Have you noticed that when you’re trying to help someone overcome a challenge or find a solution to a problem they often ignore your advice? They may nod and act like they’re agreeing with you but when it’s time for action, it’s like they heard nothing.
Frustrating, right? Especially since you know what the right answer is! You’ve done it before, got the T-shirt and ready to impart your wisdom. So, why won’t they listen?
The truth is that people just don’t like being told what to do and we can easily lose them along the way if we persist. For many of us, giving answers and instruction has been a default setting for … well, forever.
In the world of coaching, questions are king! It is the way to get the best from people.
The coaching perspective is that people have the answers within them. They may not be your answers but that’s okay because the most powerful answers generally come from themselves.
Our biggest shift as “coach” is to let go of telling and to start asking instead.
A powerful question can much more easily lead them to their own insights which will maximise engagement and ownership and therefore sustainability going forward. Because they came up with the answer themselves, they buy in.
A powerful question followed by great listening almost always leads to deeper introspection and greater insight.
So, the next time you’re wanting to give someone a solution, take a breath, step back and formulate a question that could potentially help them get to a quality answer or solution – and be prepared to let go of your way.
You might be surprised.
“A question not asked is a door not opened.”
Marilee Goldberg, The Art of the Question