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Are you asking enough powerful questions?

30th Apr, 2009

Have you noticed that sometimes we are so keen to help people that when they make a statement or ask us a question we always try to provide an answer? Perhaps, at times, we don’t know enough about the stuation but we answer anyway. Perhaps they just need some space to work the answer out themselves but we takeover that space. Maybe we would help more by reframing the question into a more powerful question? Equally, perhaps, sometimes the questions we ask ourselves may limit the answers that we get?

Consider each of the following statements/questions. How ‘powerful’ are they? How could they be made powerful?

1. “I want to go to evening classes but there’s no one reliable to look after the children. The situation is just impossible.”

2. “I’m always worried about money. I’m worried about it regardless of how much I have. It’s just always in my thoughts.”

3. “I’ve moved jobs and I’ve moved house and now I have no friends and no social life. It makes the whole thing seem pointless somehow.”

Powerful questions have a number of benefits:

They refocus thought, eg from problem to solution.

They help someone feel more powerful and constructive about a situation.

They tap into creativity and create options.

They make a problem feel more like a challenge or opportunity.

They create forward movement, ie out of the problem state and into solution or action.

Using our original examples some more powerful questions may be:

1. “I want to go to evening classes but there’s no one reliable to look after the children. The situation is just impossible.”

“How can you get someone reliable to look after the children while you go to evening classes?”

2. “I’m always worried about money. I’m worried about it regardless of how much I have. It’s just always in my thoughts.”

“What is it going to take for you to feel relaxed about money?”

3. “I’ve moved jobs and I’ve moved house and now I have no friends and no social life. It makes the whole thing seem pointless somehow.”

“What could you be doing to feel more settled and meet some new friends?”

Food for thought?

How would you reframe the following questions?

1. “I’m really struggling with this job, and my boss doesn’t support me. He doesn’t even know what I do!”

2. “Why can’t my boss help me?”

3. “I am stuck in a rut”

Are you asking enough powerful questions?