The Power of A Single Question

by Patrick Jinks
Adjunct Coach

LSI's Master Coach Model is based on questions -- not answers. For answers from an outside source, contact a consultant. If you want to go deeper into meaningful solution building, contact a coach. I coached a professional woman last week who faced a dilemma about how to respond to a request that was made of her. The request and context don't really matter. Her question of me was, "Should I meet this person's request?"

I could have said, "I think you should," or "I wouldn't if I were you." But then I would be the one left to defend that course of action. Since I wasn't the one faced with the dilemma, I wasn't in the best position to make that decision. Instead, I asked, "What would be the downside to meeting that request?"

The conversation was over. She quickly said, "Thanks! I appreciate the advice!"

Advice? Where was the advice? I asked one simple question. The power of that question reached at the heart of the matter, and she made a decision with which she felt comfortable and confident. Often, people have the answers before they ask the questions. They simply seek validation, affirmation, or some other trigger to make the decision they really already know they want to make. Sometimes it just takes one extra voice of reason to question the premise of a conflict. There was no conflict. There was some hidden fear that there might be a conflict, and when the coach basically asked what the problem was, the coachee realized there was no problem!

Coaching sessions don't always deliver such quick results, but it happens a lot. Asking questions, resisting the temptation to offer concrete advice, is more often than not a much more powerful path to resolution and success.
That's MY perspective!

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