A good question is never answered. It is not a bolt to be tightened into place but a seed to be planted and to bear more seed toward the hope of greening the landscape of idea.
My whole professional practice is built around questions.
When a client and I work together, I always come to the process with the view that the client is knowledgeable and intelligent and has it within their power to solve their perceived problems or create their own opportunities. So why do they need a coach?
It is very easy for people to get mired down in an issue or to not see the wood for the trees. They have thought about the issue or situation for so long that they have got into a mental rut, going along the same tracks of thought. Or they have got so used to habits of behaviour or thinking that they don’t see other options. Or they are not going deep enough with their thinking to find out what they really want.
Asking questions is a process to help clients to focus on their situation with a new perspective, to get them to think more deeply, to help redefine the issue and reconfigure their mindset. Through this, the coach aims to support the client in harnessing their power to find their own solutions and create their own achievements.
Coaching questions rarely elicit straightforward, factual answers; these are not “What colour are your eyes?” type questions. They aren’t questions with “right” or “wrong” answers. They are open, neutral questions designed to give the client the time and space to delve into their considerable knowledge, experience and intuition to work out what is best for them. Sometimes the answer doesn’t come immediately, but the question will linger in the mind and the seed has been planted, to come to fruition some time later.
Even if you aren’t in a coaching situation, it is very valuable to ask questions, and not just about new ideas and projects. Bertrand Russell once said, “In all affairs it's a healthy thing now and then to hang a question mark on the things you have long taken for granted.” How often have your heard the exchange: “Why do you do it like that?” “Because that is the way we always do it.” So today, have a look at something you habitually do and ask yourself, “Why do I do it like that?” After analysis, you may decide to carry on doing it in exactly the same way, but at least it will be a conscious decision rather than habit. Or you may discover something exciting which will open up all kinds of new thinking.
If this has struck a chord with you and you want to find out if coaching will support you, check out how we could work together and get in touch.