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DISCIPLINE: Team Learning & Personal Mastery

"Answers stop thought."
— Larry Edelman

THOUGHTS

Most of us are very focused on solving problems, answering questions, and moving on. Our effectiveness is often measured by our ability to do so quickly. The downside is that as soon as we solve something, we stop thinking about it.

Here's the truth: Questions are often more powerful than answers. If we stay with a question, let it play in our minds, have conversations about it with others, find deeeper questions beneath the first one, the eventual solution is richer and more sustainable than our first quick answer.

Examples of "Big Questions"

  1. What assumptions am I making?

  2. What other problem is related to this one? What is their relationship?

  3. What question, if I knew its answer, would solve my stickiest problem?

  4. How do I contribute to what I don't like at work? At home?

  5. What does success look like for me?

  6. What gives me energy?

  7. What drains me?

  8. What contribution would I really like to make?

  9. How might this problem look from a totally different perspective?
    (the customer's, 10,000 feet in the air, 5 years into the future?)

COACHING TIP

Practice formulating and asking "big questions" at work and at home. When you're struggling to solve a problem or answer important questions, go deeper: aim for the question behind the question. For example, say you have a conflict with someome in an important relationship. Instead of asking, "How can I change his/her mind?" ask, "What do I really want?" "What do you suppose he/she really wants?" "Is there some way of getting what we both want without changing the other person?" This is a difficult shift. But it is worth the effort. Often the edge an excellent leader has over a good leader is the ability to formulate great questions.

INVITATION

Please join me for a 45-minute telegathering to explore the power of questions on Tuesday, June 24, 2008, at noon Eastern (11:00 a.m. Central, 10:00 a.m. MT, 9:00 a.m. Pacific) 1-641-678-3404 x968. No need to register…just call at that time!

Reach me: 1-888-907-HOPE (4673)or e-mail sharon@hopellc.com. I am a personal and executive coach and would be happy to offer you a complimentary coaching session by phone.

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