For leaders, questions are king when it comes to coaching and training.
Learning and practicing effective questioning skills is central to effective leadership. There are five rules for asking the right questions, at the right time, in the right way.
These five rules will enable you to create more authentic and open communication that generates accountability and loyalty.
They can be applied in a number of scenarios:
Casual employee conversations
Formal one to ones
People Won’t Tell You the Whole Truth Until They Feel Connected to You
Because you are the boss, people naturally have their wall up. Connecting is designed to pull the wall down.
You connect by listening, allowing others to tell their story, giving people your complete attention, and being genuinely interested in what they have to say.
Ask The Easy Questions First
To get people to reveal their problems, roadblocks, concerns, and feelings, you need them to talk. The more they talk, the more problems they will reveal.
To make it easy for people to talk, begin conversations with questions that are easy to answer and that they will enjoy answering.
Once they feel comfortable talking, the door will open to ask deeper or more direct questions designed to trigger self-awareness.
People Communicate with Stories
In conversations, people don’t spit out facts. Instead, they tell stories. When you listen attentively and patiently, you foster encourage the speaker to expand on and tell more stories.
The cues and clues that lead to emotions, roadblocks, and opportunities to coach, train, and develop are buried inside these stories.
Be Empathetic: Follow Emotional Cues to Problems
Listening deeply with your eyes, ears, and intuition will lead you to emotional cues like voice inflection, facial expressions, and body language that indicate that a story point or issue has emotional significance.
When you find these cues, use follow-up questions to dig deeper. This is where real problems and opportunities to create self-awareness will be found.
Never Make Assumptions
Many leaders assume that they know exactly what people need. After a little questioning, they shift into pontificating.