As a business coach and mentor working in the Midlands and London, I am often helping business owners and directors to change their communication style to one of asking for information.
This asking needs open questions and this list of questions is split up into different areas to help you get the feel of what good questions look like. It is alos an excellent crib sheet.
After reading this tip sheet, you will:
- have a huge list of potential questions that you can refer to when necessary
- understand the importance of asking open questions to recieve more information
- recognise that the simpler the question the stronger it is
- realise that with changing a few words around can make a huge difference to the answer you get back
- help release people’s creativity just like taking the lid off a pressure cooker by just asking the right open question
Open Questions to improve Listening
Asking…. How about starting just about any short question with
"If things were really easy what would you do next.........."
or, if you want to be more directly challenging,
"If you weren't making it difficult for yourself, what would you do next ........."
When lost in Level 1 Listening – see sheet on Listening ……. Ooopps, I lost it then; what or where are we up to?
When you don’t know what question to ask ….. “What is the question that I should be asking you now”
If everything was perfect what would it look like?
… and what next…..?
- How are things going?
- What is the old belief that is not really helping you at this moment……?
- What or where does this current belief get you?
- In order to be the best you can be what do you need to be doing differently?
- What would you rather have ?
- What works well for you?
- What’s the main theme here?
- What or Who is stopping you from having it?
- What new belief would serve you better ?
- For the sake of what?
- What will help you?
- Who can help you?
- What’s the bottom-line of where you are right now?
- What’s the struggle?
- How can it be made easy?
- How would you know that you were on the right path?
- What would that look/ feel like?
- Who do you really want to be?
- What do you want to cut out?
- What’s your assessment of where we are?
- How does that serve you?
- What’s your wildest dream?
- What do you want to happen ?
- What needs to be in place to make it happen?
- When will this be completed?
- What might get in the way?
- Who do you need to help make it happen?
- What are your next steps?
- Where do you want to go from here?
- what’s next?
- What would be the biggest step/ risk right now?
- What’s stopping you?
- What do you need to let go of?
- What action will you take?
- By when ?
- How will I know ?
- What would I see that’s different?
- What’s the funniest?
- What would be out of the box right now?
- What have you not said/ is in the air…
Questions to clarify outcomes
- What would you rather have?
- What would you like instead?
- How can you turn that problem into a goal?
- What can you to influence this?
- What will it look like, sound like, feel like... when you have...?
- If you could have this right now, on a plate, would you take it?
- What might be the undesirable or negative consequences of
- achieving this goal?
- What’s your first step? Next step? Final step?
- What resources do you need to support you in this?
- What would you like to do differently?
- What would you like to see?
- Where do you see yourself?
- Where would you like to be?
- How would you like to feel ...?
- What is your desired outcome?
- What results do you want?
- What timescale are we looking at?
- What’s an appropriate deadline?
- What are the milestones we can track along the way?
- On a scale of 1 to 10, how compelled are you to do this?
Questions to aid moving from current reality to desired reality
- Has this happened to you (or to someone you know) before?
- What did you (or they) do to overcome it?
- Has there ever been a time when.... What was it like?
- How would you sell your idea (if you can’t, is it the right
- What tools do you know about that you haven’t used yet?
- Which will you try?
- What tools do you need to help you?
- How can we turn this around?
- In what way would you like to change the way you operate?
- What could you change/do to make the situation more positive?
- What current tools have you used? Which worked? Which didn’t? Why?
- What do you think could be done to alter the situation?
- How can you change the situation?
- How could you get tools within the organisation to help you?
- How do you see yourself getting your desired outcome?
- How will you achieve...?
- What have you tried so far?
- What is stopping you achieving your goal?
- What needs to happen for ....?
- What will enable you to achieve X, and how will you feel once you have?
- What will feel, seem or look different if you achieve X?
- What will your life be like when you are able to ....?
- What would make the biggest difference to the way you work?
- What would you like to be able to do as a result of being here?
- How do you consider that we can achieve this objective?
- How could you turn this around immediately, and enjoy the process?
- Who already does this really well? (benchmark excellence)
- How did (company xyz) crack this problem when they had it?
- What research could you do that would give you more ideas?
Questions to challenge the way coachee perceives the situation
- Does the problem really lie in the task, or the way you feel
- about the task?
- What assumptions are you making that may be questionable?
- What “rules” are you using that could be challenged?
- What are the resources you haven’t used before, that you could try?
- How would you deal with it if you were a man? (or woman, or
- child of 7, or a wise guru, or managing director, the Pope, etc. etc.)
- What would (insert name of coachee’s hero) do in this situation?
- What would you do if your bonus depended on the satisfactory
- resolution of this problem? (variations: or your job, or your life!)
- What would the best manager in your company do?
- How will your team react to the change in your skills and how
- will that make you feel?
- What would you try now if you knew that you could not fail?
- What would you do now if you were already the person you know
- you have the potential of becoming?
- What’s the positive intention of this?
Questions to change their state
- What’s the most appropriate state for you to be in right now, as you solve this problem?
- Can you think of a time when you felt completely (insert appropriate state e.g. confident and unstoppable, creative, persuasive, calm, etc.)?
- See what you were seeing, hear what you were hearing, feel what you were feeling then... now allow that feeling to grow and intensify in your body as you focus on the current situation.
- Change their physiology – either overtly: How would you be sitting (or standing) right now if you knew you were totally capable and confident? (or whatever state)
- Or more covertly: “Let’s go for a walk (or to grab a coffee) whilst we talk about this”
- How good do you really want to feel right now?
- Can you notice all the ways in which you’ll grow and develop from this assignment?
- Take yourself into the future now.. and think about having achieved this objective in a way which is totally successful, and just allow and enjoy those feelings of success and
- achievement. Now come back to the present moment, bringing those feelings with you. What new possibilities do you become aware of?
- I know you can do this. Do you?
Questions to capture learning
- How could we/you have done this more effectively?
- Looking back now, what did you learn?
- What can you learn from this?
- What’s the biggest thing you would have done differently, with
- the benefit of hindsight?
- How have you learned the skills that you now have?
- What helps you to remember skills you have now as second nature – how does it feel?
- How will you pass on these skills/these insights to other members of your team?
- How will you practise these skills in other areas of your life?
- May I ask for your feedback?
Questions to offer support
- What can I do to help/support you in this?
- What am I already doing that is helping?
- What other support/resources do you need to get this done?
- What’s the one question I could ask you now that would really make a difference?
© William Barron Creating Insight