In our roles as consultants and coaches, we’ve come to understand that finding the right question in a conversation with a leader, a team, or even an entire organization can be a game changer.

The right question grabs people’s attention, it helps them see and think in new ways, and it demonstrates genuine interest in their wisdom and perspective.

Let’s go through that list in more detail. 

The right question:

  • Grabs people’s attention.
    • So often when we’re in discussion, we focus our concern on saying the things we want to say and saying them in a way that we feel good about.
    • We’re all for growing in your ability to do that, AND we find that if you can also get others (individuals, teams, whole organizations) to explore their thinking with you, you’ll often be more powerful.
  • Helps people see and think in new ways.
    • Think of it this way: if you go into a meeting and start building a case for your perspective, it’s likely that you’ll get either agreement or disagreement.
    • If you go in saying, “I’d like to ask that we all share our current perspective on this initiative,” you’ll learn so much more about others’ perspectives.
    • You’ll also have a better chance at having a shared sense of what needs to happen to gain alignment and commitment to move forward.
  • Demonstrates genuine interest in people’s wisdom and perspective.
    • As a leader in your life and your work, you’ll always be more effective and influential if you have a genuine interest in others’ wisdom and perspective.
    • Think of your own experience: If someone tells you what to do, you feel very differently than if you had a voice in the decision and determined together what you should tackle next.

Questions are powerful – not to grill people, but to invite them to influence you as you influence them – to invite them into shared leadership on moving forward together.

Next week we’ll share some guidelines for figuring out great questions, and then the following week we’ll share some great questions you can grab for yourself!

If you’d like support in creating an environment of shared leadership, contact us today about our Executive Coaching.