Scenario: Process

As an action learning coach, how would you handle the following situation: The team is having trouble coming to consensus. You’ve asked what would help them come to consensus – they say ask more questions and immediately start asking questions before you have closed out the learning.

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

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Comments (7)

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    Monika Kantowicz-Gdanska

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    I would intervene saying “Before we continue – let’s consider the way we used the questions so far. Were the questions already asked helpful? Which of them were and which weren’t? What kind of questions will help us come to consensus? What else will be crucial to be able to reach consensus? What should be focus on from now on to be able to proceed?

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      Joop van Nierop

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      I choose not to block the spontaneous continuation of asking questions. After all, the team shows that the involvement in the issue is high. I let the discussion go for another 5 minutes. If there is no consensus or no consensus on how to deal with the problem that has been raised, I will opt for intervention with the following questions. Why don’t we get consensus? What types of questions do we need to bring us closer to solutions?

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    Joop van Nierop

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    I choose not to block the spontaneous continuation of asking questions. After all, the team shows that the involvement in the issue is high. I let the discussion go for another 5 minutes. If there is no consensus or no consensus on how to deal with the problem that has been raised, I will opt for intervention with the following questions. Why don’t we get consensus? What types of questions do we need to bring us closer to solutions?

    Reply

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    Angeline Yong

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    I would intervene by asking, “Team, before we continue, I noticed a pattern to the questions we have been asking.
    Did anyone notice the pattern of questioning in the last x minutes?
    (they may say, yes and give examples or no. If they say no, I would share my observation, eg. closed ended questions etc)

    On a scale of 1-10 (high), how effective is this pattern of questioning in helping us get consensus ?
    (they may say 3,4, 5 etc…)

    How will this impact our ability to come to consensus if this pattern of questioning continues?

    What changes can we make to the questions we ask in the next 5 minutes to help us get consensus?”

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    Jeremy Gwee

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    I would intervene and ask the team, “on a scale of 1-10 how would you rate the group as coming close to a consensus.?” This is to draw their attention to the situation. Then I will ask “How will the quality of the solution be impacted?” This is to trigger the urgency to get their act together. Then I will ask “What can the team do to improve group’s performance on the scale?”

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    Nidhipon Tritiptawin

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    If it is clear to me that they are having trouble coming to consensus because we have tried many times but a real problem has not yet been agreed upon or even got closer to and they start to ask more questions, and if it is a matter of questions, I will intervene immediately by saying, “Hold on team, we have already asked a lot of questions so far, how asking ‘more’ questions will help us to get closer to consensus?” They may say that them will have more information about the problem. Then I will ask, “Okay, thinking about the pattern of questions we had already asked, what kind of questions that we can do better to bring us closer to a real problem?” They may share their views and I will allow them to do so for another 5-10 minutes before asking them to write down what they think the real problem is.

    If a consensus has yet to be reached again, probably not because of the quality of the questions, I may opt to use other technique such as using post-it to write key words of the real problem and to see how can the team agree with words on the post-its.

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    Patrick Kok

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    I would intervene and check “Hold on. How is the quality of the questions?” and add “Will asking more questions get you closer to a solution? Yes, No or Quite Close” If they all answer either “Yes or Quite Close”, I’ll restart with “Team you have another 5 minutes to ask questions. Who has the next question?”

    But if there is a “No” from 1 team member, I’ll ask the team “Team there is a NO, what should we do here?” Let the team extract a learning from the quality of the questioning. This will allow the team to relook at the quality of their question. Probe them “Team, what are the type of questions we need ask to help shape solutions for the problem presenter?” Give them 2 minutes to write down 1 quality question each that they should ask.

    After a short pause, I’ll restart with “Team you have another 5 minutes to ask questions. Who has the next question?”

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