We learn about life by asking questions.
Children naturally start learning about the world by observing, testing and questioning “why.” The more open the question we ask, the more we learn.
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. We are wired to use a lot of closed questions, offer up a solution and move on. Being time poor contributes to this as we just want to solve the problem as quickly as possible.
Asking open questions helps the coachees to think for themselves, if we stick to only closed questions, responded to with a yes or no answer, we are not facilitating the coachee's thinking.
Empowering and growing our team starts with encouraging our team to think.
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, we question less – 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 the need to come up with their own solutions. In the 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 and empowers the coachee.
Ask open questions
Begin open questions with the words:
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.
Play with this and see what happens…
To becoming LIMITLESS
Find out where you sit on the Leadership Ladder, your responses are anonymous, and the results summarised to help us better understand where our market sits so that we can continue to provide, insights, tools and solutions to assist you to move up to be LIMITLESS, co-creative and stand out.
Renée is a mentor, coach, expert facilitator and keynote speaker. She is the author of ‘Limitless Leadership™’ and co-author of ‘Leaders of Influence’. Follow Renee on Facebook, Instagram, IGTV or Twitter, or subscribe to her blog here.