, in the learning reflection part, I will ask, “Are there any good question asked?” If no one mention about that question, I will bring that question back to the table. I will ask, “How did this question change the depth and understanding of the true nature of the problem?” and will let them share their views. I will ask them “What have we learned about the power of questions?” Their answers to those question will be their true learning. I will have my observations from the group, both individually and as a team, with clear examples ready, and will add them only if they had not been identified by any team member,

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