Good questions challenge your thinking. They reframe and define the problem. When I was in grad school, I attended a workshop which emphasized the importance of asking right questions. If someone says, "Tell me about yourself", you could start with your birth and can talk for hours. Instead, you could ask them what part of your background would most interest them and start there.
- What part of my background interests you?
- What aspect of that situation would you like me to focus on?
- Before I answer that- have you had any experience with our team/organization in the past?
- What if I started by describing a couple of examples/instances of recent work we have done for clients like you?
- Doest that answer your question?
- Is there anything else you would like me to talk about?
If we want to pause and think about the issue, we need to ask ourselves, "What do you think about this?" or "how do you feel about that? or would you be willing to share your views? or What has influenced your thinking about this the most? or are there any other perspectives I ought to be aware of?
If someone is trying to decide a solution for buying
- Is there a problem or opportunity? Asking the questions such as " What is this costing you right now? If you don't fix this problem, what will be the consequences be? What do you think this opportunity is worth?
- Who owns the problem? Are you responsible for fixing this? Who needs to be involved in a solution to this issue?
- What would you say is missing?
- Why would you feel that now is the time to put extra resources against this?
- What other solutions are you looking at?
- What concerns do you have about us or our approach?
When you see someone doing things that are inconsistent with their core mission, we can ask the following:
- Can you remind me of your mission and goals?
- Is this consistent with your values and beliefs?
Instead of telling, you can ask thought-provoking questions.
Instead of being the expert, you invite others to contribute expertise.
Instead of controlling knowledge, you help draw out others' experiences.
Instead of assuming meaning, you ask about the meaning of words.
Instead of mandating solutions, you solicit solutions from others.
Instead of showing how smart you are, show others how smart they are.
"How did you get started?" is a question that you can ask a successful achiever. Other questions are, "who taught you? How did you learn your craft?" "Where did you grow up?" "How did you decide to do that at the time?' "What was the toughest learn you had to learn?"
When you want to understand what motivates and drives the other person you can ask, what are the most exciting parts of your job/ of what you do? Why?
What are you most passionate about in your professional life?
What would make it even more rewarding?
What in your life gives you your greatest sense of satisfaction?
If you want to probe further, you can ask the following questions.
Is there room for further improvement?
In what ways could this be even better?
What's stopping you?
If someone is reluctant, you can ask,
What are your biggest doubts or reservations?
Can you commit fully to this?
Other follow-up questions would be something like:
- If you had additional resources, what initiatives would you invest them on?
- What have you been focusing on most during your first six months on the job?
- Are there any issues we haven't discussed that you think are relevant to this particular challenge?
- Is there anyone else you think I should talk to in order to get additional perspective in this issue?
- What is getting in the way of doing that?
- What's your next step from here?
- What does your heart tell you?
- Can you say more about that?
- What is the most memorable thing you took away from that experience?
- What are the most enjoyable parts of your job and which parts do you find least enjoyable?
- What do you wish you could devote more time to?
- What is getting in the way of making that change?
- What is the most profound question you have been asked? That you have ever asked anyone?
- What is the most difficult question you have ever been asked?
- Looking ahead in your life, what do you think will give you the greatest sense of achievement? The most personal fulfillment
- What are some things you haven't done but which you would like to do before you die?
- What could get in the way of accomplishing that?
- If you were to summarize the principles or values, I exemplify what would some of them be?
- What else could I do to better communicate and be a role model for these things?
- What was the greatest day of your life?
- What event in your life has brought you the greatest joy?
- What things have you decided not to do?
- Why do you think they aren't doing those things?
- Why do you think you should start there?
- Why do you think that's happening?
- What is your most personally gratifying achievement?
- What is the one achievement you are proudest of?
- In thinking about all of your achievements, which one do you think other people will most remember, and why?
After a meeting:
- Is there a decision that I need to make or that I can help you make?
- What is the purpose of this meeting? What decisions do we want to make today?
- What is needed in order for a decision to be made on this?
- Do we all agree about that?
- What have you tried?
- What do you think your options are?
- What is the thing you are most concerned about?
- Is there a dream you've yet to fulfill?
- After this, is there a particular challenge that excites you?
Peter Drucker's five questions:
- What is your mission?
- Which are the most important relationships you want to invest in?
- What are the essential priorities and goals of those closest to you?
- What are your expectations of the people around you, and what do they expect of you?
- What is your plan?
Will continue this questions discussion tomorrow.