To expand one’s thinking around one topic.
Hot Chair is a group exercise developed to further the thinking of the person in the Hot Chair as well as the participants in the group. It has developed over decades in various forms.
When to Use
Hot Chair is brilliant for enhancing a person’s solution space. The focus is on creating a more expansive thinking room for the person in the Hot Chair. At the same time, participants learn from the questions they hear and they ask. This is not an exercise to solve issues quickly but to expand one’s thinking on a topic.
Number of Participants: 5 to 10
Time: 30′ – 40′ per round
Setting: online and face-to-face
- Person in the Hot Chair
- Participants asking open questions
How to Run It
Running a Hot Chair Group:
- Set up the room with chairs in a circle.
- One person sits in the Hot Chair. That person presents an issue or topic where she would like to expand her thinking for 5′. These are often topics the individual is stuck within their own thinking.
- The others can ask one round of clarifying questions to understand the topic more.
- Then, the person in the Hot Chair turns her chair around so that the others only see her back.
- The participants start asking the person in the Hot Chair open, non-judgemental, and non-leading questions. The purpose of the questions is to get the other person thinking.
- The person in the Hot Chair does not answer the questions! The person in the Hot Chair might take notes and write down some of the questions and/or thoughts that come to her mind.
- Each participant asks one question and then passes it on to her neighbor. If one participant who is up to ask a question does not have one, she can take a pass, and the next one in the circle asks a question.
- Participants should closely listen to the questions that had been asked and build on them whenever helpful.
- After three to four rounds of questions, the participants stop asking any more questions. The person in the Hot Chair turns around and shares the insights she gained so far. She then thanks the participants for their questions.
- This can be followed by a short debrief when everyone shares what they are taking away from the exercise.