- Make questions open-ended, starting with “what” and “how,” as in, “What does that mean?” “What result do you want?” and “How do we do that?” Your questions should make people stop and think.
- Keep them short and simple. They may sound dumb. They’re not.
- Avoid “why” questions. Delving into the past only makes people defensive. This doesn’t mean you should squelch anybody’s curiosity. It just means you’re not perceived as pointing a finger in blame.
- Use “we” to support Your questions should help everybody learn, and they should encourage problem-solving. .
- Remember: Powerful questions are nonjudgmental with no right or wrong answers: How could you have an answer if you’re still asking questions? Never assume that as the leader, you must have all the answers. Instead, try: “What would that get us?”
—Adapted from Coaching Yourself to Leadership, Ginny O’Brien, HRD Press.