I’m confident that you are leading someone – formally or informally, at work or at home.

And undoubtedly you’ve been frustrated when they don’t do what you want them to do!

How do you help your team members get on the same page with you? Or get unstuck from their own drama?

You ask powerful questions.

How do your customers sell themselves? How do prospects realize the value that your offer can provide for them?

You ask powerful questions.

How do you help your children become competent, responsible adults? How do you improve your relationship with loved ones?

You ask powerful questions.

Hands of team going all in

Let’s assume a team member is having a problem.  How tempting to jump in and rescue them!

Hold up! Model leadership by helping them grow!

1. Take a step back, so you are observing and guiding, not acting.

2. Check your mindset. Get very curious. Realize that you may not know the answer. Be a learner, not a judger.

3. Ask questions about WHAT they’re trying to do, so both of you are both clear about their objective.

4. Next, explore WHY they want that. What’s the bigger picture around this objective? What is it going to create in their life? What does it allow them to do?

This is usually where THEIR motivation comes from.

To be an effective leader, you MUST know their WHY!

5. What got in their way? What are the alternatives?

Sometimes they don’t have enough information about how to do something, which often happens around technology. Great questions: What are some ways you can find that information? Who do we know who knows about that? Where can you go to find out more?

Sometimes, it’s a relationship issue; they’re having problems with another person who’s involved in the objective. What are some possible reasons for the other person’s behavior?  Is there a way to move forward whether or not the other person is involved?

Sometimes, your conversation partner is stopping herself. Look for limiting beliefs and old stories here.

Start by asking questions about how it feels where they are. How do you feel now, when you think about your current situation? There needs to be some awareness of the pain of being stuck there, because that’s going to give them energy and resolve to move forward.

What are the alternatives? How would it feel if you were in the opposite situation?

Again, this may have multiple layers worth exploring. For example, If you’re recruiting more and have more money, what would you do with it? What would change for you? The answer may be about financial security, about family, or about personal development. Whatever it is, it needs to be something that is personal and specific to them, and connects with one of their core values.

When you model problem-solving and how to get unstuck by using questions, your team members learn a powerful strategy they can use with themselves AND with their own team members. That’s a win-win!

Great questions

Great questions are open-ended; they can’t be answered with a yes or no. Unlike a spelling test, there may be multiple “right” answers.

More examples of great questions, which work whether the subject is I or YOU, include:

  • What’s the best thing I can do right now?
  • How could I do this differently?
  • How can I best serve my WHY?
  • What’s keeping you from solving this?
  • What’s getting in your way?
  • If you keep doing what you’ve been doing, what’s the benefit to you? What does that buy you?
  • What are some other ways you could address that?
  • What does that mean to you?

When you ask powerful questions, you help your conversation partner have an “aha” moment, where they discover the answer and they feel it. This is 100 times more powerful than you telling them the answer. What a wonderful gift to share with someone!

Call to Action

Try this approach with at least one person, every day, for a week. Keep track of the response you’re getting from each conversation partner. And keep track of how you feel at the end of the conversation. I’m confident good things will happen!

And if you’re worried that asking questions will lead to pushback, I invite you to take my quiz.  That worry *is* false.  This quiz will help you figure out the underlying cause.

As always, I would love to hear about your experience with this, and your feedback in general. You can reach me at info (at) marcystahl.com.