In our training programs we often give participants an opportunity to practice the skills that they learn, which of course helps to consolidate the learning. During the debrief with one of the groups I heard them say how good the asking of Better Questions had been as it had helped the participant to come up with ideas about what she could do. As soon as I heard the word ‘could’ I jumped in to ask some more questions as I was curious about what the outcomes from the session had been.
It transpired that the person being asked the Better Questions was really happy that the session had enabled her to generate a few new ideas that she hadn’t thought of before. Whilst this in itself is a great outcome as Better Questions do generate new ideas and thoughts, I challenged the group to think about what else they could have done to take the ideas to the next step and turn them into real action.
All too often people have ideas but that is exactly what they stay – ideas! If we don’t use questions to enable people to make a decision and commit to action then the conversation is just left ‘hanging’, and the ideas don’t get actioned and nothing moves forward.
So when you are practicing being a Better Questioner it is good to have in mind the question “What will they do as a result of this conversation?” and if that isn’t clear then I would humbly suggest that there most likely is room for improvement in your practice.
Let me share some good questions that enable a strong outcome to be achieved:
• So of all the options we have discussed what do you think is going to work best?
• What are the first steps that you need to take to move this forward?
• When will you do this?
• When should I check in with you to see how you have gone with that?
I hope that you can immediately see the power in these questions in terms of moving from ideas to action – good luck in giving these a go and let me know how you progress using them!