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Desert Highway
Thoughtful writing authored and shared by members of of the Thinking Collaborative community to support others on the journey.

Sustaining the Journey

Beginning to Understand & Embrace the Principles & Tenets of Adaptive Schools (Part 2)

Authored By:

Thinking Collaborative


November 13, 2017

In October, Sustaining the Journey addressed some typical first questions asked as participants learn the power of Cognitive CoachingSM. This month, we address a few of the typical questions that are asked as participants begin to understand and embrace the principles and tenets of Adaptive Schools.

What do I do about an overbearing group member?

A guiding principle for working with others is always to presume positive intent. This requires us to try to set aside our reactions to the group member and move to assessing, nonjudgmentally, what might be going on for the group member. It is often helpful to ask oneself the question, “What might cause me to behave this way in a group?” When we can look inward, we can usually recall a time when we may have behaved in such a way for a variety of reasons, e.g., unmet needs, high emotion, feeling unheard, having a personal concern, etc.

Once we take a “high road,” it frees us to let go of emotional negativity and to move to inquiry with the person. A direct communication with the person with an intention to understand is a resourceful approach. Sometimes we suggest, “Don’t get furious, get curious”. An open-ended question that seeks to understand is an effective approach. Examples include, “What are your thoughts and feelings about our work,” What are some of your noticings about our group,” or, “How might we work together to increase our group’s effectiveness?” Following the response, the most effective way to build trust is to paraphrase with an intention to truly honor the person’s thoughts and to try to understand.

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