OUTreach/ Asking Powerful Questions

Delft, 9 August 2017 —  Asking powerful questions and sharing feedback are two of the most effective leadership behaviors. Here is why, and how to get started.

What often happens in the leadership courses that I facilitate is that the exercises on asking questions and active listening surprise the participants the most, for the opportunities they create to generate lasting impact.

Last week's leadership course in Delft was no exception, as participants from countries around the world discovered the unexpected power of asking questions.

While there is no doubt that effective public speaking is a necessity for leaders, it is the mastery of asking great questions and listening carefully to the responses that opens up a space for profound reflection and transformation in the people in your conversations.

Watching leaders make this discovery for themselves during the practices in the course is a delightful experience every time. 

A second surprise is about the importance of giving and receiving feedback, and to learn the most effective way of doing this, which takes some unlearning before getting it right.

And then, after learning the basics of asking questions and sharing feedback, the time comes to combine these new skills of giving feedback and asking questions into the art of coaching, when the leaders discover how to help someone transform her/his life in just 20 minutes.

Questions, feedback, and coaching.

When leaders start to use these skills on a daily basis, they can learn to keep track of behaviors that will empower their leadership to influence change in people and situations around them.

1. How many times did you ask an open question in your conversations?

2. How many times did you share or ask for feedback? 

3. How many times did you use a coaching style? 

What about you, as you practiced your leadership today? What would your response be to these three questions?

Good leaders ask great questions.
— John C. Maxwell