Scenario: Self Question

As an Action Learning Team Coach how would you handle the following situation: A member of the team asks you – is it ok if I ask myself a question?

Tags: Action Learning Coach

Trackback from your site.

Comments (10)

  • Avatar

    Catherine Breathnach

    |

    I would think not – should that not be a question the person poses to the group? That sounds to me as if the person wishes to make a statement that is not in response to a question.

    I think I would suggest that they pose the question to the group, this may provide them with the thoughts and opportunity they are seeking?

    Reply

  • Avatar

    Gail Finger

    |

    That’s great. Did that really happen?

    There are lots of reasons someone might do that. One of them might be that the person has a statement they want to make and the only way they can see to make that statement is to ask themselves a question.

    However, even if that is the case, the ground rule is that anyone can ask a question of anyone. Therefore, it is, technically, allowed.

    I think there are two ways to go:
    1. Respond with “Yes, the ground rule is that anyone can ask a question of anyone on the team.” There’s a chance that by hearing him/herself ask the question, he/she might have a different answer than originally planned.
    2. Ask the team: “How would the team like to respond to the team member’s request to ask himself/herself a question.”

    My preferred route would be #2 – to throw it back to the team.

    Reply

  • Avatar

    Larry Voeller

    |

    I would say something like the following:
    The purpose of the ground rule is to create new understanding and new possibilities related to the problem. Good questions are driven by curiosity about the problem. If we start using the groundrule to ask ourselves questions, we may simply be using them as a platform for making statements about the problem. They wouldn’t be curious questions since we already know the answer.
    Who has the next question?

    Reply

  • Avatar

    Philipp Werenfels

    |

    I experienced a similar situation when a member of the group asked a question and gave the answer himself before anybody else was able to reflect and respond. Somehow it was a funny moment.

    It must be frustrating for a person who has all the answers but nobody asks the “right” question. Thus, an easy solution for him/her is to ask the question and answer it him/herself. On the surface, I would be ok if someone else responded before the questioner did allowing some reflection. Nevertheless, there might be underlying causes for this kind of behavior and the group may want to reflect on a couple of questions such as:
    1) “How will asking questions to oneself affect the group’s performance?”
    2) “How do we want to deal with these kinds of behaviors?”
    3) “Do we currently integrate the knowledge, skills, abilities, and expertise from our group members?”
    4) “How can we benefit from the knowledge, skills, abilities, and expertise of our group-members?”

    Reply

  • Avatar

    Erik Mazziotta

    |

    Reflection is an essential part of the Action Learning. I would answer in that context; “Certainly for the sake of stimulating your own reflective process you can ask yourself a question out loud. Then answer it internally for yourself. Remember that surfacing a question to yourself will have impact on the team that may lead to new directions. So keep that impact in mind.” In this way, there is full permission for the individual as well as the team to engage. I might also afterward ask the team what the impact of asking oneself a question out loud had.

    Reply

  • Avatar

    Phil Cohen

    |

    I would respond with the following question?: Do you have a statement that you wish to make once you have asked yourself your own question? If the answer is yes, I would then reply… in order to follow our ground rules, it would be best if you ask the group the question you have in mind. Let us allow the Action Learning process to work. You may find that the group has the same thoughts as you do in response to your question or … the response from the group may be different from your initial thoughts and you may concur with them. On the other hand if the groups’ response is not what you would like to hear then at that point you could ask the group whether they would like to hear your thoughts on this question.

    Reply

  • Dr Bea

    |

    The questions posed in previous comments that turn it back to the group to handle are outstanding.

    At the time this happened I was a fairly new coach and simply responded ‘no’. Upon reflection I would respond with questions to the team – “How curious are we being when we ask ourselves a question?”, followed by “Why is it important that we be curious when trying to solve problems?”

    As an Action Learning Coach your not allowed to make statements – simply ask questions.

    Reply

  • Avatar

    Donna Christophersen

    |

    As a team member (not the coach), I have been in the position of wanting to ask myself a question. I agree it demonstrated a lack of curiosity on my part to want to make a statement instead of ask a question. However, my frustration was also a symptom of the team not tapping into the knowledge available in the room.

    So in addition to Dr. Bea’s questions about curiosity, I might as the team, “How are we doing asking questions of each other?” or “How is our participation?”

    By the way, I eventually figured out that as a team member I could be the one to ask, “Who in the room has experience that would be helpful here?”

    Reply

  • Avatar

    Ross Rowe

    |

    Noting the above, I might have responded by answering ‘ you may ask yourself a question, recalling that anyone can ask questions of anyone in the group or of the group as a whole. Before we continue, what patterns of questioning are you and others in the group observing?’ Followed by ‘ What could the group do better?’ if appropriate. This is basically a group performance intervention. I’d return to group work by asking ‘who has the next question?’ to give the group opportunity to improve its performance without the person actually needing to ask themselves a question. In groups I’ve coached I’ve observed on a couple of occasions that once the issue is highlighted a group member generally asks the person or the group for their experience or insight on the issue – as Donna indicated above.

    Reply

  • Avatar

    FAN CHEN

    |

    I think this situation is not usually appeared, as a coach, when I meet ,I can respond with “Yes, the ground rule is that anyone can ask a question of anyone on the team.”

    Reply

Leave a comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.