Using Powerful Questions

Photo by Daa Nell

Photo by Daa Nell

Powerful questions really can be powerful: they open up your mind to possibilities you previously didn't think of, and they can help you find the direction you have been searching for. I've been teaching some folks about powerful questions recently and practicing them more in my own life.

The first couple of times I used powerful questions in a conversation, I was very self-aware.  I was trying to listen intently to the other person while thinking of the next powerful question to ask.  It felt awkward and unnatural to me since it was new.  And I remember one conversation in particular where I felt like I was asking questions only to have the other person go in circles.  Was he going to find the next step he needed to take??  I felt like I had blindfolded him and asked him to pin the tail on a donkey.

Thankfully he didn't feel that way.  At all.  In fact, he thanked me for my coaching because it gave him the insight he needed--I just didn't see it in our conversation.

Practicing powerful questions, like any new practice, can feel clumsy and awkward, but the effects are real.  Keep going with it.

Allison Pollard

I help people discover their agile instincts and develop their coaching abilities. As an agile coach with Improving in Dallas, I enjoy mentoring others to become great Scrum Masters, coaching managers to grow teams that deliver amazing results, and fostering communities that provide sustainability for agile transformations. In my experience, applying agile methods improves delivery, strengthens relationships, and builds trust between business and IT. A big believer in the power of community-based learning, I grew the DFW Scrum user group significantly over the five years I served as an organizer. I am also a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach, a foodie, and proud glasses wearer.