May I Ask You a Question?
I’m sure you’ve just answered “yes” if you’ve read beyond the headline. But I better be smart about this if I’d like to maintain your attention.
What questions are the right questions to ask as a leader or a coach? And how can I use questioning to maximize my impact through my work, whether it be in person, virtual, remote, hybrid, flexible, or dispersed work arrangements?
“As coaches and leaders, questions can be used for different purposes: to expand awareness, prioritize, create clarity, make a decision, identify actions, or support accountability.” (Page 116, Reconnecting Workspaces). Sometimes, you may be at a bit of a loss for what questions to ask and when to ask them. Whether nerves get in the way, or you just draw complete blank, even the best of us need some back pocket questions to reference.
Below is a chart, excerpted from Page 116-117 of Reconnecting Workspaces, with a list of questions to use in a variety of situations, whether you’re planning your next coaching conversation with a client or preparing for a key conversation with a subject matter expert, stakeholder, or team member.
● What’s important about this? ● What are your assumptions? ● What perspective are you looking at this from? ● What’s another approach? ● What impact would that have? ● What’s the big picture or how does it fit in the big picture? ● What’s at the core? ● What else?
● What’s important? ● What’s urgent? ● What needs to get done first so other things can get done? ● In the big picture, what’s needed? ● What could get deferred? ● If there was only one thing that could get done, what would that be? ● What’s the number one priority? ● What could get delegated? ● What can you say no to?
● What do you see as connected? ● If you could do only one thing, what would that be? ● What’s clear to you? ● What is important? ● What’s the priority? ● What’s possible in terms of outcome?
Make a Decision
● What results are you aiming for? ● What’s most important? ● What’s a priority? ● What was success look like? ● What will work best in the short term? ● What will work best in the long term?
Identify Actions and Accountability
● What support do you need? ● What will you do in the next 24 hours? ● What are your next steps? ● What else? ● When will you check back in? ● Who will you check in with? ● What will you do by next week? ● What else do you need? ● What’s next?
Source: Page 116-117, Reconnecting Workspaces.
“Notice the overlap of some questions like “What else?” Or “What’s the possibility?” These are stock questions which are really broaden and open up the conversation in a variety of different ways.” (Page 117). If you anticipate being at a loss for the perfect question, feel free to reference this chart during your conversation prep work and keep building that back pocket!
Curious about how to create structure and clarity around "What's next?" and "What's Important? in a virtual, remote, hybrid, flexible or dispersed work arrangement? Visit this link.
If you’re looking to expand your coaching or leadership repertoire, feel free to explore our current course offerings or book a free 15-minute consultation at any time to ask all the questions!
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