Asking The Right Questions – Part II 2021-07-19T03:14:58-04:00

Asking The Right Questions – Part II

Last week, I wrote about asking the right questions.  I quoted my coaching colleague Dan Rockwell, who had posted questions one of his executive coaching clients asked himself and his direct reports after six months of the calendar year.

I hope those questions prompted you to do some thinking.
Did those questions work for you?
Did you share any of those questions with direct reports or peers?

This week I have an additional take on questions.  I have been participating in a year-long online wisdom-sharing community orchestrated by Michael Bungay Stanier, author of “The Coaching Habit” and “The Advice Trap.”  This initiative, called “The Year of Living Brilliantly,” brings renowned coaches forward each week to share insights and ideas.

This past week Liz Wiseman and Shawn Vanderhoven from The Wiseman Group shared a different take on questions that I had not considered before.

Emphasizing the leader’s responsibility to “ask more than tell” and to uncover new perspectives through inquiry, Liz and Shawn encouraged leaders to keep their favorite questions “in their back pocket” and pull them out when appropriate.

This concept had not occurred to me previously.  The same questions?  In different circumstances?  With different people?

Liz and Shawn made the point that certain questions succeed in many conditions with many colleagues.  They even suggested writing your favorite questions om paper and keeping them in your pocket, taking a picture of them for your cell phone or keeping them right on your desk.

These were five of Liz’s and Shawn’s favorite questions:

-What does this look like from your perspective?

-What am I not seeing that’s important for me to know?

-What are the risks or downsides?

-What are we assuming that just might not be true?

-Are there any reasons why we shouldn’t proceed?

Liz and Shawn have more of their favorite questions listed on their web site, and I encourage you to check them out at this email address: http://the

I also encourage you to check out “The Year of Living Brilliantly.”  Even though the calendar year is more than half-over, I bet you can still sign up on a pro-rated basis.

Remember that the best leaders refrain from giving advice repeatedly.  When we do that, we are not assisting our colleagues in their growth journeys.  We are enabling them instead of empowering them.
So, refrain from striving to prove your expertise or knowledge.

Refrain from interrupting others with your own pearls of wisdom.

Refrain from demanding others see things the same way that you do.

Please train yourself to ask questions frequently:

Ask questions of yourself.

Ask questions of your managers?

Ask questions of your peers?

Ask questions of your direct reports.

You will be glad you have developed a curiosity mindset!