It is proven that we learn about life by asking questions. Children naturally start learning about the world by observing, testing and asking “why.” The more open the question we ask, the more we learn and in as a manager or leader coaching the more open questions we ask the coaches, the more the coachee will learn, sometimes about what they already know but haven’t thought about.

Open questions can be challenging as we are usually used to giving the solution and therefore using a lot of closed questions. Being time poor can contribute to this as we just want to help and move on. Asking open questions helps the coach to think for themselves if we stick to only closed questions that can only be responded to with a yes or no answer we are helping the coachee not to think. This isn’t the way to empower and grow others.

The more we question, the better answers we get. 

Questioning forms new patterns in the brain. The more patterns it forms, the more flexible it becomes. With flexibility, it can access more information already stored in your brain instead of reverting to the old patterns.

As we get older, the questioning stops, and we settle for the few options that we have learned. The minute those options don’t work, we get stuck. Whenever we experience an obstacle, our brain goes to the fastest pattern it can find from our experiences similar to the current situation. This is why we sometimes have illogical reactions: We do not give time for the brain to find a better solution. The more information and experiences we have, the more options we have to solve our problems. By asking questions that are open, we make the coachee more open to talk and open up to share information, ideas and new ways. It’s also a great way to reinforce that they need to come up with their own solutions and long term you will notice they won’t come to you as often as they will know you are only going to ask a question. This frees up time for you to work on the team opposed to in it and it grows the coachee.

Open questions usually begin with:

  • What
  • When
  • Where
  • Why
  • How
  • Who

An easy way to ensure questions are “open” is to ask one at a time and start with “Tell me about……” as this will instantly frame the question to be open. Be mindful of starting questions with “why” as this can come across accusatory, especially if there is little rapport.

Build rapport and connection and base the majority of your interactions and conversations moving forward by asking quality open questions.

To being Limitless!