Scenario: Why

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

A participant asks another participant “why they asked a question”. The first participant is visibly disturbed. Your instinct is that they are reacting to the word “why” in that they feel the value of their question is being questioned.

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

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Comments (4)

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    Jonathan Tice

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    As an action learning coach I would pay close attention to this situation as there is a potential it could result in it being detrimental to the group’s learning. However, I would not immediately intervene as perhaps the disturbed participant is showing emotions and will not let it affect his or her performance. Also, possibly the participant is not used to being asked this type of question and it would be best to allow them the time to reflect and answer to potentially achieve a breakthrough solution.

    In any case, I would monitor the situation closely and if it becomes clear this is a disruption or a conflict between two people then I would intervene with the standard intervention. I would ask the group how they feel they are doing and give them an opportunity to reinforce the group norms. I might also consider offering an observation and asking the group what was the impact of this type of behavior. In any case, it is important to act in a humble, but confident manner when adjudicating potential conflict or disruptive behavior.

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    Rachel Wang

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    As an AL coach, I would intervene to have the first participant’s question being properly answered. Then I will check with the other participant whether there is any question regarding the ground rule. If it is a question about the ground rule, I will reinforce it by necessary clarification and/or asking other participants about their opinion. If not, I would tend to monitor the situation (if such “why” question happens again or the 1st participant’s emotion impacting performance) and may use it as a learning opportunity later.

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    Yingting Wu

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    As an action learning coach, I should be aware of and trust my gut feeling in the first place. I will then observe how the first participant takes the question further and what impact it has on the team. If necessary, I will share my observation with the team and ask what they notice and what is the impact on the team. How do they wish to work on it further

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    jitra dudsdeemaytha

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    In this situation, I would wait for seconds observing what is going on, if the ambience was quite tense, fight back, stuck in silence mode, I would immediately intervene “How do you feel with the atmosphere of the group?” after they shared all their opinions in variety ways such as tense, mediocre, boring. I would repeat their words and ask “What kind of atmosphere do you think would help us in learning and finding the solution?” or “What kind of power questions we should ask? I would like you to write down one question on your own paper that will help group to learn more and will help PP find the action plan for his/her session today?”

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