How to respond to an ongoing situation?

CEGOS ©2007 Page 1 of 2

Here are three questions we invite you to ask yourself before responding
to any delicate situation that may arise:
Quest i on 1: What hypot hes es expl ai n t he s i t uat i on?
On a sociological or institutional level: For example, the stakes in terms of the context, the set
of actors, the professional roles of the players, etc.
On a psychological level: Group dynamics, inter-personal relationships, etc.
On a personal level: Attitude, emotions, stance of one or other person.
Quest i on 2: To what ex t ent have I c ont r i but ed t o t hi s t ense s i t uat i on? As a
t r ai ner , how have I s t ar t ed or al l owed t hi s t ens i on t o devel op?
For example:
Did I set out a clear framework for the training? Objectives, methods.
Did I adapt my methods to my audience?
Was I sensitive to the flow of attentiveness / energy of the group (or individuals)?
Was I sensitive to group development - welcome, mutual introduction, exploration of roles,
Did I allow each individual to have their say and be recognised?
Did I include and respect each individual in the opinions I supported?
Did my teaching approach alternate methods?
Quest i on 3: Obj ec t i vel y, i s t hi s s i t uat i on hol di ng bac k t he gr oup’ s pr ogr es s ,
or i s i t j ust har mi ng me as a per s on?
This is a very important question:
If the situation harms the work or progress of the group, the trainer must intervene.
It the situation is harming primarily or really only the trainer, it's in the trainer's interest not to
Handling tricky training situations

CEGOS ©2007

Page 2 of 2

Here are three suggestions for solutions that you can implement when
faced with delicate situations:
Sol ut i on 1: ‘ Aï ki do’ or ‘ k nowi ng how t o us e t he ot her ’ s f or c e’
Aïkido consists of using the other person’s force instead of resisting it, so you can turn it to your own
For example: You’re annoyed that one participant is very particular and keeps looking at his watch,
etc. You can use his ‘need’ to be punctilious: Suggest to him that he becomes the timekeeper, and
free yourself from that function!
Sol ut i on 2: The ‘ si des t ep’ or s el f -r egul at i on by t he gr oup i t s el f
Sometimes situations sort themselves out, and the best action is to ignore it. For example, if two
participants are talking to each other, you can be patient for a while before intervening: They may just
stop talking spontaneously. Of course, if the situation persists and is harming the others, you need to
intervene. If not, the others would not want you to exercise your role.
Sol ut i on 3: Conf r ont t he i ss ue f ac e- t o- f ace, wi t h t he i ndi vi dual al one, or
wi t h t he gr oup
You must try to confront and control the situation if necessary. But avoid confronting a particular
individual in front of the group (even though that’s difficult): Deal with any serious disruption of the
rules you’ve agreed for the group by setting it out in a one-to-one contract.
The DESC method lets you convey a difficult message to someone without them closing up or
becoming negative from the start of the exchange. Download the attached piece entitled DESC to
learn more about it.