Why are we asking you to start your next conversation with a question?
…because we know the transformative impact powerful questions can have on engagement, performance and productivity…and we want you to know it too.
Powerful questions help you to ‘tune in’ to the opportunities around you, they invite curiosity and debate and a new dialogue that stimulates collaboration, ideas and invention and uplifts in engagement, performance and productivity.
In fact, we’ve spent decades helping leaders and managers in organisations develop the ability to ask powerful questions in their everyday situations using what we call an Operational CoachingTM approach – and the results are extraordinary!
But we also know from our research that a whopping 79% of organisations report that they are still ‘very’ or ‘mostly’ command & control led.
Are you? To what extent do you tell your colleagues what to do?
Try out this exercise…
Think about a recent conversation you had with a colleague who approached you with a problem and ask yourself these questions:
- What did you do?
- Why did you do it
- What were the consequences?
- How effective was this?
Many typical management structures are designed to allow information and instructions to flow from top to bottom, and for you as a manager, this creates a situation in which your colleagues expect you to have all the answers to the questions.
And in the hustle and bustle of everyday operational life, telling people what to do can feel like the path of least resistance.
But here’s some more questions for you…
How many times have you felt like you didn’t have the answers? How many times have you felt like you’ve had to provide a solution simply because you are the ‘manager’, or got so deeply involved in the minutiae of an operational problem that you lost your focus on the bigger picture?
How has that worked out for you?
Maybe you achieved the results you expected, but ask yourself this: were they the best results possible?
Were you the right person to solve the problem? Was your solution the best one? By solving the problem, what compromises did you make? What compromises did your colleagues make?
Now, when looking back at that conversation, what could you have done differently?
Could you have asked a powerful question and got a much better outcome?
Here’s some food for thought…
Imagine what would happen if the next time a colleague approaches you with a problem, instead of giving the solution straight away, you ask them a question instead.
What impact do you think that would have on your colleague and on your relationship with them?
- Are they more or less likely to think for themselves?
- Are they going to talk more or less freely?
- Are they more or less likely to come up with a solution?
- Is that solution likely to be more or less relevant to them than your own solution?
- Are they more or less likely to be engaged in what they do next?
- Are they more or less likely to take ownership for that solution?
- Are they more or less able to resolve the problem for themselves next time?
- Are you more or less likely to end up telling them what to do?
- Would you be more or less likely to achieve the outcomes you want?
- Would you be more or less confident to empower your other team members?
- Would you have more or less time to spend on other activities?
Don’t bother totting up your answers because the answer is always MORE.
Even if you have to take a few more moments to ask a simple yet powerful question, the resultant outcomes in terms of increases in engagement, productivity and performance more than compensate you for your efforts.
Imagine how much more effective you and your colleagues would be with this simple change in the dynamic between you.
So here’s a challenge for you… start your next conversation with a question.
- Purposely start a conversation with a powerful question and make a mental note of what happens.
- What did you notice about the change in the attitude of the person that you were talking to?
- How easily did the conversation flow?
- Afterwards, reflect on what were the benefits of starting the conversation with a question?
- And what might be the benefits of starting future conversations with a question?
Need some help to make your questions even more powerful?
Of course, the quality of the questions you ask makes all the difference. Some questions are downright unhelpful whereas others can generate real insights, progress and change. So you need to learn how to use enquiry in an effective way.
We can show you how to integrate an ‘Enquiry-Led Approach (ELA® ) into your everyday leadership style in less than four months by helping you become an awesome Operational Coach.
In fact, we’ll make sure you start your conversations with even more powerful questions by giving you a comprehensive repertoire of Operational CoachingTM questions that you can naturally and confidently use in almost any situation to revolutionise your conversations and leverage the very best results.