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The Answers Are in the Questions

Photo by William Stitt on Unsplash

When people ask me questions like “How do I deal with fear?” or “How do I get along with an annoying co-worker?” or “How do I cope with feeling unmotivated?” I typically ask questions like “What’s a good example of how this problem shows up in your experience?” or “What have you tried so far?” or “What’s the outcome you’re trying to create?”

Their answers usually amount to 75% of what’s needed to answer their original question. By the time I get around to sharing my thoughts, their efforts to clarify and illustrate their own question has already done most of the heavy lifting.

A lot of questions about professional development aren’t that difficult to answer. They’re difficult to ask. We lack clear and precise insights because we suffer from vague and imprecise inquiries.

The best kind of coaching isn’t the kind that sends people away with answers. It’s the kind that sends them away with better questions.

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