Beautiful Questions

The perfect opportunity to refresh, reinvent and re-engage relationships has emerged because the past months have changed all of us in some way.

In organizations, real power and energy is generated through relationships. The patterns of relationships and the capacities to form them are more important than tasks, functions, roles, and positions.

Margaret Wheatley

There are three pillars that support relationships: showing interest, creating understanding, and building rapport. And questions, when beautifully asked, can achieve all of these things. They also help us to discover what we might not know. The simple and elegant skill of asking more beautiful questions can offer us so much.

And that is possibly the reason for the increasing interest in (and positive feedback from) the Six Bricks for Climates of Inquiry Sessions. The sessions last a few hours and use practical immersive Lego methods to raise our awareness of our communication habits and assumptions and to practice our beautiful question skills. I usually tack them onto a facilitated day, but really they could stand alone in all their glory, as the need for building social connections and cohesion has become more evident.

At the end of the sessions, I always prepare a bank of beautiful questions for participants to take back into their everyday work. In this post, I am sharing a selection of my favourites with you, and the situations in which they can be particularly useful.

Please explain that to me in a different way so I can be sure I understand? (Gives us a way of asking when we do not understand, especially if we have already been explained to once)

Is it clear what we are doing, and why? (When you would like to check that there is understanding and it is not clear the person has the courage or confidence to speak up)

I’m curious – why did you decide to do it this way? (Replaces the more accusatory, Why did you do it like this? Also leads you to contextual information that may be useful)

What is the biggest challenge you are facing? (Helps people who may not ask for help, gets to the crux of key challenges, shows empathy)

Are you making progress? What will change that? What else? (Helps a person to reflect, find their own solutions, or find solutions with you, and generally speak up. The ‘what else’ method extends thinking)

How can I make your day easier in 5 minutes? (Builds rapport, deepens insight and empathy, and can lead to improvements that serve more than one person)

What would you do in my position? (Shows humility, that you are open to considering more points of view, and may lead to new ideas)

Questions to ask yourself

Am I willing to admit that I don’t know?

Would I rather be right, or understand the issue at hand?

What would I like to be true? What if the opposite is true?

All of these questions push a shift into accepting that we do not always have the answers, and towards an inquiring mind that seeks them out.

So-called naïve questions can be the most powerful in terms of producing insights and bringing about change. So be bold enough to ask.

Warren Berger

Warren Berger has written at least two books on questioning. You can find them, and more about his work around unleashing the power of beautiful questions here: https://warrenberger.com/

Curiosity is the second of the 15 commitments of conscious leadership. Explore these powerful commitments here: https://conscious.is/15-commitments

Published by Gaylin Jee

Building a better world through leaders and teams Founder of 33 Emeralds | #TheGCIndex Master Partner SA | #LegoSeriousPlay Facilitator thirtythreeemeralds.com Twitter @gaylinjee

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